Under the agreement, DC and Webtoon, owned by South Korean internet company Naver, will collaborate on standalone webcomics that “will appeal to all fans, without the need to know or read any previous stories,” according to the companies.
For now, however, DC and Webtoon aren’t divulging any details about the projects emerging from the stable of DC superheroes, which include Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Green Lantern and Aquaman. The companies plan to announce more in the next few weeks. The DC webcomics will first be available in English, followed by other language translations.
“DC is excited to introduce our iconic characters to a new generation of fans worldwide,” DC Comics SVP and GM Daniel Cherry III said in a statement. He added that DC has been “working closely with the Webtoon writers and artists to adapt our characters and stories to Webtoon’s mobile format. Our shared goal is to create fun and compelling DC stories that all readers will enjoy.”
Webtoon, a pioneer in the distribution of web-based comics, says it has an average of 72 million monthly active users (about 10 million of which are in the U.S.). Its webcomics are available in the free-to-download Webtoon app for Android and iOS. The titles come from all over the world and span genres including romance, thriller, fantasy and comedy. Webtoon first launched in the U.S. in 2014.
Webtoon takes “well-known [intellectual property] like DC’s to develop into content for younger generations,” said Ken Kim, CEO of Webtoon Entertainment U.S., emphasizing the platform’s audience skews toward users 16-24. “It is going to be beneficial for DC and Webtoon.”
Webtoon’s webcomics typically comprise 50-60 episodes per season, and each episode normally is 50-70 panels presented in a vertical-scroll format. The app’s standard release model provides 1-3 free episodes, with 3-5 paid episodes behind the paywall (available for about 50 cents each), with more free content released on a weekly basis.
“This collaboration is a landmark for us as we work toward a new age of digital comics in the U.S.,” said David Lee, head of content at Webtoon Entertainment U.S.
Webtoon also has partnerships with Legendary, Pow! and Top Cow/Image. Meanwhile, Webtoon and user-generated fiction app Wattpad recently merged their entertainment studio divisions with parent company Naver committing $100 million funding to produce fan-based franchises. Earlier in the year Naver acquired Wattpad in a $600 million deal.