New to Korean webcomics? Start here! ft. @readbytiffany ♡

South Korean webcomics, webtoons, or manhwa are digital comics that have gained popularity globally in the last decade. These full-colored comics are read from top to bottom as they’re published in one long vertical strip, meant for reading on a smartphone or computer. In the past year or two it’s become one of my most read mediums because I love the colorful art style and the ease of reading the format provides.

Many Korean dramas are adapted from popular webcomics, such as Cheese in the Trap and What’s Wrong with Secretary Kim, so if you’re a fan of K-dramas then there’s definitely crossover appeal! Romcom, thriller, action, fantasy–there’s something for everyone. 

I’m absolutely elated to have Tiffany from @readbytiffany here today to share webcomic recs with me! She’s a fellow villainess isekai enthusiast and smutty romcom connoisseur who compulsively reads webcomics as much as I do. But first…

Where can you read them?

  1. Webtoons – Officially translated Korean webcomics and original webcomics for free! Probably the most well-known English platform for the medium. This was where I discovered the vast realm of webcomics back in 2015! 
  2. Tapas – Webcomics AND web novels. Some are free and some are premium, which you can either pay for or earn points by watching ads and playing mini games.  
  3. Lezhin Comics – Webcomics with more variety in BL and mature content. The “Wait Until Free” selection gives you a free chapter every X hours.

These are the big three but there are many more places to read webcomics, like Tappytoon and Manta.

The very first one I read on Webtoons was Annarasumanara, a coming-of-age story about a poverty-stricken girl who’s life changes when she meets a mysterious magician. If you like magical realism and nostalgic, contemplative stories, I highly recommend it. It just so happens to be getting adapted into a K-drama by Netflix, titled The Sound of Magic.

On to the recommendations! Tiffany and I each have five of our favorite webcomics to share–there’s some romance, some action, some fantasy, and a whole lot to devour if you’re new! For those already familiar with the medium, you might also find something you haven’t read yet.

Nina’s recommendations:

Omniscient Reader

One day, our MC finds himself stuck in the world of his favorite webnovel. What should he do to survive? It’s a world struck by catastrophe and danger all around. His edge? He knows the plot of the story to end, because he was the sole reader that stuck with it.

  • Impressive cast of characters with their own distinctive personalities and struggles. Found family vibes but make it extremely dysfunctional. Clown-to-clown communications. 
  • The ULTIMATE chaotic trio–basically gaslight (Kim Dojka), gatekeep (Yoo Joonhyuk), and girlboss (Han Sooyoung). Very questionable moral compasses.
  • Powerful female characters with agency that also play a vital role in the plot line!
  • So much more than your typical isekai. Immersive world building and crazy plot twists. Ultimately it’s a story about the love for stories; an ode to storytelling. 
  • Emotional investment: 10/10. Every time I think about the end of the webnovel I feel like bursting into tears.

Positively Yours

To Hee-won’s dismay, the BFF she crushed on and her other BFF are now dating! Seriously bummed, Hee-won decides to go wild just one time, and find solace with a handsome stranger. A very satisfying one night affair has now turned into more — she’s pregnant! Fate brings them together again, and now the regimented Doo-joon is determined to do the right thing and marry her. But they’re basically strangers! Except… their bodies have been very intimately acquainted. What’s this mother-to-be to do? 

  • My all-time favorite romcom webcomic!
  • I don’t even like the accidental pregnancy trope or any sort of pregnancy in my romance but this one was so sweet and wholesome.
  • Two strangers learning how to be in a relationship for their unborn child and falling in love in the process.
  • Billionaire CEO who is not just the president of his company, but also the president of the I Love My Wife And Will Do Anything For Her club.
  • A heartwarming and comedic romance that’ll definitely put a smile on your face.

Unholy Blood

When vampires destroy her chance to have the normal life she’s always wanted, Hayan is forced to draw on her darkest secret to rid the world of the merciless hunters that took it over 10 years ago. With the support of a rising star in the local police force, Hayan steps up to protect her loved ones, face her past, and get her revenge.

  • The perfect blend of action and romance in an urban fantasy setting.
  • Hayan is secretly a vampire who just wants live an ordinary life. Her life turns upside down when vampires rip away her semblance of normality and she has to embrace the power she was born with to take down the most powerful vampires in the world.
  • She teams up with a hot detective who has his own secrets and a slow burn romance ensues.
  • For once it’s the female lead that’s overpowered! She’s seriously badass.

Solo Leveling

In a world where awakened beings called “Hunters” must battle deadly monsters to protect humanity, Sung Jinwoo, nicknamed “the weakest hunter of all mankind,” finds himself in a constant struggle for survival. One day, after a brutal encounter in an overpowered dungeon wipes out his party and threatens to end his life, a mysterious System chooses him as its sole player: Jinwoo has been granted the rare opportunity to level up his abilities, possibly beyond any known limits.

I have an entire post dedicated to why you should read my latest favorite power fantasy here, but to sum it up:

  • Underdog story of the world’s weakest hunter fighting against impossible odds on his journey to become the strongest.
  • Video game-like features (RPG leveling system, abilities, guilds) set in the modern world.
  • Full of action and epic battles (perfect for shounen fans).
  • The art! Every page flows so seamlessly and the sleek style and purposeful use of color reflects the main character’s growth. There are stunning page-long panoramic scenes for high stakes battles that are a feast for the eyes.
  • I don’t want to be the “I read Solo Leveling for the plot” meme, but…THE PLOT:

Under the Oak Tree

Stuttering lady Maximilian is forced into a marriage with Sir Riftan, but he leaves on a campaign after their wedding night. 3 years later, he triumphantly returns, ready to cherish her. As life with her husband finally begins, she only has one question — does she deserve this love and happiness?

  • Historical/fantasy romance with a bit of ~spice~.
  • Timid heroine who grows into herself + grumpy/overbearing hero who is ONLY soft for her. Daughter of a Duke + the greatest Knight in the kingdom dynamic.
  • If you look up tall, dark, and devilishly handsome, Sir Riftan will appear in the results.
  • Misunderstandings and miscommunication adds to the angst factor which I love. While both are flawed characters, there’s a lot of character development!

Tiffany’s recommendations:

An Hour of Romance

Joo-Ahn and Do-Jin couldn’t be any more different at work. She’s a perpetually single career woman who takes everything too seriously and rules with an iron fist. He’s a modelesque klutz with a heart of gold who lucked into an entry-level marketing job.

But when a company trip to a mysterious temple starts an inexplicable soul swap, they end up switching bodies for an hour each day. To avoid utter embarrassment and keep up their reputations, the unlikely pair will have to cooperate and bide their time. Will Joo-Ahn learn to sympathize with the pretty boy who can’t do anything right? And will Do-Jin see the softer side of his boss’s spiky persona?

  • Grumpy female lead x sunshine himbo love interest(!!)
  • Two office workers with polar personalities that must learn to work together after a magical spell makes them switch bodies for an hour every day.
  • From the author of What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim…so you KNOW it’s going to be top tier.

What It Takes To Be a Villainess

With a broken heart, Hwayoung falls headfirst into the river by accident but wakes up as infamous villainess Satiana Altisee Kaylon. Coming to terms with her new life as sole daughter of House Kaylon, Satiana is soon chosen as a candidate for the next empress! In the palace full of schemers and liars, she must become a cold-blooded villainess to win her royal seat by the crown prince – or her new family will face grave danger! Will being perfectly evil really be enough? ‘Cause even villains need love!

  • It’s completed(!!) meaning you don’t have to painstakingly wait for updates.
  • The Bachelor meets The Selection in a competition to win the Crown Prince’s heart and become Empress.
  • Female lead who fully embraces her villainess role and manages to capture the ML’s heart in an Isekai story.

The Villainess is a Marionette

I woke up as Kayena Hill, the novel’s villainess, praised as the greatest beauty in the empire. Who knew that her story would catch my attention because I was her in my past life? Destined for terrible ends, I’ve died twice—but I refuse to die a third time as a pawn in someone else’s scheme. I’m no longer the vain and naïve princess. Now that I know how the story will unfold, I’ll turn the tables around and have everyone dancing to my tune. This time, I’ll be the one pulling the strings.

  • The most BEAUTIFUL…I repeat…BEAUTIFUL artwork you will ever lay your eyes on.
  • A badass female lead who takes her fate into her own hands.
  • Once again…everyone is so pretty 🥺😭

No Longer a Heroine 

Lisa Cheon used to be the nation’s favorite on-screen idol, but swiftly falls from grace after being framed as a drug addict. She is offered the opportunity to turn it all around by starring on a new TV show, but it won’t be easy: her character’s love interest is her ex-boyfriend, and she’s too nervous to act without alcohol. Can Lisa regain what she has lost and face the demons of her past?

  • Thrilling, fun, exciting…could literally be a K-drama…and it SHOULD be.
  • Follows the famous Lisa Cheon, who made her name as an immensely talented child actress. After retiring due to a drug scandal, she’s headlining the nation’s most highly anticipated K-drama as the female lead.
  • Second chance romance?! But we also stan the second male lead because he’s a cinnamon roll.

Days of Hana

Friends since childhood, Haru and Hana do not have a typical relationship — Hana is human, and Haru is her werewolf who must protect her. Although werewolves are starting to have more rights, they are still seen as exotic beasts by society. As the two fall in love, what will be their fate?

  • Another A++ completed webtoon(!!) 
  • Urban fantasy centering around werewolves, starring two childhood friends…who may or may not become lovers.
  • The entire story is a larger metaphor for institutionalized racism, racial oppression, animal cruelty, civil uprising, and more.

Did any of these pique your interest? Let us know your thoughts if you pick any of these webcomics up!

Instagram | Twitter | Goodreads


Why You Should Read Solo Leveling

There’s a quote from Donna Tartt’s The Secret History that I was reminded of when I read Solo Leveling:

❝I am nothing in my soul if not obsessive.

I’ve read many books, manga, and webcomics that were phenomenal, but only a select few have really left its mark on me. The kind of stories that consume my every waking thought. I mull over it in idle moments, talk to all my friends about it, convince others to read it, buy art, collect different editions, and so on. When I’m in deep; beyond the shores of Acheron, standing before the gates of the abyss, I even look for fanfiction to read. And when there’s nothing to read, I write it myself.

This doesn’t happen very often. In fact, I can count the number of fandoms I’ve been part of on one hand, but that’s where I am with Solo Leveling right now. I stayed up until 2 am rereading all 110 chapters of the first season over the course of two days. When I caught up on the webcomic, I read the web novel, and when I finished that, I went out to buy the english physical copy to start my collection. Solo Leveling is my latest obsession for a very good reason, and it holds the throne as my current favorite webcomic!

What is Solo Leveling?

Solo Leveling is originally a Korean web novel written by Chu-gong that was later adapted into a webcomic illustrated by Jang Sung-rak (aka Dubu). In a world where portals, or “gates”, full of hostile abyssal monsters have spawned, threatening the existence of humanity, some humans have developed extraordinary powers to fight against them. This small population is known as “hunters”. Their job is to enter the gate and clear the dungeon by defeating the creatures that await within. The story follows protagonist Sung Jin-Woo, an E-rank hunter known as the world’s weakest, on his rise to power to become the strongest hunter in the world.

What makes Solo Leveling so good?

The characters. Jin-Woo starts off as the weakest hunter in the world, barely stronger than the average human, but he’s full of heart and determination. He struggled through the lowest level dungeons to provide for his family, and with a missing father and a hospitalized mother, he had to raise his younger sister himself. His motivation to get stronger is simply to protect those he cares about. He’s not a terribly complicated character—doesn’t have an elaborate ambition like many other protagonists (i.e. Naruto’s dream of becoming Hokage)—but that’s what makes him so endearing. He fights against impossible odds and overcomes challenge after challenge to grow into a powerful Shadow Monarch. Underdog stories are just so satisfying.

The side characters are compelling as well, from the various guild masters to the antagonists. Jin-Woo’s shadow soldiers Igris and Beru are my favorites! Igris is his first shadow, the ever-chivalrous knight, and Beru is his (current) strongest shadow in the webcomic.

Jin-Woo and Beru.

Can you believe that this incredibly powerful shadow general likes watching historical dramas and reenacting it with his liege? The unexpected humor is the icing on the cake!

The blend of RPG games and reality. If you’re a fan of RPG/MMORPG games, you’re going to enjoy this one. There’s a leveling system in the webcomic that’s similar to that of video games. Jin-Woo gets quests to complete—like daily training or defeating a boss—that levels him up. He is essentially a “player” in the real world. He learns and develops abilities, becomes proficient with weapons, and grows via the leveling system, hence the name Solo Leveling. For the most part, he defeats bosses himself with the assistance of the shadow army, which he commands.

The art. It’s stunning. Every page feels like a feast for the eyes. The art is sleek and modern, with purposeful use of color to reflect power. There’s a minimalist style that the artist uses to illustrate Jin-Woo and the art choice represents his character so well; bold, flat black tones that make you feel like he’s the abyss himself. Endless and vast and ancient in power. There’s a clear difference in how he’s illustrated in the beginning; full of color, softer lines, more detailed, to his current form of the Shadow Monarch; seamless blacks with a singular pop color to convey his power. I think that the absence of details in his current form shows how he lost parts of himself as he got stronger. The minimalism suits his now stoic personality. Everything is drawn purposefully.

Solo Leveling is fast-paced with high-octane action sequences that will leave your heart pounding. It starts off with a bang and pulls you into its shadows, immersing you in a world where humans and monsters battle for the fate of the world. Everything is amazing, from the visuals to the story, and you’ll find yourself reading into the late hours of the night because of how binge-worthy this series is.

Interested in more?

Thanks to its wide-spread popularity, Solo Leveling will be adapted into a drama and a game in the United States! I’m incredibly excited for both, but maybe a little more hesitant on the drama side as the quality will be dependent on which studio will handle it. I think the ultimate end game for many Solo Leveling fans is an anime adaptation. I get chills just imagining how the battles will animated. Especially one of the early ones when Jin-Woo acquires Igris. Without a doubt, it would be mentioned alongside the current giants in anime like Jujustu Kaisen and Demon Slayer. Just take a look at this amazing animation:

I hope this has convinced you to pick up Solo Leveling! Who knows, it might just be your next favorite webcomic.