Vietnam urged to Invest in Development of Webtoon Industry: Film Director

    Charlie announced the second edition of the COMINK Comic Contest at the Manga Comic Con Vietnam 2023, which took place last month in Ho Chi Minh City.

    According to the co-founder and board member of COMINK, Vietnam is known for having a large and passionate community of comic and webtoon enthusiasts. The country is also recognized as a leading hub for the production of numerous global comic and webtoon titles.

    Webtoons, short for “website” and “cartoon,” are a popular form of digital comics that can be enjoyed on both computers and mobile devices.

    Charlie Nguyen (C), a Vietnamese-American film director, and his associates co-organize the COMINK Comic Contest to seek Vietnamese comics of high quality. Photo: COMINK Organizer

    Charlie Nguyen (C), a Vietnamese-American film director, and his associates co-organize the COMINK Comic Contest to seek Vietnamese comics of high quality. Photo: COMINK Organizer

    According to the film director, it is essential for young Vietnamese comic enthusiasts to focus on developing their skills as talented storytellers, rather than merely being consumers or outsourced artists for foreign employers.

    “I am of the opinion that the youth in Vietnam have a scarcity of recreational spaces, however, they are not lacking in intriguing narratives.”

    The Vietnamese art community has seen a significant presence of talent working with international comic companies, with a notable emphasis on South Korea’s thriving webtoon market. This growing trend attests to the strong appeal and recognition of Vietnamese artists within the global industry.

    Vietnamese artists are responsible for illustrating a webtoon entirely based on the provided storyboard, character design, and art direction from the South Korean team. Once the work is completed, it is then transferred back to the South Korean side.

    The South Korean team will include additional text to the webtoon and subsequently release it for publication.

    Echoing Nguyen’s statement, Vietnamese screenwriter Nguyen Khanh Duong expressed his belief that Vietnamese storytellers should have the opportunity to share their own narratives with audiences both domestically and internationally.

    It can be challenging for Vietnamese authors to generate sufficient income in their profession within the current local market. Consequently, it is quite understandable that they choose to pursue stable employment in the production of foreign webtoons, as Duong explained.

    Several Vietnamese comic artists who have gained recognition in the industry and have received international awards are currently working as outsourced employees for South Korean webtoon companies.

    “Some individuals, on the other hand, willingly accept lower salaries in order to pursue their own creative endeavors from the comfort of their own homes,” he further emphasized.

    Some comic characters favored by Vietnamese audiences - Photo: Comicola

    Some comic characters favored by the Vietnamese audience. Photo: Comicola

    Comic contests, such as COMINK, are anticipated to serve as a catalyst for comic enthusiasts to enhance their skills and fuel their artistic growth.

    “As a dedicated researcher of Vietnam’s comic market for several years, I have witnessed the remarkable art history that spans multiple centuries in this country. It is truly fascinating. Furthermore, the global webtoon market has been experiencing consistent growth each year and has been primarily focused on capturing the attention of young individuals. This observation was shared by COMINK co-founder, Paul Brenner, who highlighted the significant number of young webtoon enthusiasts under the age of 24 in countries like the U.S., Thailand, and Indonesia.”

    The webtoon market in Vietnam is primarily dominated by foreign content, as stated by Brenner.

    The organizer aims to develop a webtoon platform for Vietnamese comics through COMINK, with the goal of leading the sales of Vietnamese comics in Asia.

    The COMINK Comic Contest is an annual event that was initially introduced in 2022, designed specifically for talented young individuals who possess a profound passion for creating exceptional comic works.

    The upcoming second edition of our event will commence in 12 months, beginning in August of this year. This highly anticipated edition boasts a total prize value of up to VND300 million (US$12,640).

    Winning candidates will have the exciting opportunity to witness their literary creations come to life on the big screen or through captivating drama series adaptations.

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