The drama-based-on webcomic, “My ID is Gangnam Beauty” is gaining popularity among the public.
/Extracted from JTBC website
Nowadays, dramas or movies-based-on webcomics such as “My ID is Gangnam Beauty,” “Your House Helper,” and “Along with the Gods” are fetching the public. Previously, numerous works were made based-on comic books. However, with the development of technology, accessibility to webcomics is much better than it was before. People can read webcomics on their phone right away, and authors can upload every single episode to online media as soon as they finish their works. Alongside these changes, webcomics-based-dramas and movies, in return, are also making their original works popular.
The keys to the success of webcomics-based dramas and films are similarity and differentiation
The success of webcomics depends on two general ideas. The first one is the strong plot itself. With a solid story line and realistic stories, dramas can build on the success of webcomics. Kim Yoo-jin (Sophomore, Department of Economics) of Konkuk University, who used to be a viewer of the drama “Misaeng” stated, “I did not watch the webcomics at first. Later, I got to know that the drama was from the webcomics. This fact intrigued me to look for the webcomics edition. The drama ‘Misaeng,’ which illustrates the life of “in-between job” vividly, had such a strong story line so that it could gain sympathy for those who are doing ‘in-between jobs.’ It even had the most viewers among dramas aired at the same time.”
A high rate of similarity for dramas or movies to the original solid plot could be another factor. When the setting and the characters from the webcomics are highly similar, success and popularity often follow. The movie “Inside Men” adaptations drew attention by showing a high resemblance to the original comics. Furthermore, though it was a teenager restricted-movie, the number of viewers went over 70 million, and along with the fever of the movie, it led to release a director’s edition.
This might sound like a paradox, but differentiation from the webcomics could be another key to success. Unlike the usual static imagery, movies and TV shows allow creators to dramatize the stories visually. “Along with the Gods” benefited greatly by being made into a movie. Lee Ha-young (Sophomore, Department of Biotechnology) of Chosun University said, “The movie ‘Along with the Gods’ showed ‘the best of all’ computer graphics. I have already read the original webcomics, so I think the plot itself is already good. When I heard that it would be made into a movie, I was very excited. The actual movie allowed me to see those I was not able to see in the webcomic.”
Also, when other components, such as another character or setting are added to the dramas or films, they could be the ‘icing on the cake.’ Since they are webcomics-based, a lot of viewers already know the development of the story. This fact might make the story “obvious” to viewers. To avoid this “obviousness,” a lot of directors change some settings. Lee Ha-young added, “I think drama ‘My ID is Gangnam Beauty’ was more enjoyable by reflecting the reality. Recently, the government has banned sales of alcohols during the university festivals. Originally, webcomic did not have this storyline. However, by adding this episode, the drama became more lifelike.” While there can be good alterations and additions, too much variation can upset fans of the original, too.
Both Uniformity and alterations could lead to failure
Making a drama very similar to an original webcomic can lead to a “smash hit,” but making every single element the same could be a disaster. Some viewers might find it tedious to watch, since they already know the plot. Though, a similar plot but with some extra elements added could increase possibility to succeed. However, making too many changes could also be a problem. Kim Da-young (Junior, Department of Korean Language and Literature) of Hanyang University said, the “Drama ‘Cheese in the Trap’ could be an example. Cheese in the Trap was one of the webcomics that had a lot of fans. However, for the drama, as the story develops, the weight of the main character and the sub-main character was switched.” The main actor showed discomfort at the edited script regarding the importance of the main character in the original media. Not only the main character but also the author showed displeasure. The author wrote on Twitter that, “Although the director told me they would follow the original plot, they did not contact me at all. They did it just before the last episode.” As such, sometimes many alterations could lead to poorly made adaptations.
These days, a lot of dramas and films are made based-on webcomics. The way they make alterations may cause either a success or a failure. However, once webcomics-based works succeed, they have several benefits. This circumstance could produce a win-win effect for both dramas or movies and webcomics. If they succeed in making the movie or drama a “hit,” then people might be attracted back to the webcomics, and vice versa. Also, a Korean wave for webcomics could be realized. For instance, Netflix, one of the most popular media platforms that provides diverse dramas, movies, and so on, will produce another webcomics-based drama. Kim Young-jae, the professor of the Department of Culture Contents of Hanyang University ERICA campus, commented “Turning webcomics into other media could lead to an increase of profits. However, in Korea thoughtful consideration of the profit model for the authors of webcomics is necessarily needed, since we are at the foundation level for a profit model in making webcomics into dramas or movies.”
Kim Ji-min firstname.lastname@example.org
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