South Korea’s Webtoon Adds Aethon Adaptations

In News by Porter Anderson

The Seoul-based Webtoon expands its relationship with Aethon Books in a deal to adapt 14 books into online serial comics.

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

‘A New Level of Attention to Western IPs’
Seoul-based Webtoon is known to many Publishing Perspectives readers as the company that made a US$600 million acquisition of Canada’s Wattpad, completed in 2021.

On Thursday (January 18), Webtoon announced that it will expand its relationship with the States-based Aethon Books by adapting 14 Web novels as the Web comics that are Webtoon’s key stock in trade.

Studios reportedly involved in Aethon’s original creation of the titles involved in the deal include Laurel Pursuit, Moonquill, Kisai Entertainment, and Cocoon Productions.

The 14 titles to be adapted are:

The mechanism behind some of these adaptations is not unlike the one that can help a Wattpad narrative go to film production or development as a professionally published book: the existing fan base.

Media messaging indicates that Defiance of the Fall has sold more than 100,000 ebook editions; Dungeon Crawler Carl is said to have sold the same number of audiobook format copies; System Universe reportedly has 50,000 audiobook sales to its credit.

The expectation, then, is that online comic series treatments of these properties can recapture some of the interest in the original works.

In a prepared statement, Aethon CEO Rhett Bruno is quoted, referencing another attraction here, as well: the chance to get more content originating from outside Asia into these channels. “We believe this slate of webcomics,” Bruno says, “will bring a new level of attention to Western IPs in the space and can’t wait for readers to get their hands on them.”

Earlier cooperative projects for Webtoon and Aethon have included The Primal Hunter by Zogarth and Re: Trailer Trash by FortySixtyFour, both of those adaptations being released by Webtoon in 2023.

More from Publishing Perspectives on comics is here, more on Webtoon is here, more on Wattpad is here, and more on serialization of various kinds in publishing is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.