Editor's note: Danica Davidson is a writer whose articles have appeared on MTV.com, Publishers Weekly and the Los Angeles Times. She also writes English adaptations of Japanese graphic novels. She has recently finished her first young adult novel and is seeking a publisher.
In recent years, the licensing and distribution of Korean comics — called manhwa — have increased in the United States, but retailers don't provide much of a distinction between it and its Japanese counterpart, manga.
Manhwa is sold right beside manga in bookstores, which some industry insiders view as inevitable (because manga is better known, and such a close association could help manhwa sales). But others think that manhwa should be recognized for its own merits in America.
Manga and manhwa read in different directions (manga is read from right to left, and manhwa is read in the traditional Western style of left to right), and the art style is different, though not overwhelmingly so. They often delve into similar subjects in their stories: action, romance (opposite- and same-sex) and Asian mythology.
Whereas manga often turns to Japanese mythology for background and stories, manhwa naturally turns to Korean mythology. There are definite similarities, and modern manhwa has had some influence from manga, but it’s certainly inaccurate to say that manhwa only exists because of manga, as some people have come to believe. FULL POST