By: Linda Wang
I’ve never been a fan of shows or movies where I have to follow the pacing that a director chooses. Instead, I opt for webcomics where you can scroll at your own pace for hours at a time. Luckily, some webcomics are not just pretty images with little plot, but actually masterpieces of artwork with riveting storylines and life lessons. Here are my picks (as a romance/drama-focused reader) for 2022.
In the romance category, we have Romance 101 topping the charts. Webcomic creator Namsoo has written a classic story in which the female lead, Bareum Jeong, has fallen for her crush’s best friend. This webcomic’s plot goes far beyond minor misunderstandings and cliche love proclamations. Through its adorable art and occasional chibi tidbits, Romance 101 depicts mental health struggles, heartbreak, and arguments in an easily-understandable medium. Characters, whether they are friends, lovers, or family members, openly communicate their feelings to each other, all the while bravely facing the misunderstandings that inevitably arrive with love.
If you’re in the mood for a little more action, 2022’s winner has to be Blood of the Butterfly by artist Remin. The cute characters and the red-themed color palette convey a much darker tone in a dystopian world in which monstrous “bugs” have completely overtaken Korea. The solution? Butterflies, specially trained fighters who are products of the Garden research lab. As Maehwa, a newly discovered Butterfly, learns his way around the Garden, he discovers that individual Butterflies have darker backstories than seen on the surface, and the Garden holds an even darker secret from them all. The lovable yet flawed characters exemplify the webcomic’s use of suspense, foreshadowing, and plot twists. Butterflies and Garden researchers’ opinions clash: some are in denial and unwilling to challenge the Garden, and others who’ve been horrifically abused seek violent revenge.
Finally, the absolute best webcomic in 2022, in my (completely unbiased) judgment, is… Seasons of Blossom. The cute art style (do we sense a theme?) and the characters’ endearing smiles reveal a much deeper and more mature story. The webcomic is split up into four parts marked by the four seasons of the year––currently, it is in the winter season. Each part follows different characters’ stories, which all tie back to one main group of friends. Don’t be fooled by the lighthearted romance of the spring season: after you’re done sapping over Bomi and Jinyeong’s little blushes, it’s straight to summer, which highlights the story behind Hamin’s suicide in the midst of academic pressure and strained family ties. Autumn continues to tackle heavy issues through Gaeun’s experiences with bullying and her struggle to find closure and self-confidence, an issue winter continues to develop through student Dongchae’s experiences. Despite the heavy topics, creators Hongduck and Nemone write incredible dialogue that’s fluid yet honest and meaningful. The friends’ characters are all unique and developed to their fullest extent, and all are there for each other in difficult times.
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