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Comic artist Gang Do-young

2008/03/05 | 192 views | Permalink | Source

Another comic artist eyed by the film circle following Huh Young-man is online cartoonist Kang Do-young (aka Kang Full, 33). The copyright to his feature comics sold instantly. "A.P.T" was made into a film in 2006 and "Fool", released after a delay, has also attracted many moviegoers.

First generation Internet comic artist

Regarded the first generation Internet comic artist, Kang's debut came after a long struggle and owes its success to the Internet. He didn't formally learn comic writing in college and nor was he taught by a famed artist. The start of it all was when he started to paint comic wall posters while serving the student body at Sangji University. As written posters didn't catch students' attention, he began to turn them into comics.

Committed to the task for 7 years, he decided to become a comic artist just ahead of graduation. In college, he often wore green clothes, thus he earned his nickname Kang Full (green is considered a "full" color in Korea), which he retained as his pen name. But before his public breakthrough, he also struggled during his nameless years. He sent his resume and work to 420 publishers and ward office gazettes, to no avail. In April 2002, he launched a personal website (Open the link) and began posting his works. The netizen response was explosive. Netizens spread his comics files through the messenger software that was just taking off at the time and his popularity skyrocketed. Major Internet portals such as Daum asked for his comic contribution. He attributes his success to the Internet, through which he could directly interact with his readers.

Solid, warm storyline

Kang doesn't necessarily draw well. His comic drawings are not that pretty or provocative. In other words, what lies behind the 250 million cumulative online page views of his total of five comics--which were all made into films--is solely the power of the storyline.

The reason why filmmakers eye his works is simple. His works have public appeal, the stories are fun and the motifs and genres are diverse. They are also well-connected by time and event and fit for a film script. A well-woven plot involving different viewpoints of various characters is also a strength. Active use of narration and flashbacks also solidify the repeated surprise twists. Regardless of genre, his stories are about the everyday life of marginalized neighbors that touch our hearts.

A Daum official says Kang's comics have reached some 300 million page views and 400,000 online comments. The numbers grow daily so his record-setting may see no end. During the serial publication of "...ing" and "26 Years", the crazed response downed online services. Additional servers have been added some two weeks before the release of the final installment.

However, it's difficult to transform his comics onto the big screen. It's the uniform complaint of film agencies. His comics are long and very intricate, difficult to fit into a two hour commercial film. The omission of a single factor often breaks down the whole plot, so adapting the work to a movie script takes a great deal of effort.

Into drama and film

Kang has been teaching cultural content classes at his alma mater Sangji University since last year. "Sunjeong Manhwa" which took two years to write the script alone will soon begin filming with the leads Yoo Ji-tae and Lee Yeon-hee. Publishing-Chungeoram is adapting the script for "26 Years". After a delay due to a director change, "...ing" is also set to be made a drama by Kim Jong-hak Production. Finally, "I love you" will be made into a drama and film by K-dream. We look forward to Kang's new stories.

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