Korean Adaptation of the Japanese Comic Book Industry Model: Weekly IQ Jump from 1988~1999 and its Transitional Significance in the Production and Distribution of the South Korean Comics Industry
일본 만화산업모델의 한국적 도입: 1988~1999년의 주간 아이큐점프가 한국 만화산업의 생산 및 유통에 가지는 전환기적 중요성
- 사회과학대학 언론정보학과
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 대학원
- comics industry; comics magazine; manhwa; IQ Jump; Shonen Jump; oral history; 만화산업; 만화잡지; 한국만화; 아이큐점프; 소년점프; 구술사
- 학위논문 (석사)-- 서울대학교 대학원 : 언론정보학과, 2015. 2. 강명구.
- The 1990s were a period of rapid change for South Korean society and its comic book industry. The period not only witnessed an explosive growth in the quantity and variation of comic books and artists, and a heightened level of social and governmental interest in the business, but also attempts by publishers to change the very nature of the traditional distribution system, which in turn resulted in radical consequences for every aspect of the domestic comic scene. Historically, comic books in Korea were distributed through rental retailers called manhwabang — which literally means comic book room — where customers rented and read comic books for a small fee. The manhwabang was the major and final consumer in the domestic market ever since comic books were mass produced and popularized in Korea, but there were constant attempts and struggles by publishers to shift the consumer target from rental retailer to the reader. Publisher Seoul Munhwasa and its weekly comics magazine IQ Jump was at the forefront of this change, pursuing aggressive strategies modeled after the Japanese comics industry model, most particularly on the extremely successful Japanese weekly comics magazine, Shonen Jump. A constant weekly publication cycle, editorial decisions based heavily on popularity poll results, employment of new artists over established artists, and acquiring profit by accumulating and publishing serialized comics into comic book volumes (the so-called "magazine-tankoubon model") were some of the key factors IQ Jump adapted from the Japanese comic book business model and Shonen Jump. Yet the contents of IQ Jump, Seoul Munhwasas actions in the comics industry, and interviews from the artists and editors who produced IQ Jump during the 1980s and 1990s indicate that IQ Jump differed largely from its role model, Shonen Jump, due to their different socio-economical and historical backgrounds. For example, IQ Jump relied heavily on foreign, mostly Japan-imported comics for sales, competed against not only legally operating rival publishers but also abundant local piracy, and continued to maintain a complicated relationship with rental retailers. Compared to their counterparts in the Shonen Jump editorial team, editors at IQ Jump were severely understaffed, worked under an editorial system that increasingly relied on the success of foreign titles, and thus were often incapable of fully supporting or guiding its artists. For artists, the comparably loose editorial control resulted in either greater creative control or loss of narrative direction. Meanwhile, readers' tastes were largely affected by the surge of both legally licensed and pirated Japanese comic books, and young artists who have internalized the generic narrative and visual style of the most up-to-date commercial Japanese comics gained an advantage over older, established artists, resulting in a massive generational shift of creators. Additionally, publishers' attempts at shifting the final consumer from rental retailers to readers resulted in an empowered fan base, a public more willing to spend on comics than before, and the establishment and normalization of the magazine-tankoubon model. Ultimately, the choices and limitations of 1990s comics publishers affected not only the business model but the genre, aesthetics and preferences of the Korean comics market.