Searching for Horang
2015-10-15 · by Tory Hoke
(This post includes Korean but is mostly in English. If the English in this post looks strange, please make sure it isn’t being auto-translated by a browser plugin.)
Even if you don’t Horang’s name, you know his work.
His horror webtoon “Bongcheon Dong Ghost” has been stopping hearts since its release in 2011. Hardly a “scariest thing you’ve seen on the Internet” thread goes by on /r/askreddit without the naver.com URL of “Bongcheon Dong Ghost” near the top. If you enjoy a good scare and don’t recognize the title or the opening frame below, you should read it now, although it is NOT recommended for those who are weak of heart, pregnant, in public, or near anyone or anything sleeping.
But Bongcheon Dong Ghost is only the tip of Horang’s horror iceberg. While described by some as “mysterious” and “obscure” with a “low profile,” he’s actually a prolific writer/director/illustrator/programmer based in Korea who makes occasional TV appearances and keeps a regularly updated studio blog.
If you want more of his webtoons in your life, try these:
Gabdong – The Serial Killer
(Korean language only)
And hot off the press from September 2015 (Korean language only):
As far as I could tell, Horang’s works are not only the best interactive webtoons on earth, but the only ones! Can it really be true that
- No one else is making similar work?
- No one wants to make this work?
- The US’s puny sequential art culture (no manga, no anime) can’t attract creators and readers to this form?
I found it difficult to believe, much less accept—so difficult that I spent several weeks on the work that would be a proof of concept as well as, I hoped, a show of good faith to tempt Horang into a commission for sub-Q: “Dead Week” (also on itch.io).
With the help of translator Euna G., I reached out to Horang by email this summer. Unfortunately I received no reply. There are many reasons why an internationally famous artist might not respond to a query from a tiny unknown webzine in a foreign country. I leave it to sub-Q’s premium members to decide whether my communication played a part.
But I haven’t given up. There is much to be done to bring more artists to the interactive webtoon fold—to tell stories of horror, fantasy, science fiction, and more—and I’ve come too far to turn back now.
Here’s hoping for a chance someday to shake the hand of Horang, the creator who started it all.
Premium members, enjoy my query letter to Horang below, in both Korean and English!