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Top Manhwa and Webtoons: 7 Korean Comics to Check Out

I am a fan of manga, manhwa, webtoons, and comics, and I love sharing my reviews with other fans.

These are my seven favorite manhwa comics. If you want to get into Korean webcomics, I recommend starting with one of these titles.

These are my seven favorite manhwa comics. If you want to get into Korean webcomics, I recommend starting with one of these titles.

I've been a manga fan forever, but I just recently started reading manhwa and Korean webtoons. Here are the best ones I've come across so far. I highly recommend these titles, especially if you're a fan of action-based mangas.

Before proceeding, be warned that some of the descriptions in this list include minor spoilers. Titles are listed in no particular order. Let me know what your favorite manhwa are in the comments below!

1. King of Hell

Author: Ra In-Soo

Illustrator: Kim Jae-Hwan

Genre: Action, fantasy, adventure, comedy, historical

First Published: 2001

Premise

In life, Majeh was a very powerful warrior. In death, he is a servant of the king of hell. When dangerous and evil spirits escape their captivity in hell, Majeh is given an opportunity to return to life as the king of hell's emissary. Now back in the living world, Majeh must hunt these powerful and evil spirits down before they destroy the world.

Why You Should Read It

I must say this is the first-ever manhwa I discovered and fell in love with. I particularly love the comedy aspect of this series. I have never laughed so hard while reading a comic before. Majeh's goofy faces and hilarious remarks are priceless. Our protagonist can come off as smug since he's overly powerful compared to his enemies. You won't hate him, though, because his smugness works as a comedic tool in the series.

The illustrations struck me as being the old-fashioned kind, but they're well-done and incredibly detailed. During the story, we encounter a variety of sects that practice different kinds of martial arts, so we get to see a diverse array of techniques and forms displayed through the tale's action. The battles are highly entertaining to read—our beloved protagonist tends to defeat his enemies casually and with relative ease.

Noblesse—2007

Noblesse—2007

2. Noblesse

Author: Son Jae-Ho

Illustrator: Lee Gwang-Su

Genre: Action, sci-fi, comedy, supernatural

First Published: 2007

Premise

Noblesse tells the story of Cadis Etrama Di Raizel (Rai). Rai is part of an ancient race called Nobles. Nobles are a powerful and immortal race that oversees humanity and protects it from the shadows. We follow Rai as he discovers and defeats enemies that threaten to destroy humanity.

Why You Should Read It

Noblesse is probably one of the most popular Korean web-comics and for good reason. My first impression of this manhwa was that it was just another Twilight rip-off. You know—good looking vampire main characters, drooling teenage girls, and the like. Despite my initial impressions, I decided to jump on the bandwagon and see for myself what the buzz was all about. As it turns out, Noblesse is a fantastic comic full of action-packed battles and power showdowns.

First off, the Nobles are not vampires at all. The humans in the comic think they are because they're immortal and sleep in coffins, but that's where the similarities end. Sunlight doesn't affect them whatsoever, and they do not drink blood. Rai, our protagonist, is one overpowered dude, and he absolutely stomps. It's so satisfying to see him fight—he repeatedly "pwns" his enemies with blood tornadoes and dragons. It's really neat stuff. Creatures like werewolves and modified humans also exist in the story. If you like action mangas full of intense battles featuring a hyper-powerful main character, then you should read this webtoon.

3. The Breaker

Author: Geuk-Jin Jeon

Illustrator: Jin-Hwan Park

Genre: Action, martial arts, drama

First Published: 2007

Premise

This manhwa follows the story of a shy and timid high school student named Shi-Woon Yi as he studies under Chun Woo Han. Unknown to Shi-Woon, Chun Woo is the infamous Nine Arts Dragon, a martial arts master who is the greatest enemy of a martial arts society known as Murim. We follow Shi-Woon as he ventures to an intriguing world he's never seen before.

Why You Should Read It

This is definitely one of the best martial arts manhwa out there. All the great clans, martial arts forms, and techniques are present. There's some political stuff going on too, but overall, the politics take a back seat to the action in this story. If your attention span is short, you may have a problem with this series' pacing. Sometimes, the plot evolves quite slowly, especially for our protagonist. Our main character is a bit of a cliché goody-two-shoes, so we have to wait a little while to see him in action. Once we do, however, it's very satisfying.

The second part of the manhwa, known as The Breaker: New Waves, has a lot more action and glory for our protagonist. I highly recommended reading it once you've finished the first part.

4. Veritas

Author: Yoon Joon-Sik

Illustrator: Kim Dong-Hoon

Genre: Action, sci-fi, martial arts, comedy

First Published: 2005

Premise

This manhwa tells the story of Ma Gangryong, a middle schooler who loves to fight and is considered the strongest student in his school. His ideas of strength change when he meets a mysterious man called Lightning Tiger. After witnessing the man display an unbelievable kind of power, he begs to be taught. A year passes, and Lightning Tiger finally gives in and takes Gangryong on as his student. Now Gangryong is now part of a world he has never seen before that will change his life forever.

Why You Should Read It

Gangryong is a fine protagonist. He's reckless and loves to fight, but his victories are such a satisfying thing to read. He's the lowest of the low, but he always manages to find clever ways to win against enemies whose strength surpasses his own.

The sources of power in the manhwa include martial arts and certain elemental properties like void, lightning, and fire. There's no clear explanation as to how the martial arts work aside from the idea of ch'i as "fuel." However, the concept of our protagonist's martial art—the EOTL (Enlightenment Of Thunder and Lightning)—is rather interesting. In this comic, It doesn't matter if a character has a lot of ch'i—what is important is how pure it is. The manhwa explains this concept in far more detail, but I just wanted to point that out that it's completely different from other Shonen titles in which the protagonists have massive amounts of power from unlimited sources.

I'd have to say that this is one of my favorites on this list. I love all the displays of power and the exciting action sequences. The mix of sci-fi and martial arts is just so perfect in this manhwa. It's definitely a must-read.

5. The Gamer

Author: Sung Sang-Yong

Illustrator: Sang-Ah

Genre: Sci-fi, fantasy, adventure, action, comedy

First Published: 2013

Premise

The Gamer tells the story of Han Jee-Han, who wakes up one day to discover that he has the powers of an RPG player. Suddenly, he can see other people's levels floating above their heads as well as a visual readout of his own stats. He also gains the power to develop abilities like a video game character. We follow our protagonist as he gets sucked into a whole new world he never knew existed. This world is known as "The Abyss," and is occupied by other people with special abilities like his.

Why You Should Read It

Are you a big fan of RPG games? Do you like EXP grinding, going on raids with your party members, and acquiring ultra-rare items? If so, you should totally check out this webcomic.

This manhwa is such a joy to read. I love that as a video gamer, I understand everything the protagonist talks about. Within the story, Han must decide which stats to invest in, what kinds of abilities to level up, and what equipment to wear or sell. This comic looks at what it would be like to have these types of powers and options in a modern, real-world setting. This webtoon may not appeal to those who are not into gaming, as they may find some of the themes and terminology to be too technical. If you're an RPG fan, on the other hand, you'll love this series. Minor spoiler: our protagonist is a mage!

6. Tower of God

Author: SIU (Lee Jong-Hwi)

Illustrator: SIU (Lee Jong-Hwi)

Genre: Action, fantasy, adventure, drama

First Published: 2010

Premise

Tower of God's title refers to the world and setting of the comic. The inhabitants simply refer to it as the Tower. The Tower has 135 floors, each of which is about the same size as North America. The Tower is divided into three parts: the Inner Tower, the Outer Tower, and the Middle Area. The people living inside have no knowledge of the world outside the Tower.

The primary protagonist in the story is Baam, a mysterious boy who grew up in an unknown part of the tower. When his only friend leaves him to pursue her dream of climbing the tower, Baam decides to follow and unknowingly begins a journey of his own.

Why You Should Read It

Out of all of the manhwa on this list, TOG has the best story in my opinion. There are a lot of secondary characters, and all of them are quite interesting. The villains are not black and white. You can even sympathize with some of them. There are plenty of battles of wit and power, but you won't get much out of our protagonist since he's still in the process of discovering himself and learning new things.

TOG includes its own unique source of power akin to Naruto's Chakra and Hunter X Hunter's Nen. This power is called Shinshoo and is used in a number of ways throughout the story, each of which is explained in detail in the manhwa. I found the quality of the illustrations to be inconsistent at best, but the phenomenal story more than makes up for it. TOG is separated into two parts, simply called Season 1 and Season 2. The second part is set five years after the events of season 1.

7. Trace

Author: Nasty Cat (Go Yeong-Hun)

Illustrator: Nasty Cat (Go Yeong-Hun)

Genre: Drama, sci-fi, action, supernatural, tragedy, mystery

First Published: 2007

Premise

This story is set in South Korea, where creatures of unknown origin called "Troubles" appear out of nowhere and cause widespread destruction and death. At the same time, a number of individuals begin to develop strange powers and abilities. These people are called "Traces." Only this unique group of individuals is capable of stopping the strange creatures. Due to their similarities with the Troubles, however, the Traces are shunned and feared by society. We follow the perspectives of two Traces, Sa Ghang Gwon and Kim Yoon Seong, as they each try to accomplish their respective goals of protecting their loved ones and destroying those who threaten them.

Why You Should Read It

The first thing you'll notice about this webtoon is the art. It's not that good compared to many other webtoons out there, but the story, which is full of tragic moments and events, makes up for this shortcoming. You'll feel connected to the characters as you learn about their tragic pasts and see the ways they cope and attempt to protect what they have left. The earlier chapters of the story are very mysterious, but it all comes full circle at the end in a way that will leave you quite satisfied. This series reminds me of X-men in that its society discriminates against and hunts down the Traces.

This series has so many tidbits that I really love. There are few bonus chapters, one of which includes a blooper reel. It shows the characters forgetting their lines and includes a number of interviews about what it's like to portray the characters in the story. It's really funny stuff and adequately makes up for the lack of comedy in the bulk of the series.

Comments

ikky on March 20, 2020:

you should add solo leveling

Prititit on January 18, 2020:

You can add Lookism

Scythe Kruez on December 27, 2019:

I have read all of the except Veritas. But I have loved Noblesse the most. I can recommend you try to read The Second Life Ranker it’s awesome!

Dead on December 26, 2019:

The beginning of the end ,solo leveling

Qn. Alyh on December 18, 2019:

Add Solo leveling. It's very good manhua

Guest on December 10, 2019:

Add Solo Leveling and Kubera :)

PIECRUST on July 06, 2019:

Solo Leveling

raesvng on March 30, 2019:

lost in translation

kingskarma on October 25, 2018:

where is red storm

yes on August 14, 2018:

There is a ongoing project called the superstring project it is like avengers as many characters from different webtoons come together to save the world.

blah on April 30, 2018:

I love yoo

super secret

unordinary

siren's lament

eggnoid

LSM0808 on January 12, 2018:

It's my opinion, but I really love this webtoon in discovery section it's called Dummy's Dummy. It's great.

Anie on October 10, 2017:

I'd like to suggest Black Haze. You're really going to laugh, cry, upset and smile at the same time. Fave manhwa ever

Yoong on June 03, 2017:

love the list but y no Kubera, Annarasumanara, God of Bath and other author Il Kwon Ha manhwas

guest on July 13, 2016:

erm... no cheese in the trap?