Originally launched as a platform exclusively for hosting Korean manhwa in 2004, Naver Webtoon, LINE Webtoon, or (more frequently) just Webtoon has become a monolith in webcomic circles for good reason since its expansion into Western comics hosting and translation in the mid-2010s.
Providing an intuitive, accessible, and highly functional digital-first desktop and mobile platform for both international and local readers and creators—including a female readership and creatorship in excess of 60%—Webtoon has ushered in an indisputable but often critically overlooked revolution in comics publishing with its dramatic take on comic democratization, narrative and visual formats, and finely tuned publishing practices. It’s also irrefutably (at times impenetrably) dense, hosting a wide array of romance, action, supernatural, sports, and horror comics updated weekly.
Yes, Webtoon’s annual readership in excess of 100 billion is deserved, but also daunting. Where does one start with the 500+ weekly comics, most (if not all) of which are worthy of your time? With our list of the best of both ongoing and completed offerings on the platform below, of course!
10. Sweet Home
Recently adapted into a live action Netflix original series, writer Kim Carnby and illustrator Hwang Young-Chan’s horror series Sweet Home is masterclass in narrative escalation, and one that best exemplifies the tightly executed pacing and payoff that Webtoon’s vertical-only reading format can facilitate.
Following the death of his family in a tragic car accident, depressed high school student Cha Hyun-Soo moves into an apartment complex called Green Home only to find that the room, and the entire complex, is seemingly haunted or under assault by grotesque humanoid monsters that whisper things to him and pass by his peephole like taunting terrors. Bad luck! Even worse luck when Hyun-Soo and his neighbors come to realize that the world outside their apartment is actually falling prey to a “monsterization” apocalypse.
Seeing their neighbors, friends, and family turned into grossly mutated and monstrous representations of their deepest, darkest desires, Cha and a ragtag but resilient group of survivors must quickly come to terms with the idea of fighting for their survival and care for each other during the darkest days of their lives.
A found family story of a exceptionally cruel kind, Sweet Home’s gradual narrative ramping-up with shocking visual reveals and deeply effective jump scares is among the best of Webtoon’s non-romance offerings, and fans of the completed series can follow up with Bastard and Shotgun Boy from the same team.
A sweeping world-building saga full of sociopolitical and interpersonal drama, writer Ephemerys and artist Sophism’s Purple Hyacinth is a mystery-drama with a taste for high narrative stakes thoughtfully informed by romance and humor.
Lauren Sinclair, a police officer with the unique ability to detect lies, is on a quest to avenge the deaths of her childhood friend and parents at the hands of mysterious organization Phantom Scythe when she is paradoxically joined by Phantom Scythe assassin Kieran White, “The Purple Hyacinth,” who shares her goal of finding and killing Scythe’s leader.
Together, and assisted by a charming, at times heartbreakingly relatable group of police officers, they challenge the norms of the gothic pageant city of Ardhalis to unveil its secrets both political and criminal in an expansive story about murder, love, aristocracy, and a slight touch of magic, kept buoyant by playful flirting and hilarious back-and-forth.
Purple Hyacinth is a Webtoon fan favorite with good reason, and its evocative use of the platform’s soundtrack feature, pairing each entry with appropriately haunting and ambient score, is especially notable for readers interested in how flexible Webtoon can be compared to print.
A beautifully sweet, quirky pastel and watercolor-inspired take on romantic norms, writer and artist refrainbow’s Boyfriends. is among the best of Webtoon’s many queer stories specifically because it focuses on interpersonal beats and drama with genuine enthusiasm and optimism.
Boyfriends follows Goth, Nerd, Prep, and Jock as they navigate the intersections of their surprisingly grounded polyamorous relationship with school, homes, jealousy, and understanding without the props of murder or mystery that most other entries in the genre rely on to stay compelling.
A touching, thoughtful and relatable story about defying norms, staying true to yourself, and recognizing the good in others, Boyfriends is a frequently relaxing, charming read that also pushes against boundaries in intelligent, narratively refreshing ways — trips to the arcade, to the boardwalk, and for drinks after stressful exams abound!
7. The Boxer
A dynamic and darkly tinged sports thriller, writer and artist Jeong Ji-hun’s (JH) The Boxer is strikingly different from most other sports offerings on Webtoon, and from the majority of entries on this list and more than deserving of a spot all its own.
Following the at times inhuman protagonist Yu’s journey to become an accomplished and acclaimed boxer, The Boxer is a dark, violent, effectively sparse story that, if you’ll excuse the expression, pulls no punches in its emotionally and physically revealing, cathartic exploration of schoolboy cruelty and machismo across a sprawling narrative of training and fighting montages.
It also utilizes Webtoon’s negative space-heavy visual format to create demanding, intense and well-paced fight scenes that defy the norms of most comics or manga with reckless abandon. Ducking, diving, bobbing and weaving through scenes and accentuating punches and pains with flair, The Boxer is a frequently strange, difficult read, but also a worthwhile one.
One of the weirder entries here but also one of the most fan acclaimed, writer Jeho Son and artist ZHENA’s Eleceed is a supernatural crime-action drama with a witty and humorous edge that elevates its at times tropey influences.
An upending of the typical buddy cop format, Eleceed follows a kind, at times reckless, and supernaturally empowered schoolboy, Jiwoo Seo, and his partner and mentor Kayden Break, a supernatural secret agent on the run who is stuck in the body of a delightfully fluffy orange and white cat. Together they try to expose and mend a secret war between humankind and the Awakeners, a secretive vindictive race of empowered former humans.
Yes, it’s the typical unassuming “boy becomes a superpowered hero with a special insight” story, but it also weaves together the best elements of mystery and detective stories, slapstick humor, and a touch of coming of age drama to become something a little more.
Recommended for readers familiar with the likes of My Hero Academia or Promare looking for a wide, considered new world to dive into.
5. Suitor Armor
A conventional romance story with a delightfully unconventional cast, writer and artist Purpah’s Suitor Armor is categorically one of the best fantasy narratives to be found on Webtoon today.
Lady-in-waiting Lucia is burdened by the expectations and pageantry of royal life before falling in love with Modeus, a knight of the king’s guard, who is soon revealed to be an animated suit of armor without a soul of his own. What other secrets do the kingdom and Lucia and Modeus themselves have? Find out in an expansive, quirky story about expectations, identity, and understanding informed by the complexities of family, politics, and racism.
Suitor Armor is in its infancy compared to other Webtoon mainstays with just forty or so entries at time of writing, but it has made a case for its inclusion with a quick wit, a compelling drama, and a touch of mystery that imply a much deeper, more nuanced story to come.
A masterclass in worldbuilding, writer and artist Dan Schkade’s Lavender Jack is a conventional crime drama that deftly defies storytelling norms to deliver more intent and nuance than will be found in most comics today.
At the dawn of the twentieth century, the City of Gallery, a lightly Victorian steampunk expanse that hosts an equal share of aristocratic beauty and Gotham-like darkness, is home to mysterious, violent, and dare I say stylish vigilante Lavender Jack, along with the detectives seeking to uncover his identity and the rich secret society he’s at war with.
Equal parts Batman, Dishonored, and Sherlock Holmes, Lavender Jack is elevated by the compelling depth of its mystery and stakes, and by thoughtful character motivations and representation in both protagonist and villain as much as it is by Schkade’s knack for kinetic and cathartic fight scenes.
Weird, violent, and impressive in scope, The God of High School was recently adapted into a Crunchyroll anime series by acclaimed animation studio MAPPA, but little compares to the execution and energy of the Webtoon itself.
Written and drawn by Yongje Park, The God of High School follows Mori Jin, a seventeen-year-old schoolboy and martial artist who joins a martial arts tournament that is much more than it seems, offering any wish granted, no questions asked, to the winner.
What is initially a self-contained, tropey tournament arc explodes into a nonstandard clash between gods, heroes, kaiju, and high schoolers with increasingly dramatic and enthusiastic narrative and visual twists and turns that charge headfirst into a high stakes, unexpected depiction of religion, martial arts, sport, and human ingenuity.
The God of High School is one of the more demanding Webtoon offerings, with more than 500 entries, but also one of the very best for fans familiar with its inspirations like Dragon Ball and looking for something new to commit to. How can you deny a story that features both Michael the Archangel and Hercules?
Named after the Korean approximation for “Abracadabra,” writer and artist Ilkwon Ha’s Annarasumanara has been completed since 2014 but nevertheless stands the test of time as one of Webtoon’s very best.
An equally dark and touching existential exploration of desire and devastation, the story follows Yun Ai as she attempts to follow her dream to become a magician after a chance encounter at a carnival, but is burdened by the realities of encroaching adult life and responsibilities. Ai’s eventual journey is hyper-metaphorical and best left to interpretation, but one that also speaks to the innate human desire to persist despite every setback.
Ha’s narrative and mixed media visual style—sharp blacks and whites contrasting with real world photography and collage—are avant-garde and dense but also considered and rich, a marriage of Lynchian symbolism with FLCL-esque flair and abandon.
Impossible to fully grasp and yet endearing and empowering, Annarasumanara demands your attention and thought, but also rewards it in a way that is near unparalleled today.
1. Lore Olympus
Perhaps the best known Webtoon, and one of the few to approach mainstream comics-level success and recognition, Lore Olympus (by the platform’s undeniably best writer and artist Rachel Smythe) is a magnum opus of emotional catharsis, worldbuilding, and character drama.
A spin on the traditional legend of Persephone being taken by Hades, Lore Olympus both reveres and upsets the storied Greek pantheon in equal measure with its modern setting, playful interpersonal spins, and nuanced explorations of sexual trauma, abuse, and harassment. It’s both laugh-out-loud funny and quietly, heartbreakingly raw—oftentimes in tandem.
Visually striking, reflexively colorful bright pinks and muted dour blues, with deft comedic and dramatic timing, memorable character design, scene-setting flair and a compelling overlap of the traditional and modern, Smythe’s take on the world is inviting and yet almost theatrically dramatic, highlighting the tensions of interpersonal drama and romance with equal artistic regard.
Most importantly, Persephone and Hades’ place in it feels essential, an anchor to all of the story’s loftier ideas and nods, while it still lets them grow, experiencing love, heartbreak, and even hate and misunderstanding in natural, deserved arcs.
Never wasteful or braggadocian, Lore Olympus is a smartly constructed, expansive, and emotionally evocative modern masterpiece, and the very best place to start or continue on for Webtoon readers new and old.