By Kim Eun-jung
SEOUL, Aug. 28 (Yonhap) -- Kang Full's hit webtoons have offered abundant sources for several films and dramas, but writing the script for Disney+ drama series "Moving" based on his superhero webtoon marked a turning point for the pioneer of the Korean webtoon industry.
"Moving," Kang's eponymous webtoon that has garnered over 200 million views since its release in 2015, tells the story of a group of superpowered individuals who hide their true abilities from the world in order to protect their families from danger.
In a group media interview on Monday, Kang said turning his webtoon into a big-budget live action series allowed him to dig deeper into the narratives of the characters with new additions and combine multiple genres, such as high-teen romance, melodrama, action and thriller.
"When I was working on the webtoon series, there were times that I couldn't do more due to the deadline. As drama series allow a long-form story, I could add new characters to expand the scope of the story," Kang said.
Kang said "Moving" tells an epic story that spans two generations of people against the backdrop of modern Korean history to depict a "Korean version of superheros."
"I like stories of ordinary people and wanted to tell a superhero story set against the backdrop of modern Korean history. I featured the former spy agents to follow who are mired in history regardless of their will," he said.
Premiered on Aug. 9, the 20-episode series was the most-watched Korean original series on Disney+ across the Asia-Pacific region in the first week of its release.
The first seven episodes revolve around three high school students with unusual physical capabilities, played by Lee Jung-ha, Go Yoon-jung and Kim Do-hoon. The next four episodes are about their superpowered parents who formerly worked as secret agents in the 1980s, featuring Han Hyo-joo, Zo In-sung and Ryu Seung-ryong.
Although the series is longer than most other works on streaming platforms, Kang said the rich narratives of distinct characters will make viewers feel like they are watching movies on different themes when two episodes are released each week.
"No matter how much you try to scale up the meaning through in-depth narratives, people don't watch if it's not entertaining. It should be enjoyable no matter what," Kang said.
Unlike past adaptation projects, Kang said he felt greater responsibility for his first screenplay and personally contacted actors who starred in his past webtoon-turned-films and often showed up at the filming scene.
"As there were so many people working together for the drama series, my mindset changed from when I was working on my webtoon," he said. "I know the original work better than anyone else because I've pondered over it for a long time. I am grateful for positive feedback for the screenplay and the production team."
With no formal education in drawing comics, the 48-year-old began posting his comics on his personal website and achieved great success with "Love Story" (2003), making him one of the webtoon artists who opened up a new era of digital comics read vertically on smartphones, tablets and PCs.
Since then, he has experimented with webtoons across superhero, psychological drama and horror genres, which were acclaimed for creative storytelling. Among the film adaptations are "Apartment" (2006), "Ba:Bo," (2008), "I Love You" (2010), "26 Year" (2012) and "The Neighbor" (2012).