Webtoonist interview - Kwang-jin <Itaewon Class>

임하빈 | 2019-08-13 11:42

Webtoonist Interview

vol. 13

[Itaewon Class]

 Kwang-jin | Daum


Itaewon Lounge Bar 'Bastard' is opened, what's the latest news for writer Kwang-jin? What is the famous line of "Itaewon Class" chosen by Kwang-jin? "I'm not a Park Sae-Roy" the dream of Kwang-jin with studio "MAPARAM'-

In a world where conviction and courage are dismissed as obstinacy, it is not easy for me to live my own way. I have to try to go to a good university without having a chance to find my dream, and after graduating from college, I have to wait for the gateway to get a job. After getting a job, everything in the world, including work life, relationships, marriage, and childcare, feels like it's taking care of life. 

Park Sae-Roy says. "Free? I want to live a life where there is no price to pay for my beliefs. The webtoon "Itaewon Class," which is the representative work of Kwang-jin, tells the story of Park Sae-Roy, the protagonist, who founded a pub "Honey Night" in Itaewon to avenge the conglomerate's fatness. This is what Park Sae-Roy, an orphan, a middle school graduate, and an ex-convict, tells anyone who belittles him that he won't "Don't you set my value. My life is just beginning. I'm going to live with everything I want." Itaewon Class, who is considered a "best webtoon in his life" by many as a cool development and numerous famous ambassadors. The latest installment, "Itaewon Class 8th episode," was released, and it is also one of the first dramas produced by the film's distributor Showbox. What kind of person is Kwang-jin, who portrays "Itaewon Class," a webtoon that is still much talked about half a year after it was completed?

The original background of "Itaewon Class" is Hongdae.

Writer Kwang-jin (real name: Cho Kwang-jin) currently runs an unidentified studio called "MAPARAM" and also runs a pub "Honey Night" in Itaewon. Recently, he even opened a lounge bar called "Bastard." At this point, there is no distinction between webtoon writers and businessmen. 

In fact, Kwang-jin is a five-year webtoon writer who has been working continuously since his debut. He is currently working as a writer for Naver's Monday webtoon "Link Boy," and is also said to be preparing other works.

Kwang-jin Writer who studied webtoons solely on his own, except that he studied cramming for a short period of time to go to Chungkang University of Culture and Industry. His debut as a middle school student was never so smooth that he had developed his dream of becoming a cartoonist by watching "Slam Dunk" and "Naruto." Since he started contributing to the webtoon platform when he was a high school student, he has lived as an aspiring webtoon writer for as long as seven to nine years. Kwang-jin is a writer who has always dreamed of becoming a cartoonist while doing all kinds of hard work such as a pub, a rest stop, and a part-time logistics center. In fact, it was not "work" or monetary "life" that made him difficult, but "dream."

"It wasn't that hard. Work isn't hard, but I must work and make money to live. But when I turned 26 years old, I felt a little impatient. In fact, 26 is a very young age. At that time, I felt like my dream was getting further and further away from my work. My dream was to become a cartoonist since I was in middle school, but I didn't achieve anything until I was 26. I guess the impatience with that was hard."

After years of preparation, finally 2013, writer Kwang-jin eventually makes his debut at Lejin Comics with his work "Her Aquarium." He has been working nonstop, including "To Jay" in 2014, "Four minutes" in 2015 and "The Great Lady," and then suddenly starts a series on an amateur bulletin board in 2016. A new challenge for a professional webtoon writer in his third year, naturally, was followed by voices of concern rather than cheering. What was the original work of "Itaewon Class," which moved the Kwang-jin writer's mind?

When we ran the next webtoon league or Naver's challenge cartoon series, we ran a series titled "Honey Night," but it wasn't very popular at the time. I think that's because it wasn't fun, but I guess the platform thought the title was too dull. So they want me to change the title. I suggested a lot of titles. There was a title called Pubpub, and there was a title under the dawn. It was the title of my favorite song under the dawn. There was Lolli-poli, and Lolli-poli actually means "Ottuk". I suggested it because I thought it would suit Park Sae-Roy's image, but it was all rejected. But 'Itaewon Class' was passed right away."

▲ Itaewon Class's original "Honey Night"

(Q, so you've been talking about Itaewon since you wrote 'Honey Night'?) No. I was in Hongdae. The manuscript was finished first and stuck to the series, but I was a little angry with myself at the time. Anyway I'm a professional writer who was highly trained and published. I wanted to make a boy cartoon. I started with an amateur bulletin board because I wanted it. Since I was confident and confident in myself, I started with an amateur bulletin board. When I ran a series on an amateur bulletin board, did I really do my best? 


I thought it wasn't. Efforts are made not just by painting, but by working hard. Didn't you do it in a less thought? I married early, so I was the head of the family. In a way, it could have put my family in danger, and I'm so angry at myself for creating this risk. I don't think I did my best. So, I changed each and every one of them and made a new one. That's how Itaewon Class came out."


Cartoon comes to a reality, what Kwang Jin calls 'Itaewon Class' and 'Honey Night' behind the Start-up.


In 2015, writer Kwang-jin accidentally visits Itaewon street because he had an appointment with a friend. His first visit to Itaewon is also well expressed in Kwang-jin's work "Itaewon Class."


Beautiful buildings that make you think you're on a trip abroad. 

A variety of races. And everyone seems free. 

Itaewon, it's fun to walk. 

That day, on this street, it's like it's compressed the world. 

Park Sae-Roy is in love.


In Itaewon setting, the story of distinct characters from each other, and "Itaewon Class" is especially famous for its heart-stopping famous lines. 'Don't set my value. My life is starting now, and I'm going to live with everything I want.' 'The growth of a solid target is scary.' 'You don't have to convince anyone. "If you are a fan of Itaewon Class, you might be able to draw webtoon scenes in front of your eyes just by remembering the famous lines. Then, what is the famous line of Itaewon Class?

▲ Itaewon Class 'I am Dia' Goods


"There are many lines that I like. If you want to pick one, I like the idea of "I'm Dia". It was better because the response was good. It's been a long time since I wrote a poem. When I was young, I got some awards for writing contests at school. I don't think it was written well, but it was a poem that fits the situation. The response was good. I was very happy because I think that's what trick worked for as a writer. 

My favorite line is, I'm thinking, "Would the world be a little easier if we were to kneel down? But I have a narration called 'Your Son.' For the first time, that's where I thought the lines were good for the director."


How's the drink?

I mean, today was an impressive day.

A bad night... My life... I wanted it to be sweet.

▲ Itaewon Pub “Honey Night” by writer Kwang-jin


[2018. 06. 11. GRAND OPENING] 

On June 8, 2018, when the show was about to be completed, there is a news that is exciting to fans of "Itaewon Class" on Kwang-jin's SNS. Kwang-jin who actually opened "

Honey Night" in Itaewon. Among the many and many start-up items, why did he think about starting a pub? 


"When I was a kid, I thought I wanted to have my own store when I worked at a bar. I've worked a lot, but the only fun thing I've ever done was serving at a pub. I see a lot of people. I see a lot of situations. I think it's been like that since then. I used to work at Konkuk University and Hongdae pub. It was especially fun when I worked at a Hongdae pub. The last pub I worked in was in Hongdae. That's why Itaewon Class's early setting was also Hongdae." 


(Q. Are you thinking of ‘Honey Night's franchise?) "No." 

(Q. Honey Night profit is high or writer’s profit?) "Of course writer's profit" 


The popularity of Itaewon Class, which had a pub called "Honey Night," is different. He still holds the top ranking in the final webtoon rankings after winning the series. In 2017, it was exported to Japan's webtoon platform Pickoma under the title of "Rotbongi Class."Rotbongi Class" is also currently at the top of the list of popular webtoon on its platform. (7th overall ranking based on 02/25 and 1st in drama) 

Kwang-jin did many works, but Itaewon Class must be considered special for him, how he thinks about his works?


"I didn't expect it to be this popular. I'm just grateful that I've been loved too much. In fact, Itaewon Class rose slowly and steadily, not with the number of hits or popularity. Originally, popular webtoon tend to top the list in third or fifth episode, but Itaewon Class rose slowly a week, starting with the mid-range. So a week was fun for me. It was also good to work harder by setting the next goal every week. I make data by looking at this. For a writer, each piece becomes data. What kind of anger did he react to, it is a study for me. It's not like what it feels like."


(Q. If you evaluate your work, how many points would you like to give ?) "Anyway, i accomplished. I think it's okay to give me 70 out of 100.


When asked to evaluate his work, he received a rather sober score. In fact, the writer Kwang-jin is very cold to himself, too. I've never had a break since my debut. There are so many comic episodes that I want to do, that I am still preparing another work even now as a writer of Naver's Monday webtoon 'Linkboy'. 


Kwang-jin's new webtoon, "Link Boy."


"I think there is right timing if you're a writer. I think there are times when I'm in my prime. Sometimes I get older and can't keep up with my emotions. There will be comics that can be used at this time, and there will be comics that can be written at an older age.  I told you I'm being a little pushy. I'm always kind of stuck with the idea that I won't be able to live long. I don't have a regular life, and I think it's because I can't sleep and overwork myself every time I do a piece." 


(Q. That's what I felt when I saw the writer constantly working. The process of making debut is too hectic.I wanted to do the work that I wanted to do.")That's right, that's definitely there. It's a happy day for me I've been craving and dreaming about this cartoonist job, and I'm getting good grades. So, I'm very happy and precious for it."


In July 2018, Kwang-jin, who met the completion of "Itaewon Class," will make his Naver Webtoon debut with the work "Link Boy" with author Lee Doo-yup in the same month. Since it's his first return in 19 days, considering the preparation period for his work, he is practically working without a break. 


This is not the first collaboration with author Lee Doo-yeop. The two writers, who worked together at Lejin Comics in 2015, met again with the work "Link Boy." What kind of work is Linkboy, and what is the relationship between Kwang-jin and Lee Doo-yeop?  


"I'm a alumnus of Chungkang College of Culture and Industry. We went to a semester together. I've been a good friend since then, but when I was in Lejin, I worked with him. we used to talk about Link boy since that time. Conte also came out at the time. 

Linkboy, I was actually surprised. It was different from what I used to say when I was a webtoon lecturer. For example, I emphasized the importance of blue ocean as a rare webtoon for a house in Itaewon. So, I didn't think it would be a serial. 

As for planning, I thought the taking zone away-system in Seoul, which is broken like apocalypse, is so attractive, so it's been a story since high school. And when I draw cartoons, the main characters want freedom. The keyword of freedom is so attractive. I'm free to pursue after all. A situation where you can do what you want to do."


(Q. What do you do if you get stuck while you're working on it?) "There are times when you're looking for other materials and doing whatever you want to do. But there's a set ceiling. A comic strip in a series should extract this much fun. After all, I think the most important thing in a series is to keep the deadline, so when you're stuck, you go ahead with it. 

When I get into a slump, I do it anyway. My life is divided into two, I think before and after my debut at Lejin comics. The idea that I've always had before was, "You have to do it until you become one." 

And after that, you've tasted the accomplishment. So I was a little confident in my belief, and I thought, 'You can do it until it's done, but if you monitor and fill in the gaps yourself, it's faster.'" 


Workahollic, studio, "MAPARAM" and Kwang-jin's Dream.


Kwang-jin is addicted to the work, so called workahollic. While working nonstop as a webtoon writer, he runs a pub "Honey Night" and recently opened a lounge bar "Bastard" under the name of his studio "MAPARAM." What's surprising is that is already mentioned webtoon instructors, studio operations and pub lounge bar opening all made their way through a series of webtoons. Is this writer sleeping?


"I'm a little workaholic. As I said earlier, I don't think I'll live long, so I want to do whatever I want to do now. And I think all of life's experiences are good for your work. Many of my friends graduated from the department of cartoon and made their debut by continuing to work related to the cartoon, but I quit after attending the department of comics in the first semester. Since then, I've been doing other things than cartoon work, and I think it's been a different help and a different study for me. I think it's my other competitive ability."

▲ 'MAPARAM' studio run by writer Kwang-jin


Q. What does 'MAPARAM' studio do?) "It's a club meeting where we do business with our friends and friends who used to work together when we were young and help each other in planning. We're not a profitable model yet." 

(Q. Is this webtoon related studio?) "In fact, I have a lot of dreams about this. I told you there are many things I want to do, right? I want to try a webtoon agency. There are a lot of people who are good at cartoons, but there are a lot of people who can't draw comics because of their financial problems. So, I want to create an agency that provides support to focus on comics and also plans for them. We're not here to support others, but we're having a hard time right now, but if we do, we'd like to do something like that. And I want to do publishing, work on scenarios, and make a movie. I want to make my final dream an entertainment class."

At the center of Itaewon Class popularity was Park Sae-roy, who held his convictions steady for his dream of "freedom. writer Kwang-jin who is making his dream come true step by step. When asked about Park Sae-roy, the main character of "Itaewon Class," the writer answers that he is different from himself and just idealistic. Judgment is up to you to read this article.

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