Webtoon is an online comic company that uses the Korean style of online comics and has become an increasingly popular platform for graphic stories. I mentioned Webtoon mostly recently in my summary of James Davis Nicoll’s Hugo Packet where he reviewed this series https://www.webtoons.com/en/fantasy/aerial-magic/list?title_no=1358
Where there are stories gathered together there are story competitions and Webtoon is no different. They recently held their Short Story competition with the winners announced here https://www.webtoons.com/en/notice/detail?noticeNo=1250. It’s a juried award with cash prizes that splits winners and runners up into two categories: “Brain” for stories that blow your mind and “Heart” for stories that warm your heart (Rules and FAQs).
“Why are you telling us all this Camestros?” I hear you say. Why because these are interesting graphic stories told in a vertically scrolling format and I think you might like some of them. I don’t need hidden agendas to do that do I? I don’t need ulterior motives just to point out fun or interesting genre-related stories?
Remember Comicsgate aka The Crappiest Gate and how Vox “I have never been a neo-Nazi” Day’s Castalia House had its own comics imprint Arkhaven and how they were going to have a movie etc etc? Recently, Arkhaven started putting a limited number of their comics on Webtoons. Arkhaven submitted one of their series “Midnight’s War” to the webtoons Short Story Competition. It’s a story about a vigilante superhero in a dystopian future were vampires rule the world (you can work out the subtext given it is coming from a company that’s published overtly Qanon themed comics).
Well surprise, surprise, it didn’t win. Fair’s fair, the artwork is more slick than the rest of Arkhaven’s offerings but it has dull dialogue and is not an obvious fit with the general style of Webtoons. It’s also not really a short story as such (more an opening chapter) and also it’s violent and the rules expressly stated that entries should not be “excessively violent”…and so on.
Anyway, no surprise it didn’t get anywhere.
Day though isn’t happy:
“And it wasn’t just unawarded. Midnight’s War somehow didn’t even qualify as one of the 36 runners-up despite being one of the top 10 ranked in Popularity and earning a higher rating than two out of the three Silver winners.http://voxday.blogspot.com/2020/08/denied-by-judges.html [warning]
This tells me that Arkhaven needs to seriously rethink our plan to use Webtoons as a platform. While some of the winning stories were pretty good, precisely none of the art in any of the winners or runners-up was even close to that of Midnight’s War. It’s now clear that it’s just not the sort of thing that they are ever going to promote to their readership.”
It’s bad week for the right in literary awards but it’s actually worse than it looks.
Arkhaven already has it’s own website and Day has boasted about the money made from crowd funding and Amazon sales etc…so why the mini-tantrum about not winning an award on website were Arkhaven is giving away their material?
It is the law of diminishing returns or rather the law of a very saturated and limited audience. Each of Day’s multiple schemes over the years have been tapping the same cloud of people for money each time. To be fair to Day and his publishing schemes, he has actually produced products (books, comics etc) that have actual words and pictures. It’s not a con as such but Arkhaven is facing the same problem Castalia House had, the products never break out beyond this limited audience. Worse, back in 2014 the potential audience (disaffected right-leaning online people who like SFF) was broader and less factional. Day’s own antics have pissed off multiple people over time e.g. Back in 2013/14 Mad Genius or Larry Correia would still make excuses for Day, in 2015 they distanced themselves to create deniability over Rabid Puppies, by 2016 they started pretending he doesn’t exist. Similar disputes with people further to the right (e.g. Gab or other putative leaders of the Alt-right) have divided the potential audience for his product further. Feuding with Ethan Van Scriver over who owns “Comicsgate” in a bald-men-figthing-over-a-broken-comb dispute, divided that audience further and so on.
Webtoons was a recruitment drive and it didn’t work.