Yang brings popular online series to book formOne of the first things mentioned in a press release for Yang Yeong-sun’s latest comic book “Cheonil Yahwa,” or “Arabian Nights,” was that the online version of the story attracted an average of 300,000 visitors a day and up to 100,000 responses by readers when it was first released on the Internet last year.
Mr. Yang is a well-known comic artist who outraged readers by publishing “Nudeul Nude” in 1998, an adult comic book filled with erotic wit that was dubbed “lighthearted porn.”
He later published other comics that also challenged the sexual consciousness of many Koreans. Yet he decided to rewrite “Arabian Nights” for his first feature comic series, which comes in a six-book series.
“Everyone said it was perfect for me when I said I was going to work on ‘Arabian Nights,’” says Mr. Yang, 35. “I did get offers from a few publishers to work on the story when there was a cultural fad for Greco-Roman myths in Korea. But it felt too limiting. Then I decided to work on my own version of ‘Arabian Nights.’”
The narrative is the same as the online comic series, but the structure has changed and the tale will now be told as “a story within a story.”
“I was surprised when I read the complete version of the book,” Mr. Yang said. “The erotic part was almost an accessory. This was a story of love, a most ardent and sad story. I had never used my characters to deliver emotion, because my work was mostly short episodes. So I decided to set Scheherazade as a young unwed woman with maternal charms.”
The idea of an online comic wasn’t easy either, because the storyboards had to be done from top to bottom instead of left to right.
The immediate response from readers made it well worthwhile, he said.
“My pleasure was overwhelming when readers reacted the way I planned it,” he says. “I almost got addicted to their reactions. The most important thing I found out was that it had to be interesting.”
Yet when it comes to nudity, his new work takes a step back from previous.
“When you talk of a popular work of art, you often think of sensational subjects that use violence and sex, but you don’t really need details of all that to trigger attention. It’s the interesting story that catches people.”
His new series is all about images and the story and uses much richer texture and colors than earlier works. The narratives have also been condensed.
“I am more interested in the dramatic elements than the sexual codes these days,” he says. “I tend to develop a story from an image, but I am more interested in an epic fantasy than an instant desire.”
by Jeong Hyung-mo