Consider this a public service announcement—some of the most unique and exciting stories featuring your favorite DC characters over the past couple of years can’t be found at your local comic store…at least, not until now. Since 2021, DC has been partnering with the webcomic platform WEBTOON to bring millions of readers new DC adventures full of comedy, family, mystery, horror, growing up and fighting villains which don’t quite feel like anything else in Western comic publishing.
That’s for good reason. The WEBTOON platform has been presenting comics to readers in the South Korean “manhwa” tradition since 2004. One of the biggest things that sets Korean webcomics apart from their Western webcomics is the presentational format, which is built for reading on mobile phones. Rather than your typical page layout, WEBTOON comics are frequently oriented to be read vertically, panel for panel, as you scroll down the story. This allows illustrators to take advantage of a format where the entire story is presented in a single column, as you’ll experience reading comics like Vixen: NYC and Zatanna & the Ripper if you read them on the WEBTOON platform.
Panels from Batman: Wayne Family Adventures as displayed on WEBTOON
Another major difference between WEBTOON and other DC comics is the audience, which allows for a variety of genre. WEBTOON readers don’t just show up for superhero action, but for romance, comedy and relatable slice-of-life stories where character building is more important than taking down the monster of the month. (Although, if you read Red Hood: Outlaws, there’s still plenty of that.) Through WEBTOON, DC has the flexibility to present stories unlike those you’d see in typical Western comic markets, shedding new light on characters rarely given the opportunity to be explored in this way.
The same panels from Batman: Wayne Family Adventures as displayed in the new graphic novel
This second unique perspective is a huge part of why these comics have generated tons of buzz. But if you’re a reader who has grown up on Western comics, like the kind we publish each and every month, and aren’t all that familiar or comfortable with the WEBTOON reading platform, we’ve now made it easier than ever to dive into some of these acclaimed series. All four DC/WEBTOON collaborations will be released as print graphic novels over the months ahead, with the first two titles dropping this very week. Whether you decide to check out these new collections or explore the comics on WEBTOON itself, here’s what you can look forward to…
How to Read WEBTOON Comics
WEBTOON is easy to access in any web browser by simply navigating to webtoons.com and putting the name of the comic you’d like to read into the search bar. For the best experience, though, we’d recommend downloading the free WEBTOON app onto your phone or tablet for vertical reading. WEBTOON puts out free chapters of ongoing DC series every week, with a freely accessible archive. Only the latest chapters of each series must be exchanged for digital coins you can purchase through the app. A few weeks after initial release, new chapters are opened to the free archive.
Currently, WEBTOON features four different DC series—two that are now complete and two which are now ongoing. We’d like to introduce you to them all.
Batman: Wayne Family Adventures
What if we told you that there was a Batman comic which regularly featured all of your favorite sidekicks and supporting characters working together? What if we told you it was not just far and away the most popular Batman comic currently being published, but that it also had new issues every week, and it was completely free to read? If you'd say that, yeah, duh, you already knew that, then you're one of the 92.9 million readers of Batman: Wayne Family Adventures.
In Wayne Family Adventures, writer CRC Payne and artist Starbite present over 100 chapters of Bruce Wayne and his chosen family bonding with each other in their downtime between missions (and occasionally goofing off on the job). If you’ve ever wondered what the Bat-Family is like after a hard night’s work, this is the book to read. Fans of Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, Tim Drake, Damian Wayne, Duke Thomas, Cassandra Cain, Stephanie Brown, Barbara Gordon (Oracle fans especially) and Alfred Pennyworth should not be missing out on this one, and I’m pretty sure I just described all of you.
Technically speaking, at sixty chapters, Vixen: NYC is not only the biggest Vixen story ever told, but also the longest-running series in DC history starring a Black woman. (Well, maybe the original Suicide Squad series beats it if you count Amanda Waller as the lead, but that’s really more of a team book.)
Vixen: NYC by Jasmine Walls and Manou Azumi is a remix of sorts, featuring a younger Mari Jiwe McCabe starting her freshman year of college in New York City as she figures out her family legacy and her new superpowers. Supported by a cast that includes her roommate Bumblebee, her fighting instructor Grace Choi, her mentor’s girlfriend Thunder, and Teen Titans Raven and Beast Boy, Vixen: NYC tackles traditional West African mythology within a superhero context as Mari learns what it means to bear the Tantu Totem.
Zatanna & the Ripper
Prefer your comics with a little bit of mystery, romance, Victorian aesthetics, occult undertones and saucy subtext? Well, the good news is there’s plenty of stuff exactly like that on WEBTOON. But it specifically comes in the Key of DC in Zatanna & the Ripper.
On Zatanna’s 21st birthday, an old nemesis takes the young magician’s father captive. Before she can do anything about it, however, she finds herself stranded through magic gone awry in 19th century Whitechapel, London—right dab in the middle of Jack the Ripper’s reign of terror. With the assistance of her problematic ex, John Constantine, Zatanna learns she most solve the coldest of all serial murder cases before she can hope to return to her time and rescue her father. We promise that you will absolutely never guess the culprit if you had 100 years to solve it yourself—and solve it, they do. What Zatanna also solves along the way is a new perspective on the hardships of life as a sex worker, exactly what’s going on between her and Johnny, and the riddle of her own identity as an independent woman outside of her father’s long shadow.
Red Hood: Outlaws
What can we say about Red Hood: Outlaws? If you loved the 2016 Red Hood and the Outlaws series featuring Jason Todd, Artemis Grace and Bizarro as the DC Universe’s “Dark Trinity,” this is literally more of that. Except this time, everyone looks extremely hot, all the time. Even Bizarro. In fact, especially Bizarro.
In this ongoing volume by Patrick R. Young and Nico Bascuñán, the Regular Trinity (Light Trinity?) of Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman call their subversive counterparts’ collective bluff: they’re going to be busy for a while, so if Red Hood and company are so sure they can do the job better, why don’t they give it a try? Red Hood: Outlaws is where Jason and Artemis put their money where their mouth is, finding out one misadventure at a time that saving the world—while babysitting Bizarro—isn’t quite so easy as the Justice League makes it look.
Hundreds of chapters of these series and more are available right now on WEBTOON and will soon be available in print at a comic shop near you. In other words, there’s never been a better time to ‘TOON in to four of DC’s best recent comics.
Batman: Wayne Family Adventures Vol. 1 by CRC Payne and Starbite and Vixen: NYC Vol. 1 by Jasmine Walls and Manou Azumi are now available in print as graphic novel collections. Look for print collections for Zatanna & the Ripper and Red Hood: Outlaws in the months ahead!