Today's post is an example of the many different directions our stories can take, and how they continue to evolve and reverberate in the world beyond us. American Road Trip, a 2018 YA novel by author Patrick Flores-Scott, was recently transformed into a Webtoon. What's a Webtoon? Webtoon Producer, Quincy Cho, is here to tell us about the company, their projects, and vision. We'll hear from Patrick about his experience too. Read on!
Please give us a brief overview of Webtoon.
Webtoon is a platform, and a home, for creator-owned web comics.
What is your job title and what does a typical work day look like?
As a producer, a typical work day involves pitching stories, outlining and writing scripts, getting notes for rewrites, and giving feedback on the artwork.
How does Webtoon find and decide which YA novels to adapt to comics?
In addition to American Road Trip, we've also adapted The Fever King and The Weight of Our Sky. We first look at story and characters because you need both for an exciting read. Then we look at the message and representation. American Road Trip is about a LatinX-American family doing their best to help a loved one struggling with PTSD and mental health. Similarly, The Weight of Our Sky addresses OCD and the Malaysian race riots in 1969. These adaptations are an opportunity to bring more visibility to underrepresented stories as well as starting dialogue around serious topics that often get swept under the rug.
Who writes and illustrates the comics, and is the original author involved in the process?
For American Road Trip, I had the great pleasure of adapting it to fit the Webtoon format. Patrick has written these incredibly relatable characters that are fresh and unique and in relationships that we don't often see (shout out to Caleb and T's bromance!). Moreover, he explores mental health, PTSD, and the consequences it has on a family in a very real way, so it was very important to me to capture the nuance and tone of the story, especially after he gave me his blessing to adapt the story to how I see fit.
I feel very fortunate to have come across Little Corvus' artwork as they are a wonderfully talented LatinX artist based in Seattle. Because of their shared background with the characters, they not only breathed life into Patrick's work in a remarkably unique way, they brought authenticity and a level of detail to the characters and the world that I'm sure native Seattlians and LatinX readers will appreciate.
What else would you like us to know about Webtoon, the audience/reach, creators?
Please tune in every Sunday for a new episode of American Road Trip! And if the wait is too much for you, I’d suggest reading the book. I hear it’s a great read~
Tell us about your experience with your novel American Road Trip becoming a Webtoon.
Quincy Cho, a writer/producer at Webtoon reached out saying she liked American Road Trip and that she wanted to adapt it into a comic series. When my editor and agent and I learned what Webtoon is--how big their reach is--we knew this was a terrific opportunity to get the story out to a wider audience. I had no idea how it was going to look, or turn out, but I trusted that Quincy's enthusiasm for the material would lead to something really cool. But I was still nervous about the whole thing. I'm really proud of this story. And I feel such deep affection with the characters. What were these comics people going to do with my baby?
I wasn't prepared for seeing the first drawings. Like the Avila family in the book, it turned out that Little Corvus, the Webtoon artist, is from the Seattle area. And they perfectly captured the colors and feel of the setting. I was thrilled and I knew this project was in the exact right hands. And the more they shared their progress, the more it was clear that Qunicy and Little Corvus weren't just translating the book, they were making it bigger and deeper and more complex. They created something that stands beautifully on its own of course. But for readers of the novel, I don't think the American Road Trip experience is complete without the comic. And I feel really lucky and grateful that it's out there in the world.
Thanks to Quincy and Patrick for taking the time to share their experience! Learn more at the links below and experience Webtoons yourself:
Webtoon website: https://www.webtoons.com/
American Road Trip Webtoon: https://www.webtoons.com/en/drama/american-road-trip/
Quincy Cho website: https://www.quincycho.com/
Little Corvus website: https://www.littlecorvusart.com/
Patrick Flores-Scott's website: http://patrickfloresscott.com/index.html