Stan Lee Helping Korean Digital Comics Site Expand Into The U.S.

Stan Lee is partnering with YouTube personality and makeup expert Michelle Phan to help publicize Line Webtoon, the English language version of popular Korean digital comics portal Naver Webtoon. The partnership will be officially announced at Comic-Con International: San Diego, the New York Times reports.

“In Asia, comics and manga and anime are definitely ingrained in the broader pop culture,” said Tom Akel, the head of content at Line Webtoon. “It’s almost difficult to put into words the scale and success of Webtoon over there.”

The Korean website has an audience of more than six million daily visitors who come to keep up with their favorite series, many of which have been adapted to television, video games, and other media.

The site is open for all to use, so amateur creators can use it to get their work seen. Series usually gain notice by competing in a Challenge League, where users vote for their favorite out of a group of series. The winner earns a monetary prize, and a shot at becoming a professional.

Stephen McCranie won $30,000 for Space Boy in last year’s competition. The series debuted in March and runs new chapters every Thursday.

While the website itself is free, the company and the creators make profit through merchandising, product placement, and early access subscriptions.

Out of Line Webtoon’s over 100 series, Tower of God is the most popular, with over five million readers.

In an attempt to raise the site's profile with Phan's chief demographic, Line Webtoon will serialize Phan’s science fiction/fantasy series that she’s been writing since she was 11.

Lee will help Line Webtoon chose a superhero series in a new competition, and advise on how best to develop that intellectual property.

Image Comics founder Marc Silvestri is also throwing in with Line Webtoon, bringing Cyberforce to the website and tying it to his print series Aphrodite IX.

“I’m an old-school guy,” Mr. Silvestri said. “I love print. But the digital is getting bigger and bigger. It is not going away. In a perfect world, if all goes as planned, one will feed the other.”