Cosplay at Comic World

Cosplay Costumes

Manga is a Japanese phenomenon, but comics and animated TV shows are also big business in Korea, where they’re known as manhwa. During our first weekend in Busan, a manhwa festival called Comic World was being held at the BEXCO convention hall. Wild Korean youth dressed in freaky cosplay? No way we were missing that.

Unfortunately, the convention was a disappointment. There were stands selling posters, slash fiction, stickers and t-shirts. Some kids were sitting on the floor to watch TV shows. And that was about it — perhaps we arrived at a slow time, but it was more than a little boring. We could have saved the ?4000 ($3.60) apiece we paid to enter the hall, because the real action was going on outside.

A ton of young girls and guys costumed as their favorite characters were wandering around the BEXCO plaza, striking poses for photographers (“We are combat team!” or “I am sweet schoolgirl!”). There were a lot more girls than guys; even in the world of comics, playing “dress up” seems to be a female-dominated pastime. And I noticed that the more attractive the girl, the sexier her outfit tended to be. Little wonder that most of the “photographers” at the event tended to be somewhat older, shifty guys.

We wanted to encounter different subcultures and sub-subcultures during our time in Busan, and this was a fun way to dip our toes into the water. The Comic World festival occurs every couple of months at the BEXCO.

Does anyone have recommendations for some good manhwa available in English?

Location on our Busan Map

Comics For 1 Dollar

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. An absolutely fascinating post.  I remember seeing a documentary on cosplay in Japan, but was unaware that it was so popular in Korea.  Everyone involved seems to take representing their chosen characters very seriously, all the costumes look immaculate.  Although for me the strangest one has to be what looks like a man, dressed as a school girl with a sniper rifle and glasses.  Interesting to say the least.  

  2. rEy Shaun Madolora

    we must have been at BEXCO at the exact same time!!!I want to try to meet up with you guys while in Busan… I’m here living with my girlfriend for the next few months… She’s been here for 1.5yrs and has a lot of good info on the city and surrounding areas. She loves hiking which is one of Busan’s hidden secrets and a huge part of the Korean culture…I’m also starting to blog more about traveling and am a travel photographer, so I’d love to pic you guys’ brains about your experiences and hear about your other travels over some hof or makgeolli!Peace,rEy

  3. Sam Christian

    You want suggestions for manwha in English. I took the liberty to give you my top favorites. I prefer manwha for the art. I am art major in college presently. I appreciate the distinct style. More scenarios of the imagination.  Tokyo Pop (American Publisher)A) Tottally Captivated by Yoo Ha-Jin (male to male relationship, graphic)B) I wish by Seo Hyun Joo (supernatural magician – girl guy relationships) C) Love in the Mask by Han yu-Rang (gender bender- girl dresses like guy)Many times manhwa is under the genre of shoujo. But the relationship can be male and male or female and male or more. Shoujo only means it was written for the female audience.  Pick up (phonebook) thick magazines – heard they are cheap and art is awesome!! Example: WinkBooks. 

  4. Sam Christian

    Curious while you are there – can you find out how to track an author of a manwha? I have been desperately trying to find Lee YOUNg-Hee that produced “You’re so Cool”, “HWA”, “The Summit”. I realize these are the American titles of the series. But I know many use different pen names with different publishers. So How does a person know if the same person is using more than one name or pen name??? I am seriously wishing to find out if this person used another name so I can track him. If you get his picture and signature of a copy I will pay you for it!!!!!!!!

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