When looking for websites or apps to read webtoons, two things should be considered: supporting creators and webtoon quality.
Whether they know it or not, a lot of readers read webtoons through third-party platforms that sometimes steal webcomics originally posted on sites that have exclusive digital rights to them. When readers purchase or just simply read webtoons posted on the original platform, it directly helps creators as an effect of their partnership with those platforms to publish their comics. Besides creator support, the quality of webtoons is important as well. Expectations are high, especially in the oversaturated webtoon market. Beautiful art and interesting story lines are a must. Listed below are licensed webcomic platforms that offer quality webtoons.
One of the most (if not the most) popular English webcomic platform there is, Webtoon (short for Line Webtoon) is highly recognizable and used by many readers. Webtoon provides quality comics to read for free. Their webtoons consist of translated comics from the Korean site, as well as established handpicked “traditionally non-Korean” comics (e.g. “I Love Yoo” by Chicago native Quimchee). In addition to their main featured comics, Webtoons also provides more comics to read made by amateur cartoonists. All webtoons are free but recently, Webtoon has implemented a system on a few comics where the choice is given to spend some money to view future released episodes early.
Formerly known as Tapastic, Tapas is one of the popular digital comic platforms available. This platform is an original North American online platform, different from other platforms such as Webtoon, which are branches or English versions of Korean platforms. Similar to Webtoon, Tapas also provides quality translated comics, as handpicked non-Korean comics, and additional comics by amateur creators. However, a difference of Tapas and Webtoon is Tapas also provides not just comics to read but novels as well. A second difference is premium or featured Tapas comics are not free. Episodes must be purchased using Tapas “ink”. Ink can be obtained through money purchase, viewing ads within the app, playing games, and recommending the platform to others. Not long ago, Tapas started making a few comics viewable for free through a waiting period (e.g. 1 ep is unlocked every 3 days).
Lezhin delivers high quality webtoons and most are English translation of original Korean comics. In the past, perhaps with an exception for a few, Lezhin comics were only viewable through payment. Recently, however, most of their comics have become free to view through a waiting period. A key trait that distinguishes Lezhin from other platforms is the mature or NSFW and BL (boy’s love) webtoon content it provides readers with. Of course, it also has other genres such as Romance, Sci-fi, and more.
Tappytoon provides amazing quality comics. Tappytoon’s comics are “vetted” English translated versions of Korean comics. This is a great pro to using the platform, but a huge con that may dishearten readers is all of Tappytoon’s comics are only accessible with payment, with the exception of the first few episodes of each comic. Starting out with only a few comics, they’ve begun adding more to their webtoons collection in the last year.
As a fairly new platform for comics since having just launched its mobile app in 2018, it has expanded its comic selection to include more than what most other platforms provide. Most comics are free but some comic episodes must be purchased using the platform’s “gems” or “coins”. Gems or coins can be obtained through app purchase or simply having the app opened for a certain time span (e.g. 5 minutes equals 20 coins), or through other miscellaneous tasks such as sharing codes or participating in surveys. An alternative to viewing all comics for free is joining buying a membership and paying a monthly or yearly fee.
Although Spottoon started out great, they’ve sadly declined. A while back they had to drop many webtoons from their site and have since added only 1 or 2 to their webtoon collection. I’ve included Spottoon here because although their current state is sad right now, the few webtoons they still have on their platform are exceptional. Most aren’t free, but the few that are can be viewed at a specified limited time at no charge. Those webtoons’ episodes go through a “free” rotation period in which they become unlocked for readers to access them without the need to pay. However, miss that date and after a while the episode(s) will be “locked” again and you can only hope Spottoon unlocks it for free again at some other point.
Update: For a while now, Spottoon has since stopped being a platform providing webtoons to read. However, their website is still up containing slightly different content.
Launched in 2017, ToryComics is an interesting platform that is a bit different from the other webtoon platforms. Their comics are great quality. In fact, a few of them are even the same ones Spottoon provides. However, ToryComics uses crowdsourcing translation and fan contribution for their comics. ToryComics webtoons are both free and pay-to-view. There are limited webtoons to read but recently ToryComics has been adding more to their collection.
Toomics doesn’t seem to have gained much attention compared to the other platforms that provide English translated comics. But regardless of popularity, Toomics provides great quality webtoons to read. There are ones that are free, and ones that cost money to be read. Much different from the other platforms, instead of purchasing single episodes of comics, readers purchase a monthly VIP membership, gaining access to all comics on the platform.
9. CIAYO Comics
Last but not least, CIAYO Comics is a platform that provides Indonesian comics. Possibly not as popular because they don’t provide popular Korean translated comics, CIAYO Comics still provides great comics that are in English for readers to read. And a huge plus: they’re free.
Feature image © Tapas
Line Webtoon. Naver Webtoon Corp. webtoons.com. Accessed 25 March 2019.
Tapas. Tapas Media. tapas.io. Accessed 25 March 2019.
Lezhin Comics. Lezhin Entertainment, LLC. lezhin. com. Accessed 25 March 2019.
Tappytoon Comics. Contents First. tappytoon.com. Accessed 25 March 2019.
WebComics. SideWalk Group. webcomicsapp.com. Accessed 25 March 2019.
Spottoon. Rollingstory. spottoon.com. Accessed 25 March 2019.
ToryComics. ToryWorks Co.Ltd. torycomics.com. Accessed 25 March 2019.
Toomics. Toomics Global Co.Ltd. toomics.com. Accessed 25 March 2019.
CIAYO Comics. CIAYO Corp. ciayo.com. Accessed 25 March 2019.