Surge Licensing, in partnership with Genuine Entertainment -collectively the exclusive licensing agent for WEBTOON Entertainment -has secured a slate of new licensing partners for the platform’s top performing WEBTOON Originals.
Bioworld, Walter Foster, and FiGPiN, will launch new products based on some of the platform’s most popular titles for the U.S. market, while Event Merchandising has been signed to build-out WEBTOON’s new official webstore.
Millions of fans around the globe read, share, and celebrate comics on WEBTOON, the world’s largest digital comics platform and home to some of the biggest artists, IP, and fandoms in comics. Redefining comics for Gen Z and the digital era, WEBTOON hosts a diverse range of comic genres and styles, with over 170 million monthly active readers across its various platforms globally.
Bioworld, the leading global manufacturer of licensed apparel and fashion accessories, has been appointed as the master apparel partner. Walter Foster, the leading publisher of instructional art and craft books and kits for adults and children for 100 years, is WEBTOON’s official “How to Draw” partner; and FiGPiN will produce collectibles across their FiGPiN, FiGPiN Mystery and FiGPiN mini-pin formats, as well as the new Cyber Cel collectible card program. Additionally, Event Merchandising is WEBTOON’s e-commerce partner. The official WEBTOON webstore will host product lines for an expanded IP roster, creating monetization and fandom-building tools for creators, as well as serving as a destination for fans to find competitions, promotions and exclusives/limited-run licensed products.
“We are thrilled to work with Surge Licensing to bring more of the WEBTOON universe to fans worldwide through a new range of branded products based on some of our most successful titles, as well as to offer an online shopping experience through our new e-commerce platform,” stated Sandy Resnick, WEBTOON’s Head of Rights. “This is just the beginning of our licensing and retail expansion, as we continue to create new ways for fans to celebrate the incredible creators and content on WEBTOON. ”
“WEBTOON boasts some of the largest fandoms around the globe and a goldmine of content they love to explore,” commented Surge Licensing’s EVP, Elan Freedman. “We look forward to working with these best-in-class partners to create a range of unique and stylish products, built with the DNA of the brands embedded and spark engagement from the vast community of fans around the world.”
WEBTOON’s new partners will initially focus on creating products for some of today’s most popular WEBTOON digital comics, which include four IP’s that have each had more than one billion views: the smash hit Lore Olympus, a four-time New York Times bestseller with an animated series in development from Wattpad WEBTOON Studios and The Jim Henson Company; UnOrdinary, set in a world where almost everyone has a superpower except a lonely boy who doesn’t have any, with graphic novels coming from HarperCollins in November 2023; True Beauty, about a shy comic book fan who masters the art of makeup to transform herself into a gorgeous goddess and sees her social standing skyrocket, a hugely popular K-drama series that is now in production as an animated feature, with the 3rd graphic novel volume debuting November 2023 from UnScrolled; and Tower of God, about a boy who must journey skyward in a mysterious tower if he has any chance of reuniting with his best friend Rachel, even if that means facing his own death, adapted into the hit Crunchyroll anime certified 100% fresh by Rotten Tomatoes for which Season 2 is forthcoming.
Other WEBTOON Originals that will be part of the new licensing and product development opportunities include Cursed Princess Club, Hooky, Boyfriends., Morgana & Oz and more.
An ever-growing number of digital comics from WEBTOON have achieved broad awareness through live-action and animated TV adaptations. Netflix has released a slate of K-Dramas from the WEBTOON universe to great fanfare, including All of Us are Dead, Sweet Home, Hellhound, Black Knight, Blood Hounds, See You in MY 19th Life, Mask Girl and more, with All of Us are Dead remaining months on the streamer’s Global Top 10 Series (non-English). Netflix has also released a popular anime adaptation of Lookism; and Crunchyroll has found major success with anime adaptations of Tower of God, God of High School and Noblesse.