THE AWL: ABLAZE Publishing Acclaimed Korean Webtoon Series by Choi Gyu-Seok
ABLAZE is expanding its webtoon manhwa catalog with the addition of THE AWL. Created by Choi Gyu-Seok, the artist behind The Hellbound, another manhwa series that is currently streaming on Netflix. THE AWL sheds light on the struggles faced by workers at an oppressive Korean big box superstore as they strive for better lives and working conditions. Ablaze takes the series to print and will launch a 6-volume graphic novel series which will kick off this December.
The series has gained critical acclaim and was awarded the Korean Cartoon of Today Prize. It also succeeded in raising public awareness about labor issues when it was first published and was later adapted into a successful TV series in South Korea by the JTBC network.
Set in the mid-2000s, the story takes place in the fictional South Korean superstore chain called “Pureumi.” The narrative centers around two protagonists: Yi Su-in, who is compelled by the corporation to unjustly dismiss workers, and Gu Go-sin, a labor activist. Su-in, a principled individual who cannot hold back his outspoken criticism, constantly finds himself at odds with the world.
Despite leaving a career in the armed forces to live a quiet life and pursue an ordinary job, he is once again thrust into conflict when the company orders him to forcefully remove employees. Assisting Su-in is Go-sin, a cool-headed and agile labor activist who operates a labor counseling center near the Pureumi chain.
Unlike Su-in, who struggles to get along with people and strictly adheres to rules, Go-sin fearlessly engages with others and occasionally takes extreme measures to achieve their goals.
Rich Young, co-founder and publisher of ABLAZE, expressed pride in bringing THE AWL to the English-speaking audience for the first time and highlighted the series’ significance. He emphasized that the timeless struggle between the privileged and the underprivileged, the rich and the poor, oppressors and the oppressed, continues to persist worldwide. Young sees THE AWL as a testament to the tenacity of workers and how the actions of one person can have a profound impact on the lives of many.
Choi Gyu-seok, born in 1977 in Jinju, South Gyeongsang Province, honed his skills in illustration and animation at Sang Myung University. He made his debut as a cartoonist in 1998 after being selected in a competition held by a Korean magazine. Throughout his career, he has achieved various accolades, including the Dong-LG International Festival of Comics, Cartoon, Character Design and Animation (DIFECA) award for his work The Cola Man.
Choi Gyu-Seok has proved his mastery and brilliance time and time again. He looks to add another title to his library of celebrated works by skillfully portraying the adventures of these two contrasting characters.
THE AWL will be available at your favorite local comic shop and digitally on December 6, 2023.
A variety geek who enjoys geeking out with friends over video games, comics, or movies/TV shows. An avid wrestling fan since the days of the Attitude Era and N64’s No Mercy, he now spends much of his time reading and collecting comics. All of my puns are intended.