At the beginning of the month, Webtoon introduced the Kind of Love Anthology, which features a series of original stories around the theme of love. New stories will debut every Wednesday over a six-week period, featuring three to five episodes in typical Webtoon fashion. The first story is called The Breakup, illustrated by Rhett Bloom and written by Susan Cheng, who also happens to be Webtoon’s producer. In her role, Cheng pitches, develops, adapts, and hires talent for projects. “That’s it in a nutshell,” she says of the job she has been doing for just over a year. That’s a pretty big nutshell of responsibility that has grown even bigger after pitching and seeing this new anthology to fruition.
With the Kind of Love Anthology, Cheng wanted to share the many realities of love that we all experience. Webtoon is no stranger to romance stories, and Kind of Love certainly explores that aspect, but her focus for the stories curated for this anthology is on tackling the nitty-gritty. “I wanted something that felt like real life,” she explained in an interview with WWAC. “This isn’t the Disney happily ever after. This is the reality of what happens when you fall in and out of love.”
The Breakup is the first story in the anthology as well as Cheng’s first original story. She’s written script adaptations before, but typically, after establishing the tone, she hires other talent to take over. The Breakup is a chance for Cheng to tell her own, very personal story. “I wanted to write something that I might have needed when I was in my early 20s,” says Cheng of her story about a young woman who must pull herself back together after a breakup and learn that she is the only person that can complete herself.
“A lot of this stuff, you learn through experience and your first breakup can be devastating,” says Cheng, “so I wanted to write something that was validating. I wanted someone who is reading this to feel like, this is so nice that someone is writing about my experience in a way that isn’t shaming and is treating it very carefully because I think there is a tendency to write off breakups. ‘It happens to everyone, you’ll get over it.’ But in the moment, it can be very traumatic.”
Writing this original story and putting it out there into the world left Cheng feeling, unsurprisingly, very anxious. She’d set out to create a relatable story, but the fear of whether or not people are going to relate, much less like her story, caused understandable worry. But now that she’s released The Breakup into the world, she’s relieved to say that this is one of those moments when reading the comments is a good thing. “The comment section turned into a sort of group therapy session,” Cheng explained, “where everyone was being so vulnerable and sharing their own experiences with a breakup or whatever they’re going through right now in their relationship.”
After The Breakup comes The Best Girl, written by Quinn Sosna-Spear, with art by Alasxe. This is the story of a retiree and widow who finds unexpected love and companionship with a small, cuddly and curious cat.
Finding talent for this anthology and other projects is one of Cheng’s favourite parts of her job, if the enthusiasm in her voice when she speaks about them is anything to go by. “We have just so much talent on the Canvas section of our platform. I spent a great deal of time looking through artists that I thought would be able to capture each story.” The format of the anthology opened the door for creatives who had not considered working with Webtoon because they couldn’t commit to the platform’s regular schedule. “I thought this was a really good opportunity to say, ‘Okay, let’s work together. Let’s see if you like it.’” Putting the stories together was hard work, but Cheng feels that the creative teams had fun too, and has had positive feedback from them about their experience.
Cheng confirms that the reception for the series has been good so far and hopes this means more in the future. “I might want to do a continuation — more short stories about love — because I think there’s just so much. I didn’t want this to just be about romantic love. I wanted to capture platonic love, familial love, and self-love — all of the different versions of love that we experience. I think we could go a lot of places with it.”
“I just really love love stories,” says Cheng.
Other stories in the Kind of Love Anthology include:
The Affair (available now)
Writer: Quincy Cho
Artist: Marisa Han
Nick and Lina may look like the perfect couple on Instagram. But wait, is that women’s deodorant in Nick’s gym bag? And who’s that blowing up Lina’s phone at night? Somebody’s cheating on someone, but we don’t know who.
Missing Socks (December 25, 2019)
Writer/Artist: Alya Rehman
Artists: Rachel Koo and Maria Li
When Gabi, a standoffish and quiet girl, loses her dog after a snowstorm, she realizes just how much her friends care about her wellbeing through the grand adventure they embark on to bring the dog — and her happiness — back home.
Table for Two (January 1, 2020)
Writer: Sarah Wang
Artist: Siobhan Keenan
Homebody Max was perfectly content to pass through his life playing video games and sleeping in. But after Chris King — a hotshot Youtuber — crashes into his world, Max is forced to venture outside his comfort zone.
Seasons (January 8, 2020)
Writer/Artist: Jose Garcia
Over the course of four seasons, couples come to terms with the reality of love — and how even though love can be scary and awful, it’s always worth it.