ABLAZE Acquire Rights to Korean Graphic Novel Series, ‘The AWL’

Western publisher of graphic novels and comics ABLAZE has today announced an expansion to their webtoon and manhwa catalogues by confirming their acquisition of the rights to The AWL, pitched as “a moving and socially conscious series about the struggles of workers at an oppressive Korean big box superstore as they strive for better lives and working conditions“. The first volume out of six is due to go into print this December, with subsequent volumes to follow in 2024 and beyond.

The AWL is created by Choi Gyu-Seok, who was also the artist of The Hellhound. The AWL has been the recipient of the Korean Cartoon of Today Prize and caused a stir by raising public awareness about acute labor problems when it was originally published. It was also adapted to a successful TV series in South Korea by the JTBC network.

Volume 1 is set to be released on 6 December 2023, priced at $14.99 USD across 248 pages.

About The AWL

Set in the latter half of the 2000s, against the backdrop of “Pureumi”, a fictional superstore chain in South Korea, the work unfolds with a focus on two protagonists: Yi Su-in, who has been instructed by the corporation to dismiss workers unjustly; and Gu Go-sin, a labor activist.

A man of principles, Su-in is someone who cannot restrain outspoken criticism and is constantly at odds with the world. Though he has quit a career in the armed forces to live quietly and chosen an ordinary job, he once again clashes against the world because the company has ordered him to drive out employees by force.

Aiding Su-in is Go-sin, a cool-headed and deft labor activist who runs a labor counseling center near the Pureumi chain. Unlike Su-in, who has difficulty getting along with people and sternly sticks to rules, he approaches others without hesitation and even resorts to extreme measures at times to accomplish goals.

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