Lezhin Comics, South Korea's leading platform for paid comics, now offers "Danzi," a look into the family trauma and cultural norms shaping a 31-year-old Korean artist.
"I wanted to ask my family if they remember everything I had to go through with them," says Danzi - a pseudonym picked by the artist for this autobiographical work. "I wanted to ask, but I couldn't… because I'm so damn timid. That's why I came up with "Danzi."
"Danzi" cast an outsized shadow in the Korean peninsula because of its unflinching look at the patriarchal foundation of one Korean family as perpetuated by the author's narcissistic mother. The characters are her family, but the struggles are singularly the main character, Danzi's, to bear alone.
"My mom had to grow up in an environment where such tradition was considered natural. She is passing down what she had to go through when she was a young girl living in a rural area," Danzi says. "At first I confronted her asking why she was mistreating me, but she barely listened. For us to understand each other, she should listen when I try to have a conversation with her. But she coldly rejected my attempt to talk, which hurt me even bigger. I could not take another disregard from her, so I just tried to avoid my mom."
But now, in simple but gripping panels, Danzi lays out her childhood as she remembers it. Danzi calls her work, "a love letter to its creator" - but it is more than that: "Danzi" is a lion's roar from a church mouse.
In Korea, the title has inspired wide critical acclaim as well as sympathizing recommendations in English-language subreddits dedicated to those struggling with the aftermath of being raised by narcissists.
"As a creator, I am very grateful that my comic became popular. But at the same time, people sympathizing with my comic means that there are a lot of Danzis out there who hold their own sad stories."
Danzi says she plans to show the comic to her family upon its completion. For the rest of us, the comic is being released weekly on the Lezhin Comics platform. The first 23 comics are available at no cost.