Big Dreams in Bold Strokes: Comics - Not Just for GeeksThis is a sponsored post written on behalf of the Naver LINE Webtoon app, but all opinions expressed are 100 percent my own, bub!

Okay. I admit it. On more than a few levels, I’m a stereotypical geek — or nerd, or whatever you want to call me (as long as it’s not late to breakfast). I have more than a passing fascination with technological and scientific progress. If your pop culture references don’t include science fiction or fantasy in some way, they’re liable to go over my head (if you say “Kardashian,” my brain’s only hearing “Cardassian”). And if you want to be assured of an audible “whooshing” sound while this is happening, make sure to throw sports into the mix.

Ugh. Sports. Why’d it have to be sports?

But what about comics? Well, I may not collect them obsessively in paper format as some choose to do, but I do enjoy so many storylines and artwork that have made their debut in comics that it’s hard to deny they’ve had a profound influence on me over the years. Even Diana — my wife, in case you didn’t already know — is infatuated with Batman.

Here’s what I think is a step in the right direction: being into comics doesn’t necessarily brand you indelibly as a geek or a nerd or a dork anymore. Not that there’s anything wrong with being labeled as such, but there’s also nothing wrong with not being labeled as such — elitism on either side of the coin is lame. Acceptance of comics in the mainstream seems to be on the rise thanks to big-budget blockbuster movies featuring the X-Men, the Avengers, Wolverine, Iron Man, Spider-Man, the Hulk, Black Widow, Thor, Captain America, Guardians of the Galaxy, the Watchmen, Batman, Superman, Catwoman, Blade, the Crow, Daredevil, the Fantastic Four, Ghost Rider, Green Lantern, Hellboy, Judge Dredd, Jonah Hex, Kick-Ass, the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Men in Black, the Punisher, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and… well, you know. This is a list that might never end if I don’t stop here.

Chances are, even if you’re only mildly paying attention, you’ve already heard of a good number of the above, if only in passing. Heck, even your grandparents and great-grandparents almost assuredly know about Superman and Batman, considering they’ve been around since the ’30s!

(The comic characters, that is. I have no idea how old your grandparents and great-grandparents happen to be. Sadly, I don’t have such superpowers.)

Network television has long included comic book heroes and villains, too, with shows like Adventures of Superman, Batman, Shazam!, Wonder Woman, The Incredible Hulk, Spawn, The Tick, Smallville, The Walking Dead, Arrow, and soon-to-be-seen Gotham, Constantine, and The Flash, just to name a few.

And then, of course, there are the toys. And the Halloween costumes. And conventions around the world (the annual San Diego Comic-Con attracting a sold-out crowd of 130,000 each year). Comics are officially a big deal — not just for geeks like me, but for everyone, it seems. I like to think that our culture is finally outgrowing the inconceivable stigma of comics and embracing the big dreams in bold strokes that they have to offer.

To enjoy comics in their original format, though, I don’t need to devote entire rooms of our house to collecting comic books and graphic novels (I have to save room for Darth Vaders and LEGO sets, after all); I can carry them around in my pocket and enjoy them on my mobile phone or tablet thanks to the power of apps! Take the Naver LINE Webtoon app (now available on Android and iOS), for example.

Haven’t heard of it yet? Well, it’s big in Korea. After giving it a good swipe-over, I think it deserves to be big here (wherever “here” may be for you), too. Here are some of its most prominent features:

  • It’s got free content — at least seven to 10 webtoons — updated every day.
  • Touch-scrolling access makes webtoons easily readable with minimal effort.
  • Diverse genres are represented for readers who like action, comedy, fantasy, romance, drama, thriller, and beyond.
  • Readers have the option to download favorite webtoons for offline enjoyment up to 30 days after upload. Never be bored on the subway again!
  • Optional push notifications can notify readers when favorite webtoons are released and interesting newcomers hit the scene.

These aren’t your mom and dad’s funny papers, true believers!

If you’d like to find out more about this free app — including its schedule of upcoming webtoons — you can check it out at the official Naver LINE Webtoon website or download it for Android here or iOS here.