You probably know way more about K-pop than I do. Not even probably. If you know much at all you know more than I do.
I’ve always been more of a punk rock girl with my roots in 80s and 90s sounds. Riot grrrls. One night in the early Aughts, just past the turn of the century I went to a show where a Japanese noise band called Melt-Banana opened for Fantômas and a few moments into their opening salvo I’d decided to move to Japan so I could see them as often as I liked. Which was often.
Once in Japan, I promptly found asking someone what kind of music they like to listen to would elicit breathless monologues about Korean idols and pop singers. Then someone would break out a smartphone, open YouTube or an app with a personal playlist then beam with pride while I nodded my head to the beat and cooed, “Hey, yes, I do like it!”
Right now it’s BTS. BTS is just about everything. I have met more BTS fans in the past few years than I can even count. Not just teens and young people. All ages. At my day job I’ve found letting students talk about BTS while I correct their word choice and grammar tends to make free conversation classes fun for them. And when the students are having fun then I’m having fun and it’s hard to believe you can get paid to make sure someone can gush about BTS in a way that sounds natural to native English speakers. Hopefully.
In 2018 BTS conquered the American pop charts as their album Love Yourself hit #1 on Billboard 200. Since then they’ve enjoyed little but success after hit after hit after success and now they’re breaking into the comics scene via Ize Press and there’s little reason to think BTS will do anything less than crush it.
The other K-pop idols turned comic book stars Tomorrow x Together and Enhypen haven’t been around quite as long as BTS but I’m sure they’ll be happy to follow in their footsteps. Once we get through the screams and thrills of magical K-pop adventuring it’s only then we get to the vampires and werewolves. The BTS and Tomorrow x Together stories seem to star the groups themselves but I’m wondering about that last one. The log line makes it seem like a K-pop take on Buffy the Vampire Slayer complete with a teen girl heroine. Maybe Enhypen are the vampires, kind of a collective Angel to her Buffy. Or they’re the werewolves which would make them Team Oz to her…
I think I just sold this one to myself. Let’s see what these high octane musical powerhouses have for readers…
NEW YORK, NY (4/28/23)— Ize Press revealed the on-sale dates and covers of the English-language editions of HYBE’s own IP-based ‘original story’ webcomics with BTS (7FATES: CHAKHO), TOMORROW X TOGETHER (THE STAR SEEKERS), and ENHYPEN (DARK MOON series). These three titles were originally released in ten languages on WEBTOON Worldwide Services, collectively garnering over 70 million views in a single month.
As his last professional work before his untimely passing in 2022, the artist of the popular Solo Leveling comic DUBU illustrated the cover of the print edition of 7FATES: CHAKHO, Vol. 1. Ize Press will also publish the English print editions of HYBE’s webnovels of the same names. Release dates for the webnovels will be announced at a later date.
Created by HYBE
A collaboration with BTS, the dynamic story follows seven young men bound by fate. After growing up together through a series of trials and tribulations, they must become a unified group of seven to unlock their destiny. 7FATES: CHAKHO is an urban fantasy story set in the near future, inspired by the Chakhogapsa tiger hunters of the Joseon Dynasty in Korea. The story portrays confrontations between humans and the Beom tribe in a corrupt world.
7FATES: CHAKHO will be released in October 2023.
THE STAR SEEKERS
Created by HYBE
With TOMORROW X TOGETHER
THE STAR SEEKERS follows a group of young men in a pop band who live in a world where magic is part of everyday reality. The group awakens one day to discover they possess dormant magical abilities. This fantastic tale features imaginary creatures, magic, and a fun look at the world of entertainment.
THE STAR SEEKERS will be released in November 2023.
DARK MOON series
Created by HYBE
Mixing urban fantasy and teen romance, the story follows the confrontation, confusion, and chemistry between a group of vampires, a pack of werewolves, and a mysterious girl with a secret. The tale of DARK MOON is told in the form of a series of stories, starting with DARK MOON: THE BLOOD ALTAR. Combining a heroine with incredible abilities, youthful friendships, and a powerful secret, DARK MOON: THE BLOOD ALTAR brings new levity and energy to teen romance.
DARK MOON will be released in December 2023.
All three titles are set to release Fall 2023. Readers can look forward to owning physical copies of these popular fantasy series. Ize Press is proud to add these all-star titles to their lineup of English print editions of Korean comics.
When you’re chart-toppers like these three acts the comic charts are just more charts for you to top.
HYBE, rebranded from Big Hit Entertainment in March 2021, is a global entertainment lifestyle platform company that seeks boundless expansion in order to innovate the music industry. Ever since, HYBE has been expanding its multi label system including BIGHIT MUSIC, BELIFT LAB, SOURCE MUSIC, PLEDIS Entertainment, KOZ ENTERTAINMENT, ADOR, HYBE LABELS JAPAN, while HYBE AMERICA also manages its affiliate labels including Big Machine Label Group. In addition to the label business, HYBE established an integrated structure with its solution business that creates concert, video content, game, original story and retail, as well as a platform business through Weverse, a global fandom platform. Composed of its three headquarters based in Korea, Japan and the US, the company works towards bringing innovative change throughout the global music industry.
About HYBE ORIGINAL STORY
“HYBE ORIGINAL STORY” is a concept that refers to a unique story IP that HYBE is taking on a new challenge. It is connected to the artist’s brand and message for music, but it goes beyond the limits of music, expanding its charms and possibilities as a story-based IP regardless of genre and format. In addition, it allows readers to be intensely immersed in the stories and enjoy them by casting artists in collaboration with the characters of each original story. The three original stories released in January 2022, “7FATES: CHAKHO,” “DARK MOON: THE BLOOD ALTAR,” and “THE STAR SEEKERS” are linked to BTS, ENHYPEN, and TOMORROW X TOGETHER, respectively. In line with the above, “CRIMSON HEART,” released in November, and “DARK MOON: THE GREY CITY,” released in December, are linked to LE SSERAFIM and &TEAM, respectively. HYPE has presented webcomics and web novels based on HYBE ORIGINAL STORY on the NAVER WEBTOON platform. It plans to expand the business with content in various genres and formats, which goes beyond webcomics and web novels, based on HYBE ORIGINAL STORY, a unique story IP that HYBE designed and developed.
BTS, an acronym of Bangtan Sonyeondan or “Beyond the Scene,” are a GRAMMY-nominated South Korean boyband that has been capturing the hearts of millions of fans globally since their debut in June 2013. The members of BTS are RM, Jin, SUGA, j-hope, Jimin, V, and Jung Kook. Gaining recognition for their authentic and self-produced music, top-notch performances, and the way they interact with their fans, the band has established themselves as 21st century pop icons breaking countless world records. While imparting a positive influence through activities such as the LOVE MYSELF campaign and the UN ‘Speak Yourself’ speech, the band has mobilized millions of fans across the world (named ARMY), collected six No.1 Billboard Hot 100 singles since 2020, and performed multiple sold-out stadium shows across the world. They were also named TIME’s Entertainer of the Year 2020. BTS are 5-time GRAMMY nominees (63rd to 65th GRAMMY Awards) and have been recognized with numerous prestigious awards like the Billboard Music Awards, American Music Awards (Artist of the Year 2021) and MTV Video Music Awards.
About TOMORROW X TOGETHER
TOMORROW X TOGETHER are regarded as K-pop’s voice of Gen Z for their musical narratives which focus on the common experiences and emotions of youth across the globe. Debuted in 2019, TOMORROW X TOGETHER—consisting of SOOBIN, YEONJUN, BEOMGYU, TAEHYUN, and HUENINGKAI—have been listed at the top of Billboard’s “25 Best K-Pop Songs of 2021: Critics’ Picks” with their 2021 release, The Chaos Chapter: FREEZE, and the subsequent album The Chaos Chapter: FIGHT OR ESCAPE was featured on Rolling Stone’s “The 50 Best Albums of 2021” as the only album by a Korean act. TOMORROW X TOGETHER’s May 2022 release, minisode 2: Thursday’s Child, made its debut at No.4 on the Billboard 200 and charted for 14 weeks. In 2022, the band wrapped up their first world tour with 20 shows across 14 cities and became the first K-pop group to perform at LOLLAPALOOZA in Chicago in July 2022. Notably, TOMORROW X TOGETHER have been nominated at prestigious awards such as the American Music Awards and People’s Choice Awards, and won at the 2022 MTV EMAs (Best Asia Act) and BandLab NME Awards 2022 (Hero of the Year). The band’s newest EP, The Name Chapter: TEMPTATION made its debut at the top of the Billboard 200 albums chart.
ENHYPEN is the first boyband created by BELIFT LAB, consisting of members JUNGWON, HEESEUNG, JAY, JAKE, SUNGHOON, SUNOO, and NI-KI. Inspired by the ‘hyphen(-)’ that connects one word to another, ENHYPEN means that seven different boys connect to discover one another and grow together. Upon their official debut in November 2020, ENHYPEN broke out into the global K-pop scene and began smashing from day one with 1st Mini Album BORDER : DAY ONE achieving the biggest first week sales for a single album among K-pop groups to debut the same year. Less than two years later, the band proved they’re the new powerhouse of K-pop, as they became double “Million-Sellers” in the shortest period of time (since debut) in K-pop history with 1st Studio Album DIMENSION : DILEMMA (released in October 2021) and 3rd Mini Album MANIFESTO : DAY 1 (July 2022), which both debuted on the Billboard 200 at No. 11 and No. 6, respectively. In September 2022, the band embarked on their first world tour ‘MANIFESTO’, headlining arenas in 12 cities across the globe for 22 shows. Armed with authentic stories in their music and multi-talented presence on stage, ENHYPEN continue to capture the attention of viewers worldwide while performing on global shows like MTV Fresh Out Live and The Kelly Clarkson Show.
About Ize Press
Founded in 2022, Ize Press is the Korean-content imprint from Yen Press. A collaboration between Yen Press, REDICE STUDIO, and RIVERSE, Ize Press will establish itself as a market leader for print editions of content that has captured the imagination and dedication of readers around the world. At a time in which comics and webnovels from Korea are rising in popularity at the speed of K-pop, Ize Press aims to deliver high-quality physical editions of many beloved stories to fans eager to add them to their collections. For more information, visit izepress.com.