By KaYoung Kim
Translated by SeungYoun Woo
Recently, Boston Korea received an interesting phone call. The phone call informed us that one of the web cartoon authors is from Boston. She publishes a cartoon on Daum, one of the famous Korean portal sites. The cartoon is the author’s own story, which is about newlyweds just settled in Boston.
Although the cartoon has been published for no more than two months, it is amazingly popular. There are already more than 10,000 visitors on the blog (www.dingstoon.com). The secret of her cartoon’s popularity is a very cute style of illustration and a very solid story, that not only Bostonians but also others, who have experienced living abroad, can empathize with. Moreover, the story is very addictive, and makes people anxiously await the publishing days, Thursday and Sunday.
It is also interesting to see very familiar places through the illustrations, such as Copley, Harvard Square, and Newbury Street. Also, some pictures of places in Boston are posted with the cartoon and they make Bostonians think yet again that ‘the place I live in is so beautiful.’ It is surely recommended to everyone in Boston.
What are Da-hye Lee’s (the main character, “Dings”) thoughts about this enthusiastic reception of the cartoon? We had an interview with Lee and her husband “Ddoongs”.
Q. Dings? Toongs?
A. They do not mean anything special. ‘Dings’ is named after my old nickname ‘Ding-soon-ee’, and ‘Ddoongs’ originated from my husband, whom I always tease with calling him ‘Dddong-Ddoong-ha-da (You are fat).’ I think that the sounds of the words are cute and they combine together very well with similar pronunciation.
Q. What made you want to start writing cartoons?
A. I used to post a cartoon titled, ‘Dings’ private life’ on the amateur section of the ‘Naver Cartoon Challenge’, beginning at the end of the last year. Daum, after seeing my cartoon from Naver, suggested that I publish a cartoon regularly on their site. At that time, I had decided to move to Boston, so I planned to write about my life in America.
My debut as a cartoon author is a bit late, since I originally worked as a web designer. I had been dreaming to become a cartoonist since I was in elementary school. However, I hardly thought I would reach my dream because I had to stay up all night working almost every day. Although, I am glad that I started cartoons now. If I wrote and drew this cartoon (Dings Ddoongs) at a young age, I would not be able to have the kind of feelings and thoughts that I have right now.
Q. The cartoon has been published less than two months, but the responses of readers are pretty amazing. Do you realize the popularity?
A. I was actually worried before publishing. I was very surprised to see more than 5,0000~6,000 visitors were on my blog after 3 installations of the cartoon were posted. There is an average of 100 comments. Someone even proposed to publish a book after just looking at the preview. At that time, I refused; I told them to ‘wait and see more since it is just the beginning.” As more pieces are posted, I keep receiving more suggestions so I am working on it, too.
Q. The cartoon has a very solid story even though it is the first work. Do you have any secret?
A. I have always dreamt of being a cartoonist, and I have been continuously drawing cartoons in my spare time. Probably, there are hundreds of lists of my ideas and happenings that I wrote down whenever interesting things went on around me, thinking that I would use them as cartoon material later. I have been reading a lot of webtoons and martial arts cartoons, such as ‘Yong-Bi-Bool-Pae’ and ‘Slam Dunk’. I admire Kang Pool (a famous Korean webtoon author), who can write cartoons with many different kinds of subjects like mystery, romance and detective, and I think of him as a ‘genius cartoonist.’
Nanda, publishing ‘Acoustic Life’ on Daum, is also one of my favorite webtoon authors.
Q. It is really interesting to read about your newly married life in Boston. When and how did you get married?
A. It has been a year since we married. My husband and I met in Melbourne, Australia. At that time, I had just arrived in Australia and someone had helped me to settle down. He said, “There is a lonely guy who’s researching at the Melbourne medical school.” Then I had a chance to meet him. He was a guy from Busan, who caught everyone’s eyes with his 6’3’’ height. When we met the first time, I think he fell in love with me at first sight because he asked me to dinner even after I had my bag stolen at our meeting. I got a ring from him in a week even though we were not in a relationship, so I doubted him. However, he was very nice and he did not know anything but studying. After having a relationship for a year, we got married and started to live in Busan.
Q. What exactly is your husband doing research on?
A. He is studying immunology and researching on a cure for autoimmune disease, such as diabetes, arthritis, and rheumatic disease. Since the end of the last year, he has been working as a postdoctor at ‘For Science’ research center, which is affiliated with Harvard Dental School. After graduating college, he thought about going to medical school; however his father wanted him to study more so he ended up in Boston.
Q. How long will you be staying in Boston?
A. Since my husband has a 2-year contract with the research center, I think we will be staying here at least until next year. The contract can be extended if we want but we have not decided anything yet. I was struggling with the harshly cold winter in Boston right after our arrival, l but I am slowly falling in love with the city. I am delighted that my favorite places, Boston Common and Public Garden, are right in front of my house, and I am also interested that I have many things to challenge me in Boston. I am thinking about registering for a salsa dance class soon.
ⓒ 보스톤코리아(http://www.bostonkorea.com), 무단전재 및 재배포 금지