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What Do 'Inside Men' And 'Misaeng' Have In Common?

BY Julie Jones | Dec 18, 2015 10:30 AM EST


Both the film "Inside Men" and the cable series "Misaeng" can be described as being successful, but there is something else they have in common. The hit film and the critically acclaimed cable drama are both based on stories created by webtoon artist Yoon Tae Ho.

Yoon's webtoons may enjoy such success because they offer a different kind of storytelling focusing on real-life situations and the often overwhelming tension that complicates the lives of ordinary people. His comics also raise important questions about the nature of power and its abuse.

And the success of these adaptations has focused new attention on the webtoon artist.

According to the Korean Film Council, Yoon Tae Ho began drawing cartoons 22 years ago and first published his work in 1993. He was recognized in 2001 for a webtoon that featured a romance between two senior citizens.

One of his comics was adapted into the 2010 mystery thriller "Moss," starring Park Hae Il and Jung Jae Young. But his big breakthrough happened with the success of the 2014 cable drama "Misaeng," which starred Im Si Wan, Kang So Ra, Kang Ha Neul and Lee Sung Min. It took Yoon Tae Hoon three years to write the drama about Jang Geu Rae, a former baduk prodigy who abandons the game to become a temporary office worker. The time spent was worth it because "Misaeng" earned critical praise.

The drama caught the attention of Korea's office workers because it so accurately depicted the power struggles within the office workplace. No matter how hard Jang Geu Rae worked to establish himself at his company, his prospects were doomed by office politics and preconceptions.

The comic received the President's Prize in the Korean Contents Award. The drama went on to win several awards, including a Baeksang Arts Award for Best Drama.

The film "Inside Men," starring Lee Byung Hun, Jo Sung Woo and Baek Yoon Sik, was also based on one of Yoon Tae Ho's stories. And it is also a success. The film grossed almost $12 million in its first four days and set the record for the most viewed R-rated k-movie in a single day. The crime story features people who wield and abuse political power, including the editor at a conservative newspaper, gangsters seeking political influence and the businessmen molding the political careers of their lackeys.

And Yoon is not done with his storytelling. He finished another webtoon, titled "Pah In: The Greedy Bastards" about smugglers and is serializing a second season of "Misaeng."

Keep up the good work Yoon Tae Ho!

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