How Comics Revived a Neighborhood : Kang Full Cartoon Alley
See & Do Tours
The Kang Full Cartoon Alley is full of beautiful artwork and is an example of how one person can revitalize an entire neighborhood. Popular webtoon artist Kang Full is a resident of Gangdong-gu, and many of his comics are take place here. His love and affection for his home is evident in his works. Thanks to the Kang Full Cartoon Alley, what was once a quiet neighborhood is becoming a famous tourist attraction.
The Kang Full Cartoon Alley was created in 2013 as part of a plan to revitalize Seoul's alleys. In many of Kang Full's comics, the backgrounds are based on actual images. Many of those images are of Gangdong-gu. The hill in I Love You, the elevator that serves as the meeting place for the characters of Love Story, and more are all in Gangdong-gu. Artists and students from Sunsu High School's art club began to draw and paint on the walls and now the neighborhood is a popular tourist attraction.
The main characters of Love Story
Before the cartoon alley came into existence, this neighborhood was run-down and quiet. Most of the residents were elderly people living on their own. However, thanks to the Kang Full Cartoon Alley, more people are visiting this corner of Seoul and change for the better has occurred. In the words of one docent, "There are many small changes. There's less litter these days and there are fewer students smoking and leaving around cigarette butts."
Even people who have never read a Kang Full comic can get a sense of Kang Full's style from a visit to the alley. Some of his comics, like are dark and intense, such as Apartment or Neighbors, but the central theme in most of his work is "love." Walk past the mural of the characters Sangsu and Hui-young working at the Small Star Cafe, (from the comic Fool) and you will see the last mural in the alley. The last mural is "Dongheng," which means "to go together." The message Kang Full wanted to say with this mural: a society that respects its weakest and most vulnerable members, with everyone living in harmony, is a society worth living in.
Kang Full Cartoon Alley is easy to find. Take subway line 5 to Gangdong Station. The alley is a short walk from exit 4 and you will see the elderly couple from I Love You welcoming you to the alley.
①A sign welcoming visitors to Kang Full Cartoon Alley
②Even the dry cleaner's storefront has been painted
①Artwork indicating a photo zone to visitors
②A message from comic artist Kang Full