Kangfull Comics Street

Besides Ihwa Mural Village, Seoul has another area where murals have been used to revitalize a neighborhood. Seonganmaeul Kangfull Comics Street (성안마을 강풀만화거리) is not as popular as Ihwa, but since all the murals are made in the same style and have the same theme, it tells more of a coherent story.

Kangfull (강풀) is the pen name of Kang Do-Young (강도영), one of the most popular webtoon artists in the country. He has made webtoons in several genres (including children's books) and his work has also been adapted to several movies. The murals on the Comics Street depict his comics about daily life, which is really fitting because in Seongan Maeul (maeul means village, but it is also used for neighborhood) you are surrounded by daily life. When exploring this neighborhood you'll encounter kids playing in the street, women hanging the laundry, neighbors talking, i.e. the same things the murals are about. It is a quiet little neighborhood lacking the high-rise apartments that so many other neighborhoods are made up of, which makes it a joy to explore. 

A map of where all the murals are located (click to enlarge). 

These stars point the way so you won't get lost.

These stars point the way so you won't get lost.

As is depicted on the map above, the Comics Street is not just a street, but rather a web of streets and alleys with murals here and there. Some of the murals are in very narrow alleys. It might seem confusing and easy to get lost, but there are yellow stars painted on the streets to keep on track. So just follow the stars and you'll be fine.

Kangfull Comics Street Mural 1
Kangfull Comics Street Mural 2
A street with murals.

A street with murals.

As explained above, the murals depict daily life; women sitting on a bench talking and laughing, children playing on a playground, couples drinking coffee in a park, fish bread sellers, and various other scenes. Some of the scenes are right out of Kangfull's webtoons. There is a sign next to every mural, but it is only in Korean. That is also the only criticism I have on this area. Kangfull's comics are a good insight into Korean culture, so it would be nice to have English descriptions as well. It is as if the makers thought that this would only be interesting to Koreans and didn't think about foreigners being interested in their culture. Luckily, there is still the internet and  this site explains a few of them in English.

Depictions of everyday life.

Depictions of everyday life.

Say Kimchi.

Say Kimchi.

Children at the playground.

Children at the playground.

Drinking coffee in the park.

Drinking coffee in the park.

I have a gift.

I have a gift.

Fish bread sellers.

Fish bread sellers.

In addition to the murals, the neighborhood itself is interesting as well. A lot of the houses are made out of red bricks and have shapes that are not so common in Seoul. If you follow the stars you'll go through some very narrow alleys and interesting streets. The absence of high-rise apartments is also a breath of fresh air. I highly recommend this area if you're planning a photowalk.

There are some very uncommon houses in the area.

There are some very uncommon houses in the area.

Follow the stars through narrow alleys.

Follow the stars through narrow alleys.

The narrowest of alleys.

The narrowest of alleys.

Another street in with murals.

Another street in with murals.

Not only are there murals on the walls of buildings, the shops in the area also have cartoon figures on them. They are supposed to resemble the owner of the shop, but I didn't encounter many of them to really be able to test that statement. The one on the barber shop seemed to match somewhat. 

A barber shop's window.

A barber shop's window.

A clothing repair shop.

A clothing repair shop.

If you get hungry from exploring, there is a burger joint in the area as well. I didn't try it, but since it was full of locals, I think it wouldn't hurt to try it for yourself.

Seongan Maeul also has a burger joint. 

Seongan Maeul also has a burger joint. 

If you want some more information about the area, Seoul Sub->Urban has an excellent post on it. 

How to get there
Go to Gangdong Station (강동역) on line 5 and get out at Exit 4. Just follow the road until you see a slim dark grey sign with 성안마을 강풀만화거리 and an arrow to the left on it. Turn left there and you'll walk to the beginning of the Comics Street. Click here for a video with directions.