With how fast-paced the world of webtoons is, it’s not surprising to hear about creator burnout. The model on which Line WebToon as an app functions is rife with constant deadlines, extreme workload, and various other factors that can lead to building pressure on an artist. So, when Lumine went on hiatus again, it wasn’t very shocking to fans.
We’ve already discussed how the manga industry exploits its mangakas before. It’s just very cutthroat, especially for smaller creators because the onus to both create and write is put on one person. The same goes for the medium of webtoons, which follows the same upload schedule and update model. And that’s not factoring in incidents that can cause an artist to take a back seat, like an injury.
Lumine is a very beloved fantasy webtoon by Finnish creator and artist, Emma Krogell aka Mame, that started publication around 2017. It revolves around the friendship between two children with supernatural origins, a witch named Kody and the titular Lumine, a werewolf sent to protect him. It’s not your usual romance fare, heaving an intense focus on the friendship and bonds between these two children and how they tackle the issues of growing up in a tumultuous world.
When webtoons came on the scene, they were quick to dominate the graphic comic and novel genre alongside usual fare such as manga. Western artists were quick to jump on the medium, seeing how it was a way to follow in the manga industry without having to uproot their entire life. But it feels like webtoons borrowed more than just the accessibility and adaptability from the manga industry. And not all of it is good. Let’s discuss why Lumine is currently on hold.
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LUMINE: The Story So Far
For an art style so adorable and wholesome, the story itself is pretty dark. Kody is a child from a prestigious line of witches and wizards, yet he has a complicated relationship with magic. A sickness ails him that doesn’t let him have control over his powers. And for that, he is heavily bullied.
Though, he is still very close to his father, Aiden but cold to everyone else. That was until he came across Lumine in the streets.
Lumine was raised in Terranevo by adoptive parents and went to work for Edward Hageman. But he has kicked out of the streets soon after and discovered by a lost Kody. Of course, being children they both got lost. When a pick pocketer threatened to attack them for Lumine’s bag pack, he had no choice but to transform.
But of course, he’s still just a werepuppy at this point. So, it’s a stroke of luck that when the pickpocket started hurting Lumine, Aiden intervened. Touched by how readily Lumine decided to protect Kody, Aiden offers him lodging in the Neptune Headquarters in return for becoming both Kody’s companion and bodyguard.
It’s Lumine who helps Kody with his issues. At first, Kody didn’t like him at all, but Lumine slowly coaxes him out of his shell by becoming his best friend. Together they face everything, from the bullying problems in school to the more serious kidnapping attempts. But now with Aiden left for dead and Lumine trapped, Kody is on his own.
Why Did Lumine Go On Hiatus
This webtoon has a pretty consistent history of going on hiatus. It has gone on five hiatuses since its launch. The artist, Emma, had suffered a serious carpal tunnel injury in her wrist which forced her to take a step back from creating content. And it looks like the injury never healed completely because she had to actively keep taking breaks in between due to flare-ups.
But her most recent hiatus, which happened in October 2021 during the 2nd season, was due more to mental stress than physical. After episode 142, Emma went on her social media accounts and let people know that she had been put on anti-depressants for some time now, which has made it hard to continue working on the comic for the time being.
The Curse of Creator Burnout
While the reason Lumine had to go on hiatus is unfortunate, it is something that artists have been speaking up about for years. The constant pressure to create content on harsh deadlines are getting steamrolled was always prevalent in the manga, but it’s sad to see that the manhwa/webtoon industry is adopting some of the same practices.
While it is amazing to get weekly content for stories we love and artists we care about, it doesn’t seem like it’s very sustainable. This is why you often hear about harrowing experiences where the anxiety for the creator manifests into fatigue. Artists find themselves stuck in slumps they can’t climb out of.
That is a serious issue that we should be kinder and understanding about when consuming content. Instead of berating the artist and demanding more from them, we should be more compassionate toward the hard work they put in.