Thanks to the success of the Line WebToon app, the Korean-based graphic novel genre has gone global. This has led to writers expanding their most popular WebToons and creating sequels or adjacent stories, almost like a contained universe. Most recently, we saw it happen with Sweet Home, which is rumored to be somehow connected to another popular WebToon called Shotgun Boy.
WebToons are fun and accessible, period. You can open the app right now and indulge in a multitude of curated titles, from every genre imaginable. These stories have been so beloved that they get picked up regularly for live-action adaptations. These include huge hits such as A Business Proposal, The Sound Of Magic, and, of course, Sweet Home.
However, Sweet Home is a deviation from normal WebToon fare. While most of the top WebToons tend to be more romance-centric, Sweet Home is an apocalyptic horror story by Kim Carnby, with illustrative work done by Hwang Young-Chan. This isn’t Kim’s only work, as he released Shotgun Boy after its completion. And being from the same writer, there is bound to be a connection between the two stories.
Sweet Home follows one boy trying to survive a strange phenomenon where people are turning into monsters reflecting their deepest, darkest desires. Whereas Shotgun Boy is a story set in the same universe and even location. But are those the only connections between the two WebToons? Let’s figure it out!
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Which Story Came First?
Technically, Shotgun Boy is widely considered an indirect prequel to Sweet Home. Chronologically, it is set right before the events for Sweet home were set in motion, so the ‘Monsterization Apocalypse’ hasn’t happened yet.
In terms of the plotline, Shotgun Boy is following the same layout as Sweet Home, with the main character who is suffering from isolation and hard times during high school. But in this case, not only does it lay the groundwork for the eventual hellscape of Sweet Home’s dystopia, but it also explores the backstory of some characters present in the original story.
And the protagonist of Shotgun Boy, Gyuhwan Han, is integral to the main plot of Sweet Home. He is heavily hinted at as being one of the first victims to start showing symptoms of ‘monsterization’.
Similarities Between Both Protagonists
When you look at it, both lead characters from these works are almost like mirror images of each other. This makes sense because they share the same writer and even universe. But this likeness runs a little deeper than that.
Both are high school students, caught in the injustice of the world around them. With Cha Hyun-Soo, the protagonist of Sweet Home, it’s him losing his family to a freak car accident. And then being ostracized by his relatives to hole himself up in his apartment, becoming near suicidal.
And then you have Gyuhwan, who is suffering the same kind of negligence but in a different setting, It’s his high school that’s the issue, where he is bullied mercilessly by a boy named Seongbin Yu and his cohorts. Even the teachers ignore his cries for help.
Because of the way they’ve been treated, both protagonists harbor hatred towards the people that ridiculed them. And yet, both are the ones still trying to save those very people against the monsters they encounter.
So, it’s no surprise that both are semi affected by the monsterization, with Hyun-Soo being half monster and Gyuhwan being the first victim to show symptoms. Not to mention their other proclivities, like gaming, that they have in common.
Same People, Different Times:
Apart from the similarities between the protagonists and eventual connection to the variant plotline of the main story, we also see certain familiar faces from Sweet Home in Shotgun Boy.
The most prominent of these recurrent characters is Hyuk-Lee, aka CrewCrew, who is one of the three most important characters in Sweet Home. Turns out that Gyumhwan and CrewCrew were best friends in high school. The experiences the two went through could’ve been what shaped the CrewCrew we know in Sweet Home.
Other uncanny coincidences are much more subtle and atmospheric. These include mentions of things like Maria In the Sky, a movie being advertised in Sweet Home, and posters advertising Jahyun Jung, the ‘Holy Swordsman’ from Sweet Home.