When illustrator Robin Ha moved from bustling Seoul, South Korea to Huntsville, Alabama at age 14, the relocation was like losing her senses.
“I was [practically] friendless,” said Ha, now 35 and living in Falls Church, Virginia. “My school didn’t have any English as Second Language classes because I was the only one who couldn’t speak English. I came from Seoul with millions of people and, to me, Huntsville was just fields. One of the hardest things was that in Seoul, I just could run down the street and buy comics” or manwha. “But it was impossible to find Korean comics there.” Forced to sink or swim with a new language, she picked up English in six months but spent much of her time doodling and slowly befriending the few schoolmates who were enthusiasts of Japanese manga comics in the mid-1990s.