When Kim Eun-hee first conceived the story behind the Korean zombie drama Kingdom, she did not see it as a TV script. Instead, she conveyed her story in the 2015 web comic, Burning Hell Shiniu Nara, which she created with illustrator Yang Kyung-il.
“I began thinking about the story in 2011, but I thought it would be difficult to be portrayed in a TV series,” said Kim. “That’s why I wrote the story for a web comic series with a comic illustrator I knew.”
Eventually her tale of Joseon-era zombies did inspire a drama series. Kingdom became Netflix’ first original Korean TV series, with the first six-episode season airing in 2019 and the second in March 2020.
“It’s only the basic concepts that were reflected into the story of the series, so there’s not a lot of commonality between the web comic series and the Netflix series,” said Kim.
The story was inspired by the Annals of the Joseon Dynasty, which recorded Korean state affairs from 1413 to 1865. The Annals describe tens of thousands of people who died of a mysterious illness and Kim decided to reinvent the plague as a zombie virus.