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Webcomic / Killing Stalking

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Sangwoo and Bum.

Killing Stalking (킬링 스토킹) is a Manhwa written by Koogi and published online in Korean, English, and Japanese by Lezhin Comics. It won the grand prize in the Second Lezhin World Comics Contest.

Oh Sangwoo, a charming and smooth talker Korean college student, who turns out to be a sadistic serial murderer, kidnaps Yoon Bum, a withdrawn man, who has been stalking him. The story starts developing when Bum decides to enter Sangwoo's house when he's away, finding out that the man Sangwoo portrays to the world has nothing to do with the actual reality.

Killing Stalking is now complete at 67 chapters, with a print release on the way. The comic updated weekly on the Lezhin Comics website. Chapters in Korean came on Thursdays and chapters in English arrived on Wednesdays.


This work contains examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Sangwoo's father was strict to him and abused his mother. The mother, as we later learn, was mentally unstable and tried to kill Sangwoo along with raping him once, although he quickly fought her off. And if we go by guardians, Bum's uncle was even worse, as Bum was given to him and his Grandmother after the death of his parents, the Uncle abused him physically, sexually and emotionally for years while his Grandmother emotionally abused him.
  • A Date with Rosie Palms: Three times with Bum, once with Bum's uncle and once with Sangwoo halfway through Chapter 8.
  • All Abusers Are Male: It seems to be an ongoing trend in the series, since Bum's Uncle and Sangwoo are both Abusers. However, Sangwoo's unstable mother also abused him.
  • Ambiguously Bi: Sangwoo primarily targets women, many who resemble his mother, but he develops an infatuation with Bum that eventually leads him to force Bum into a unwilling "partner-in-crime", and he essentially "proposes" to him at the end of Chapter 18. He also has no problems giving a middle-aged man oral sex as a lure once he chooses him as his next victim, although he later acted homophobic towards him, calling him a "fucking Homo" as he kills him. However, both Sangwoo himself and the author consider him straight, and his affection for Bum is really just him trying to keep his mother's Replacement Goldfish around.
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  • Ax-Crazy: Sangwoo. To say nothing of what he's done to other people, he's beaten Bum with a baseball bat, broken both of his ankles (the first by pushing him down the basement stairs, the other by smashing it with a hammer), made him choose between a knife or a meat hook and strung him up when he attempted to deflect Sangwoo with sex in fear of getting abused by him.
  • Batter Up!: Sangwoo uses a baseball bat to beat Bum when he finds him in the basement. Bum's Uncle has a wodden bat which he also uses to abuse Bum.
  • Bandage Babe: Bum is a male version, after Sangwoo breaks his legs and keeps him in his house.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: In public, Sangwoo appears as a nice, popular and kind guy. In reality, he'a a narcissistic Serial Killer who kidnaps, abuses and kills women.
  • Bi the Way: Bum shows interest in both women and men, although this could be maybe even seen as Pansexuality as Gender doesn't matter to him and he fell for a female and later on a male because they were the first ones who showed somewhat of a affection to Bum, who's never gotten any before.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Heavy on the bitter. Sangwoo is arrested, his murders come to light, and many are given hard earned closure with Seungbae going back on the force. However, Bum still feels extra guilty about everything, and despite it all still pines for Sangwoo. After he learns that Sangwoo was smothered by an elderly patient he hallucinates seeing Sangwoo and runs out into traffic where it is implied he is hit by a car.
  • Black and Grey Morality: The conflict of the series is between a weak-willed stalker who breaks into his crush's home, and said crush who kills people in his off-time. The other characters that appear aren't exactly the picture of upstanding morality either, and some can be huge assholes while still on the side of the law.
  • Broken Pedestal: Bum thought that Sangwoo was a kind guy, so kind that he went out of his way and saved him from a rape attempt in the army. Unfortunately for him, the real Sangwoo is a sociopathic Serial Killer.
  • Broken Tears: When Bum sees Sangwoo again after Sangwoo stopped someone's rape attempt on Bum in the army, he sees him with a girl. He goes back home, realizes that he's obsessed with Sangwoo, and breaks down crying. It becomes a pattern over the course of the series.
  • Cassandra Truth: In Chapter 16, Bum immediately starts telling anyone he comes into contact with that he had been kidnapped. Since he's at a college party and he's raving about his kidnapping without any rhyme or reason, the partygoers dismiss him as a rowdy drunk.
  • Caught with Your Pants Down: Bum couldn't sleep one night because of how hot it was, so he went into the kitchen and drank something as he suddenly hears noises (The Uncle moaning) and went to check where it came from. Much to his shock, it was the uncle mastrubating who noticed Bum who then quickly ran back into his room, ending with the Uncle following him and giving a creepy laugh before going back.
  • Chase Fight: Constitutes the entirety of chapter 31.
  • Creepy Basement: A lot of events occur in Sangwoo's basement.
  • Creepy Shadowed Undereyes: Both Bum and Sangwoo have dark circles around their eyes, while the more mentally stable characters don't.
  • Creepy Souvenir: Bum finds the washing machine full of the underwear of the women that Sangwoo killed. He imagines/hallucinates them as their body parts.
  • Creepy Uncle: Bum's guardian is his uncle, who sexually abused him for years.
  • Daydream Surprise: Happens frequently, mostly to underscore characters' unstable mental states.
  • Deadly Game: The card game that Sangwoo forces Bum and the man he kidnapped from the bar to play, with the loser getting killed. This is just a trick, however, and he kills the man despite Bum "losing".
  • Death by Sex: Inverted. Seems to be Sangwoo's modus operandi, as it's implied he kills all the women he sleeps with.
  • Dream Melody: The song "Killing Me Softly" is featured frequently in the storyline, but its importance and association with Sangwoo have yet to be revealed.
  • Drop the Hammer: One of Sangwoo's weapons, which he uses to break one of Bum's ankles and kills Bum's uncle with.
  • Dysfunction Junction: Point in the general direction of any of the characters, and you will not see anyone as the picture of mental health. Even Seungbae, arguably one of the saner main characters, slowly starts slipping into madness.
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady: Bum's pale skin, demure nature in public, and short, feminine stature make him appear to be feminine, especially when he has women's clothing on. At several points in the comic he had been mistaken for a woman. The panels of his feminine thighs, butt and curves doesn't help it exactly either - Dude looks like a lady. Sangwoo used Bum as Replacement of his Mother while his uncle already told Bum back when he was in primary school that Bum looks just like his deceased mother, who was the Ex of the Uncle. This also, unfortunately, resulted in him getting severely abused by his Uncle who fantasized about Bum's mother when raping him for the first time.
  • Empty Cop Threat: Seungbae seems to make a lot of these, particularly in Chapter 23 when he interrogates an underage guy at a gay bar for information on Seokhun. While he could legitimately arrest someone who had broken the law, arresting the guy at the gay bar would probably cause more trouble for Seungbae, being at a gay bar and all....
  • Evil Is Sexy: In-universe in the last chapter. The viewing public, while still appalled by Sangwoo's crimes, spent a good amount of time talking about how good looking he was, according to reporters.invoked
  • Evil Uncle: Bum's Uncle abused him physically, sexually and emotionally for years and starved him. He takes his anger over losing Bum's mother who left him for his brother, who is Bum's Father, on Bum out and told him right into his face that God "punished" them for that and that Bum is the result of that, making Bum cry. He also physically abused his own mother, Bum's Grandmother, sometimes. Even in the present, Bum's Uncle hasn't changed and the first thing he did when seeing Bum was to make fun of him, try to manipulate him, beat him up and attempt to rape him.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Lotta killing, lotta stalking.
  • Fan Disservice: There are many examples:
    • The first chapter has a half-naked Bum masturbating over Sangwoo. This isn't shown to titillate, but to showcase his loneliness and obsession; plus, it happens in the middle of a flashback that explains how he became a Stalker with a Crush and includes an Attempted Rape situation that he was subjected to when in the army.
    • In the same chapter, Bum gets inside Sangwoo's house, then finds his basement... and an almost naked, Bound and Gagged, blindfolded and bruised young woman. Few later, he wakes up after being beaten and sees the poor woman's corpse. It gets even worse when Sangwoo gropes the corpse's bare breast.
    • The story has quite a few instances where the handsome Sangwoo is down to his skivvies, walking around in his underwear and showing off his chiseled physique. Most these scenes are accompanied by his victims being tortured in his Creepy Basement, him splattered with blood, or him psychologically scaring the crap out of Bum.
  • Failed a Spot Check: While it may fly over reader's heads, a closer look at Chapter 7 proves that Sangwoo never had plans and pretended to leave as a Loyalty Test; it was raining heavily, but he deliberately left his umbrella indoors. Unfortunately, Bum didn't pick up on this and thought that Sangwoo left, as Bum thinks that he's finally able to escape. Much to his shock, Sangwoo was waiting outside the door.
  • Florence Nightingale Effect: Sangwoo patches up Bum's wounds and looks after him, probably leading to Lima Syndrome.
  • GIS Syndrome: The background and set pieces are a mix of this and Conspicuous CGI, with any large sets being heavily filtered photos and close items being obvious 3D models.
  • Hope Spot: The ending of Chapter 7. It doesn't end well for Bum.
  • Identical Stranger:
    • At the ski slopes, Sangwoo meets a stepmother who looks identical to his nother and ends up killing her and letting the stepson die.
    • The last scene of the series is Bum chasing the literal and metaphorical shade of Sangwoo, as he runs into a stranger that looked just like him at the beginning of the series.
  • Karma Houdini: For Oh Sangwoo. Seungbae manages to successfully arrest him and put him into custody, but he gets released after pulling a Wounded Gazelle Gambit when he was beaten up by Seungbae. He and his crimes are brought to light and public opinion of him finally turns sour, but even there he gets to experience none of the karma he would deserve after his serial killings and severe abuse on Bum; his ultimate fate is being accidentally smothered to death by an old lady who thought she was quieting a babbling nuisance.
  • Kill It with Fire: Subverted at the end— Seungbae set Sangwoo's house on fire as a last resort to save his own life and it worked, managing to escape in time leaving Sangwoo in the burning house. As a result, Sangwoo was left with severe burns and hospitalized— however, his cause of death weren't those wounds, it was instead an old woman that suffocated him with a pillow.
  • Lima Syndrome: Sangwoo somewhat cares about Bum in a toxic way, as a Replacement of his mother. The Author confirmed in her notes that Sangwoo never saw Bum as Bum, but as his mother, so it's not exactly Lima Syndrome.
  • Mind Screw:
    • Because Bum has a tendency to hallucinate and imagine possible outcomes, it's not always clear what is and isn't real at first.
  • Mr. Fanservice: The author reminds the reader often of just how physically attractive Sangwoo is.
  • Mistaken Age: Many characters constantly mistake Bum for being way younger than he actually is, or even his gender when he was forced by Sangwoo to wear women clothes. Bum is actually 4 years older than Sangwoo, much to the surprise of 2 females when Sangwoo told them that, as Bum looks so young.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: When Bum kills Jieun in Chapter 19, he only does so because she triggered intense flashbacks of a female classmate rejecting him, Sangwoo abusing and manipulating him, and him completely disassociating from his surroundings, even drooling. Afterwards, he freaked out and felt remorse for Jieun's murder, having a nightmare about it and also feeling bad when he met his old crush from his high school time again who rejected him.
  • "Not If They Enjoyed It" Rationalization: Sangwoo raped Bum three times and tried to excuse it at the first time. At the second time, he physically abused Bum before raping him without consent who told him to stop several times, even bled, and then had a climax at the end.
  • Oblivious Guilt Slinging: The final chapter has Bum be visited by Jieun's mother, who grieves the loss of her daughter at his bedside and sees him as an innocent victim in the Sangwoo affair. She would have no way of knowing that Bum was actually an unwilling part of the reason her daughter died.
  • Older Than They Look: Bum's looks, naive mentality and love for frogs doesn't make it exactly easy for someone to tell that he's actually in his late twenties, but just doesn't grow facial hair, and looks as though he could just be entering high school.
  • Only Sane Man: Seungbae works in a department that's less than upstanding at times, and among the three main characters he's the closest thing to a picture of mental stability.
  • Phoney Call: Played for drama. Officer Seungbae is investigating Serial Killer Sangwoo's house for evidence on the pretext of a noise complaint. When he can't find anything in his first check, he pretends to get a phone call from his chief as an excuse to stay and observe the place longer. Unfortunately, while the phone is on his ear it starts ringing aloud with a real call from the station, making the deception obvious.
  • Police are Useless: Seriously, the cops in this universe most be complete and utter idiots. When investigating the death of Chief Kwak as well as the death of Sangwoo's Father it should have been obvious that the suicides were staged. For example, if a hanging body must be cut down, the rope is cut above the knot to preserve any potential evidence in the knot. Instead, the police decided to loosen the knot corrupting any potential evidence. Furthermore, it appears that there was barely even an investigation into the death of Kwak as the next scene after his body is found is his funeral and cremation.
  • Rape as Backstory:
    • Bum was raped by his uncle for years and was sexually abused in the military.
    • Even Sangwoo isn't exempt from this, as his mother raped him once, although he fought her off and was about to kill her.
  • Rape as Drama: Sangwoo raped Bum three times.
  • Resentful Guardian: Bum was given to his Uncle and Grandmother after his parents died. Bum's Uncle hated Bum because he's the child of his Ex, who left him for his brother, Bum's father, so he severely abused him. Bum's Grandmother was rather neutral, but told Bum to go like a dog once when he ignored her shortly after the Uncle abused him. She also told Bum that his Uncle wouldn't come one night, so he should sleep in his uncle's room, which resulted in the uncle coming home, stripping Bum off his clothes, violently abusing him with a cane and then raping him.
  • Sadistic Choice:
    • Zig-zagged. Halfway through Chapter 8, Sangwoo lets Bum choose what tools he'll be tortured with. Out of desperation, Bum suggests they do something else, but Sangwoo rebuffs his advances and instead directs his attention to a noose he personally created for Bum. Several panels later, Sangwoo carries out the throat-slitting he originally promised, but Bum doesn't die and only suffers from a split-open chin.
    • During the ski trip, he makes a young stepmother who got hurt in a ski accident with her stepson choose between saving herself or saving the boy. Of course she chooses the boy, but does so on the condition that Sangwoo kills her instead, which he seemingly does while her stepson dies after Sangwoo left because they were out in the cold. The ambulance in the day hinted at that.
  • Screaming Woman: When Bum enters the basement and finds a woman who just screams after all the abuse Sangwoo has subjected her to.
  • Self-Made Orphan: Seungbae thinks that Sangwoo is this. He's right.
  • Self-Harm: Bum self harms because of his loneliness and as a form of dealing with the severe trauma of his uncle's abuse, grandmother's abuse and the guys in the military abusing him. He then slit his wrists in Chapter 26 after Sangwoo forced him to talk about his traumatic past, accused him for having "consensual" sex with his uncle and calling him disgusting, making Bum break down in tears and shortly after attempt suicide.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Bum, toward Sangwoo, and a female in his high school time. This is due to both of them being the first people who showed, somewhat, of a affection to Bum, which he's never gotten before.
  • Schoolyard Bully All Grown Up: Yoon Jae bullied Bum when they were in primary and middle school and still did so after they meet over a decade later.
  • Serial Killer: Sangwoo killed unknown numbers of women, sometimes men, for years after abusing/torturing them. In the present, he killed one of his female victims Bum found in the basement, then one off-screen when Bum was sleeping, then the gay man he picked from the bar, then he intentionally caused Jieun's death, then a mother and her child and then Officer Park, the Father Figure of Seungbae.
  • Serial Rapist: Sangwoo raped Bum 3 times. Bum's Uncle raped him for years. The Guys in the military sexually abused Bum seemingly often.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: The last couple of chapters have Bum try to contact Sangwoo in the hospital to talk with him one last time. At the end of his journey, even risking his credibility, losing his leftover pocket change, and being misdirected to the wrong hospital rooms, he finally comes face to face with Sangwoo's ashes. He actually died the day Bum lost his money and had to turn back; had he just went to the ATM, Bum might have made it in time.
  • Stepford Smiler: Sangwoo is widely beloved by his peers, appears to be charming and polite to authority figures, and is the object of Bum's obsession; naturally, this does well to mask how Ax-Crazy he really is.
  • Stockholm Syndrome: Despite Bum actually loving Sangwoo at first, the moment he realized who Sangwoo actually was, he tried to escape several times, even trying to get help but with nobody believing him, and was basically forced to stay with him, with Sangwoo lashing out severe abuse on Bum and making him his unwilling replacement of his mother. Despite Sangwoo being severely abusive to Bum, Bum still feels empathy and sympathy towards Sangwoo when Sangwoo's acting more "kind" for once. Bum always tried to see the good in Sangwoo, and ways to change him, but finally realized at the end when Sangwoo tried to kill him, that Sangwoo never loved him.
  • The Deuteragonist: Oh Sangwoo.
  • The Bully: Yoon Jae and Min Jieun. Yoon Jae bullied Bum in his school days due to his shyness and asked once if Bum "is retarded". Even as an Adult, he looks down on Bum and out openly asked him how things would go with his Uncle and stated how Bum was always crying in school. Min Jieun is KIND of a bitch and arrogant. While Sangwoo was gone for a little while and left his friends with Bum, she and another girl made fun of Bum and also didn't care that he had to use crutches (Because Sangwoo broke his legs) and wanted him to go hime alone while Sangwoo stays with them.
  • The Sociopath: Sangwoo feels no remorse for his murders and lacks empathy. Sangwoo is pretty much only out for himself, freaked out once over Bum using self defense when Sangwoo attempted to drown him and didn't feel empathy when he forced Bum to talk about his traumatic past, even accusing him for having "consensual" sex with his uncle and calling Bum disgusting who breaks down in tears and slit his wrists shortly after.
  • The Protagonist: Yoon Bum.
  • Trauma Conga Line: Bum. His life is in a constant state of falling to pieces. He lost both of his parents when he was young. He got bullied on the regular, physically, sexually and emotionally abused by his uncle, emotionally abused by his grandmother, sexually abused in military, kidnapped by the guy he was stalking and then also got sexually, physically and mentally abused by him. By the time he makes it out the other end, he's even more damaged than when he started out.
  • Troubled Abuser: Sangwoo and Bum's Uncle.
  • Undignified Death: Sangwoo gets no karma, no flashy climatic battle, and no closure; when he does die, it's a complete accident, and done by an unrelated old woman who tried to shut him up by putting a pillow over his head, never even realizing she killed him.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Subverted. Bum hallucinated about his uncle chasing him and after Sangwoo killed the uncle later on. Sangwoo hallucinated later on that Bum is trying to poison him, which was actually by far not his intention.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Seungbae's partner Officer Park, who tells Sangwoo that "his cousin" (in reality, Bum) has dropped by his house.
  • When He Smiles: Bum hardly ever smiles, understandably so due to his traumatic life, but when he does, he looks like a innocent, happy child, especially at the end of Chapter 37.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Officer Seungbae in Chapter 13, who thinks he can outmaneuver and outsmart Sangwoo, but only avoids a grisly fate by sheer luck.
  • Would Hurt a Child:
    • Bum was physically abused since he's little by his Uncle and always full of bruises.
    • The ski trip features Sangwoo choosing between killing a little boy or killing the boy's mother. While he doesn't actually kill him, Sangwoo does still put snow over the kids eyes and leaves the kid out to die in the cold.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Most of Sangwoo's victims are female and he pulled Jieun by her hair when she tried to escape. When Bum entered Sangwoo's house when he was gone, he found one of his victims in the basement, a bruised female, which he then tried to help. Unfortunately, Sangwoo suddenly appears behind Bum with a bat. When Bum woke up, Sangwoo shit-talks the female which he killed while Bum was unconscious, and saw her nothing more than a toy.
  • Wrench Whack: Sangwoo throws one at Jieun to prevent her from escaping.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: When Bum entered Sangwoo's house when he was gone, he found one of his victims in the basement, a bruised woman, who he then tried to help. Unfortunately, Sangwoo suddenly appears behind Bum with a bat; when Bum woke up, he finds Sangwoo mocking the woman's corpse, revealing that he killed her while Bum was out cold and that he saw her as nothing more than a toy.


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