I understand that manga is from Japan and read from right to left, whereas manhwa is from Korea, read from left to right, and manhua is from China, and read from right to left (If I'm not mistaken). Are these the only differences between the three, or is there something else?
What you listed cover many of the major differences, though there are others.
- From Japan
- Almost always black and white
- From China
- Full color with some panels rendered entirely in painting (1)
- Single issue format (1)
- From South Korea
- Usually horizontal, left-to-right
- Can be vertical, right-to-left, top-to-bottom (2)
The difference between manga, manhwa and manhua would be like the difference between amour, amor and amore. French, Spanish and Italian are all romance languages, so since love would be amor in Latin, you can see how the word stayed relatively the same in all three languages, but evolved to something that would fit more natural in the respective language. The same goes for comics in the south east.
Both Japanese and Korean is heavily influenced by the Chinese language. Their word for comic all stems from the same 漫畫. In countries where traditional chinese is still used, like Taiwan and Hongkong, you can still see the usage of 漫畫, this had become more simplified to 漫画, which you can see in Japan and mainland China. Korean differs from Japan, in the sense that they completely stopped using Chinese characters since King Sejong had created Hangeul for the poor and illiterate in the 1440s, so they started writing comics as 만화, but it was still based on the chinese 漫畫.
So as with French, Spanish and Italian slightly evolving the pronunciation, the same happened with Japanese and Korean, pronouncing mànhuà as manga and manhwa respectively.
Due to cultural difference, the read direction and such are obviously different. You can read more about this in kuwaly's answer.
All are from Asia, and the art style is totally different.
Chinese Manhua uses more slender characters: mostly for males it's the big muscles, large chest with a narrow waist, but female characters are slender and slightly thicker than Japanese Manga women characters and no overly large breasts or hips. But yet, all the characters in Manhua are simple, beautiful model type.
Japanese Manga, on the other hand, is more slender: no big, overgrown muscle types. Pretty much everything is stylized; from hairstyle, to clothes, and even facial expression. That's what keeps it funny but yet serious at the same time. Characters vary in shapes and sizes which gives variety, but more than most are built on the same platform.
South Korea Manhwa is a combo of the two, it uses all aspects of Manhua & Manga. The male characters look more feminine and sometimes drawn almost to look like the female, but its raw power of telling a story with pictures is beautiful.
So, what I'm trying to say here is if you're ever looking for a break for the soap opera America comics (such as Marvel and DC Comics) and looking for an intense genre of stories and art, check out Manhua, Manhwa, or Manga. They won't disappoint.
Regarding Chinese manhua, I wouldn't really rely on Wikipedia too much. Having looked at the wiki page, I can notice errors with what was written there by whoever wrote it. So, here's a Chinese view on it from someone who has lived in China and reads manhua.
I think what's also ignored is the fact that Hong Kong manhua is mostly oriented towards street-fighter style themes than most Japanese manga which is more diverse.
People seem to not pay attention to certain Taiwanese contributions as well, which are more talked about here: http://www.chinese-forums.com/index.php?/topic/36203-chinesese-comicsmanhua-taiwan-and-hong-kong/
Manhua can be:
- Read from left-to-right or right-to-left
- Black and White or full color (Mostly Hong Kong)
- Weekly or Monthly releases
Manhua has distinct storylines from manga and manhwa, which is due to cultural differences. (Yes, they're not "all the same" as you would like to think and, honestly, it is quite offensive to say that they are the same)
If you read a few manhua, manhwa, and manga that deal with cultural aspects, you will notice the differences. For instance, try to compare:
- Tales of Demons and Gods (manhua)
- The Breaker: New Waves (manhwa), and
- Chivalry of a Failed Knight or maybe Gate: Jieitai Kano Chi nite, Kaku Tatakaeri (I tried to pick something comparable, yet, most Japanese manga seem to focus around overdramatic school life or just plain scifi, thus why I put 2 recommendations for Japanese manga since the later is written by a former JSDF officer).
You will notice subtle differences brought forward by the distinct cultures of all three regions.
All-in-all, if you're not sure about something, I wouldn't suggest looking it up on Wikipedia.
Manhua and Manhwa are versions of manga. But each has distinct differences.
Main Types Difference:
- Made in different countries. Manga is made in Japan, Manhua is made (for the most part) in China, Manhwa is made in Korea.
- Different art styles.
- Different ways of publishing.
- Different storytelling trends.
- Different types and amount of types. (By types I mean like Shonen, Seinen…) And many more! If you want to know more, this is an in-depth article and probably the best on the topic, but its a bit of a hard read.
- Difference and Origin of Manga, Manhua, and Manhwa | GodAnimeReviews
- Manga: multi-panel and can be read from left-to-right or right-to-left
- Manhua: full-colored multi-panel and can be read from left-to-right or right-to-left too
- Manhwa: full-colored single-panel and read from top-to-bottom, I don't think manhwa can be read from left-to-right or right-to-left