Exclusive Min S. Ku Interview[Date: September 10, 2001]
Min S. Ku is a comic book penciller. He's pencilled issues #43, 50 and 60 of Superman Adventures (as well as contributing to 2 pages of the famous #41). He also did a few fill-in issues of Batman Beyond (issues #7, 13 and 14) and will be pencilling a few issues of the up-coming Justice League Adventures title, starting with issue #1.
The Superman Homepage would like to thank Min for agreeing to do this interview, and for fitting it into his busy schedule.
Click on images to view larger versions.
Q: Can you please tell us a little about yourself and what you do?
A: I am a freelance artist working mainly in comics and I've been doing this for about 2 and a half years.
Q: When and How did you become a Comic Book fan?
A: My earliest exposure to a "super-hero" was in the form of a Japanese sentai show called "Kikaider" which was a red and blue android that wasn't quite complete yet, but could still defeat the evil monsters of Dark. I also watched a lot of those early Marvel cartoons that were semi-animated (like Captain America, the Submariner, Iron Man, the Hulk and eventually Spider-man) and I could belt out the catchy theme songs from each show (Captain America throws his mighty shield... okay i'll stop now). I received my first comic books from my younger sister, who brought home these great Marvel and DC books because her first grade teacher was passing them out. A lot of those "free comics" were such classics like the Hulk #181 (first appearance of Wolverine), an X-men issue where the old X-men stood on one side and the new X-men stood on the other side with Prof X in the middle, an issue of Justice League of America where Superman was battling Shazam... From that moment on, I was hooked on comics!
Q: When and How did you first get to work on comic books?
A: I started making my own homemade comics as early as the fourth grade I think... I'd start with say Spider-man foiling a bank robbery and somehow I'll end up with a big gang war! Of course I'd throw in guest stars galore like the Punisher battling it out with the Vigilante (DC's answer to Marvel's Punisher); But I always wrapped up the story by the time I got to the end! Boy I was creative then! I used to just draw with a ballpoint pen directly on bond paper, where I'd be doing the dialogue as I go along; I'd even color the thing with color pencils (markers were nice but it bled through the paper which was bad since I used both sides!).
Q: When did you first decide that you wanted to work on comic books?
A: I've loved comics for as long as I can remember. But I never thought you could make a living doing comics. I was three years into college, working for a business degree when I read an article about Jim Lee and how his X-men #1 broke all sales records. Jim was easily making six figures from Marvel at the time according to the article and I realized that I could pursue my childhood dream of drawing comics and not starve for it! Little did I know that not everyone in comics make six figures! But hey, at least I'm not starving (at least not yet! Knock on wood)...
Q: Where did you go to college?
A: I graduated from the University of Hawaii with a bachelors in business management. I wanted to pursue comics full time, but since I was almost there, my Dad convinced me to complete my college education just so that I'll have something to fall back on, in case comics didn't work out. I then attended the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Arts in Dover, NJ for three years.
Q: How did you go about becoming a comic book artist? What was your first big break into the industry?
A: I've been trying for many years to "break into" comics. I interned at Marvel, I tried the convention route and I enrolled and completed the Joe Kubert School. My big break was at a NY convention during my last months at the school where a Marvel editor loved my stuff and he passed my samples along to Ralph Macchio, who asked me to draw Spider-man in the animated style (I got paid for those samples too!). Ralph then gave me a 16 page Spider-man Unlimited story which was only available through Wizard magazine (Spider-man Unlimited #1/2). Literally two days after I received the Spider-man offer, I got a call from Warner Bros Animation letting me know that I passed a storyboard test I took of Batman Beyond, and that they wanted me to do some storyboards. I couldn't take the assignment at the time due to the Spider-man gig as well as a wedding reception I had to attend (especially since I was the groom!) so the WB animation gig got postponed. Towards the end of the Spider-man assignment, I got a call from DC to work on my very first DC assignment which was Superman Adventures #43! I eventually got to do some storyboards for WB animation. If you're a fan of Batman Beyond, I worked on the episode titled "Curse of the Kobra, part two."
[The 2 links below will take you to a comic strip titled "...To Become A Comic Book Artist!" This strip (which Min created during his time at the Kubert School) is a parody of what a lot of artists go through to break into the comic book industry.]
A: Sure! We all know the rewards of working in comics; but there is A LOT of work involved.
Q: In your opinion, is the comic industry still a strong business?
A: I haven't been in the industry long enough to give you a good answer. But every industry goes through its ups and downs.
Q: Who's your favorite comic book hero?
A: It's always been Spider-man. As far back as I can remember... I've always been a Marvel fan for as long as I can remember. But Bruce Timm made DC characters very cool, and now I personally think DC has the coolest characters! I LOVE the current Justice League (animation) roster! I wouldn't change a member!
Q: What comics do you personally read?
A: Lately I haven't been reading anything new; when you work in the industry the magic sort-of disappears. I occassionally pick up a book here and there based on recommendations from friends and fanzines. The last thing that got me excited over a monthly book was the first time Mark Waid and Ron Garney took over Captain America. Of course if there's anything being done by Timm, I'd pick it up in a heartbeat!
Q: What version of Superman is your personal favorite (Comics, TV, Movies)?
A: This will sound like a biased answer, but it's Bruce Timm and company's Superman from the animated series! Ed McGuiness's Superman is a lot of fun as well.
Q: Can you let us in on any up-coming storylines you are working on or will soon be working on?
A: When a meteor lands in an American suburb, the League is called on to investigate. Soon they are drawn into an intergalactic conflict, but it seems as if the real threat may be one of their own: Green Lantern... okay... I lifted this from DC's November solicitations... It's a great story written by Ty the Guy Templeton, and it really involves all 7 members of the Justice League.
Q: What's it like being part of the "Justice League Adventures" team? What are the rest of the team like to work with?
A: My only contact with the other creators is the editor, Dan Raspler. Occassionally I'll ask the writer for clarifications in the script, but I really don't communicate with the inker, letterer or the colorist. I only recently found out who inked my first two stories.
Q: How did the position of "Justice League Adventures" penciller come about for you? Who contacted you?
A: Even though I had 6 fill-in issues under my belt, I still had to mail in some samples to my editor. He liked what he saw and the rest is history!
Q: Other than "Justice League Adventures", what else are you working on at the moment? What plans do you have for the immediate future?
A: Justice League Adventures is pretty much the only thing I'm working on at the moment. I made the mistake of taking on too many assignments at once last year and my art suffered for it. I want to devote 110% to each assignment I work on, so it's best for me to tackle one assignment at a time.
Q: How long do you anticipate you'll remain on "Justice League Adventures"?
A: I have no idea. I always get nervous after I complete a script because it might be my last.
Q: What is the biggest difference between drawing the "Superman Adventures" version of Superman compared to the "Justice League Adventures" version of Superman?
A: The new Superman is a bit older, a bit wiser and a lot more mature. The Justice League is like a dysfunctional family and Superman is like the head of the household. Each Leaguer has his/her own personality and it's such a hoot to have these characters interact and play off of each other!
Q: What about the other characters? What are the major differences in the way they look? Will Aquaman wear his old costume, his current one, or both of them in the comic series?
A: I've heard that Aquaman is slated for one episode on the tv series; As far as I can tell, he's not a member of the Justice League (maybe a part-time member?). At San Diego, Timm showed a redesigned Aquaman with the long hair and the fish-hook. The Flash is probably the closet character to return "untouched." I think he loses the dark black circle outline on his chest. The Jon Stewart Green Lantern retains the original costume of Kyle Rayner from the Superman show except he now has green boots. No face mask of course. Batman looks a bit slimmer from the grey and black Batman -- and he now has colored highlights in his costume and of course his ears are longer!
Q: In regards to "Justice League Adventures", how do you feel about drawing so many characters within the one book?
A: I've never done a team book before and so I was a little apprehensive at first. But as I started on the book, I realized for me, it's not so bad... and it's as cool as heck to see all the best super-heroes in one panel! I felt like a big kid in a candy store... I also never got to draw Gotham Adventures, so doing this book got me my Batman fix! I'm definitely having fun on this series! Of course, i can't WAIT for the cartoon to debut!
Q: Who would you like to see play Superman on the big screen in another Superman movie?
A: I'm not sure... I'm just glad Nicolas Cage isn't playing the Man of Steel.
Q: What do you think of the Superman Homepage?
A: It's a great website... the BEST Superman website I've seen on the web! It's clearly organized, easy to navigate through and I love those rotating images of different versions of Superman!
Q: Do you have any bad habits?
A: A whole slew of them! Spending too much time on the internet, procrastination, eating too much...
Q: What is the best advice anybody ever gave you?
A: Draw everyday.
Q: Who would you most like to sit next to on a long airplane flight?
A: My wife!
Q: Who would you least like to sit next to on an airplane flight?
A: Marilyn Manson
Q: What is the one thing you can't live without?
A: The internet! I think I spend more time in front of the computer than the TV!
Q: If you were down to your last $10 how would you spend it?
A: Having come across this situation MANY times, I'd save it!
Thanks for allowing me to interview you!
This interview is Copyright © 2001 by Steven Younis. It is not to be reproduced in part or as a whole without the express permission of the author.
All illustration images are the property of Min S. Ku (except the "Justice League Adventures" cover which was drawn by Bruce Timm and remains the property of DC Comics) and have been used here with his permission. Note: The two Kikaider paintings were done with acrylics and the X-men homemade comic book was created Min during high school.
IntroductionThe Superman Homepage has had the pleasure of interviewing various Superman Comic Book creative people about their work.
Question and Answer Interviews:
- Interview with writer Marv Wolfman about Man and Superman: The Deluxe Edition (November 2019)
- Interview with artist Claudio Castellini about Man and Superman: The Deluxe Edition (November 2019)
- Interview with artist Joe Staton about working on Superman properties over the years (November 2019)
- Interview with Christopher Priest about the Superman vs. Deathstroke story in Deathstroke #8 (November 2016)
- Interview with Sterling Gates about the 'Adventures of Supergirl' digital-first comic book series (January 2016)
- Interview with J. Michael Straczynski about Superman: Earth One - Vol. 3 - Writer J. Michael Straczynski talks to us about the third volume in the Superman: Earth One graphic novel series (February 2015)
- Interview with Jim Krueger - Writer Jim Krueger talks to us about his The Dark Lantern story in the Adventures of Superman comic book title (November 2013)
- Smallville: Season 11 Interview with Bryan Q. Miller - Writer Bryan Q. Miller talks to us about his work on the Smallville: Season 11 comic book title (October 2012)
- Supergirl Interview with Mahmud Asrar - Artist Mahmud Asrar talks to us about his work on the monthly Supergirl comic book title (July 2012)
- Superman/Batman Interview with Joshua Hale Fialkov - Joshua Hale Fialkov answers our questions about The Secret 3-part story in Superman/Batman #85-87 (July 2011)
- Supergirl Interview with Sterling Gates - Sterling Gates answers our questions about where Supergirl is headed post War of the Supermen (June 2010)
- Supergirl Interview with Sterling Gates & Jamal Igle - Adam Dechanel chats with the Supergirl comic book team about the Maid of Might (March 2010)
- Behind the Scenes of the Super Friends - Four part indepth look at the Super Friends comic book title with artists J. Bone and Stewart McKenny (February 2010)
- Interview with Landry Q Walker and Eric Jones - The writer and artist discuss Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the Eighth Grade (May 2009)
- Interview with Elliot S! Maggin - Legendary Superman writer and novelist discusses his career (January 2009)
- Interview with J. Bone - Artist discusses Super Friends comic book (November 2008)
- Interview with Mark Bagley (September 2008)
- Interview with J. Torres - Writer discusses Legion of Super Heroes in the 31st Century #18 (September 2008)
- Interview with Jake Black (May 2008)
- Interview with Cary Bates (June 2008)
- Interview with Jack Briglio - Writer discusses Legion of Super Heroes in the 31st Century #14 (May 2008)
- Interview with Ken Pontac - Writer discusses Justice League Unlimited #44 (May 2008)
- Interview with Karl Kerschl (April 2008)
- Interview with J. Torres - Writer discusses Legion of Super Heroes in the 31st Century #13 (April 2008)
- Interview with J. Torres - Writer discusses Legion of Super Heroes in the 31st Century #11 (February 2008)
- Interview with Fabian Nicieza - Writer on Superman comic books (June 2007)
- Interview with Danny Fingeroth - Writer of the book Superman on the Couch (May 2007)
- Interview with Jesse McCann - Writer on the Krypto The Superdog comic books (December 2006)
- Interview with Matt Haley - Artist on the Superman Returns comic book movie adaptation (November 2006)
- Interview with Ethan Van Sciver - Artist on Superman/Batman (September 2006)
- Interview with Mark Verheiden on taking over the writing duties on Superman/Batman (April 2006)
- Interview with Matt Idelson on taking over as Superman group editor (March 2006)
- Interview with Jeph Loeb on Sam and Superman/Batman #26 (February 2006)
- Interview with Roger Stern (December 2005)
- Interview with Marv Wolfman (November 2005)
- Interview with Gail Simone (May 2005)
- Interview with Greg Rucka (April 2005)
- Interview with Brad Meltzer [Identity Crisis] (January 2005)
- Interview with Glenn Whitmore (November 2004)
- Interview with Jeph Loeb (September 2004)
- Interview with Karl Kerschl (September 2004)
- Interview with Ron Garney (September 2004)
- Interview with Greg Rucka and Matthew Clark (May 2004)
- Interview with Ed McGuinness (March 2004)
- Interview with Brad Meltzer [Identity Crisis] (March 2004)
- Interview with Mark Millar [Superman: Red Son] (March 2003)
- Interview with Min S. Ku (September 2001)
- Interview with Jeph Loeb (May 2001)
- Interview with Joe Casey (April 2001)
- Interview with Mike S. Miller (September 2000)
- Interview with Denis Rodier (August 2000)
- Interview with Grant Morrison (December 1999)
- Interview with Mark Millar [Part 2] (November 1999)
- Interview with Mark Millar [Part 1] (April 1999)
- Superman vs. Terminator - A Chat with Fight Promoter Alan Grant. (January 2000)
- Superman: The Dailies (1939-1940) Graphic Novel Review.
- The Rebirth of Superman (Part 1) - Superman is reborn... again.
- The Rebirth of Superman (Part 2) - Eddie Barganza on taking the character in a new direction.
- The Rebirth of Superman (Part 3) - Jeph Loeb discusses writing the Man of Steel.
- Lex Luthor For President - Forget Superman. An updated Luthor's new enemies are Gore and Bush.
- Superman: Last Son of Earth - Steve Gerbern Interview - The writer discusses flip-flopping the Man of Steel's origin. (August 2000)
Krypton Club Interviews:
When Lois & Clark started production in 1993, there was an obvious relationship between the comic book people and the Hollywood people.
A trade paperback Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, was published, with Dean Cain and Teri Hatcher on the cover. It included reprints of comic book stories that were the inspiration for Lois & Clark, helping to define the characters. Comic's included are: The Story of the Century (Man of Steel miniseries #2), Tears for Titano (Superman Annual #1), Metropolis - 900 mi (in SUP #9), The Name Game (SUP #11), Lois Lane (in ACT #600), Headhunter (AOS #445), Homeless for the Holidays (AOS #462), The Limits of Power (AOS #466), and Survival (ACT #665).
A number of comic book writers and artists had roles as extras in the episode I'm Looking Through You (Season one, episode 4). Their presence was immortilized in the Sky Trading Card #34.
Craig Byrne, president of the online Lois & Clark fanclub The Krypton Club, carried out a series of interviews with comic book writers. The interviews are reprinted with permission of the Krypton Club.
- Interview with Roger Stern (June 1995)
- Interview with John Byrne (June 1995)
- Interview with Mike Carlin (July 1995)