Vampire's Bride, by Kim San-ho
The Vampire's Bride (Scary Tales #1, 1974)

Kim San-ho (or Sanho Kim) was a Korean manhwa artist, who regularly worked for US comic books. While most Korean comics of the 1960s were based on sad themes, Kim San-ho stood out for his science fiction and adventure comics. He grew up during the Korean War, and made his first comic strip, called 'Mr. Manhong', for a Busan newspaper while in a refugee camp. After having studied Western painting at Seorabeol Art College in Seoul, Kim San-ho started his career in comics with 'The brilliant Twilight Star' in 1958.

He had his breakthrough with the sci-fi bestseller 'Lifi, the Fighter of Justice' in 1959, that was a great morale boost during the period of economic distress after the Korean war. With his rich imagination in the science fiction genre, he further created the fascinating universe of his 'Rhye Pye' (or 'Frieple') series between 1961 and 1967. He subsequently drew comics in several genres, such as western, adventure, crime, and war stories.

Deadly Hands of Kung-Fu by Kim San-ho
Deadly Hands of Kung-Fu #16

In 1966, he moved to the United States, where he began his own publishing house. He also served as art director of the magazines Off Broadway and Village Times. By 1969 he started working for American comic books. He was a popular artist for Charlton Comics, starting with a publication in the January 1969 issue of  'Fightin’ Marines'. He then illustrated stories for comic books like 'Billy the Kid', 'Cheyenne Kid', 'The Many Ghosts of Doctor Graves', ' Ghost Manor', 'Ghostly Haunts', 'Ghostly Tales' and 'Haunted'.

House of Yang by Kim San-ho
House of Yang 1

He was also vital in the comic books published during the kung-fu hype of the 1970s, most notably Charlton's 'House of Yang', about a 19th century martial arts artist, and Marvel's 'Deadly Hands of Kung Fu'. In 1973 he published the graphic novel 'The Sword and the Maiden' with Michael Juliar at Iron Horse Publishing. He also contributed stories with Asian influences and settings to the black-and-white horror magazines of Warren Publishing (Vampirella, Eerie), Skywald Publications and Marvel Comics (Monsters Unleashed).

The first manhwa artist to be published in the USA, Kim San-ho returned to South Korea in 1996. He continued his comics career in his home country with historical works like 'Daejusinjeguksa' ('History of Great Korean Empire'), 'The Duman River' and 'The Story of the Big Bouddha', comics in which he combined western painting with comics art.

Rhye Pye, by Kim San-hoGhostly Tales

Series and books by Kim San-ho you can order today:


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