Art/Design, History & Now, News & Events

Kim Jung Gi, an Illustration giant, has died at the age of 47

This one really hurts.

words by: Alee Kwong
Oct 19, 2022

South Korean artist, Kim Jung Gi, 47, died of a heart attack earlier this month, and the illustration world took a hard hit. Industry insiders at this year’s New York Comic-Con took time to speak about the enormity of his presence in their community, and how much of a loss it was. C.B. Cebulski, Marvel Comics’ Editor-in Chief, took time during one of the Marvel Comics panels to talk about how sad Kim’s sudden death was, how much he meant to illustrators everywhere, and how unfortunate it is that the world will not be able to experience his new artworks.


According to the South Korean artist’s social media page, Kim was on his way to New York Comic-Con from Paris, France when he began to feel severe chest pains. He was rushed to a nearby hospital and underwent surgery immediately but was later pronounced dead.



Kim began his journey drawing in the South Korean comics publication Young Jump before he created his own manhwa (a style of South Korean comic ) titled Tiger the Long Tail. He was best known for his freehand illustration, using no reference image or outline when he created, and extreme attention to detail in his large-scale artwork. He told Visual Atelier that for his most sweeping pieces, he had about “60% of the image in [his] head” and improvised the rest.


Jim Lee, publisher and chief creative officer of DC Comics, cited Kim as “one of the absolute greats” in a series of tweets about the South Korean artist. Kim had occasionally designed covers for DC series and participated in drawing workshops through the company.



“@KimJungGiUS was a truly phenomenal talent whose pen and brush wizardry captivated and inspired millions of fans around the world,” Lee tweeted. “While he drew some incredible comics, it was his live drawing & his sketchbooks about his life, travels and dreams which spoke to me most.”


Some of the works he’s illustrated for include Wonder Woman and Superman comics, and his incredible illustrations will live on forever. Rest in peace, Kim Jung Gi.


If you want to become a comic book illustrator, we have you covered.


Photo via Romuald Meigneux/Sipa/Shutterstock