Frank Cho was a guest artist at our 2018 Nickel City Con event. To see this year’s lineup, click here.
Frank Cho is an award winning Korean-American comic strip and comic book writer/artist, known for his series Liberty Meadows, as well as for books such as Shanna the She-Devil, Mighty Avengers, Hulk, and Savage Wolverine for Marvel Comics, and Jungle Girl for Dynamite Entertainment. Cho’s art style is characterized by his figure drawing and precise lines.
Cho was born near Seoul, Korea in 1971, but moved to the United States at the age of six, along with his two brothers and their parents. Cho was raised in Beltsville, Maryland. When Cho was ten, his older brother, Rino, brought some comic books home, and Cho started copying the art. When a friend saw that Cho was able to reproduce the artwork without tracing them, he urged Cho to illustrate comics for a living. From that point on, with the exception of some basic art classes, Cho refined his abilities by himself without any formal training, finding influence in Depression-era comics as Prince Valiant and Li’l Abner, and in the work of artists such as Norman Rockwell, N.C. Wyeth, Andrew Loomis, Al Williamson, and Frank Frazetta.
After graduating from High Point High School in 1990, he attended Prince George’s Community College and was offered a scholarship to attend the Maryland Institute College of Art, which he declined because he disliked the school’s academic focus. Cho would ultimately attend and graduate with a B.S. in Nursing from the University of Maryland. Cho wrote and drew a cartoon strip called ‘Everything but the Kitchen Sink’ in the weekly Prince George’s Community College newspaper The Owl, where he was also comics editor. He then started drawing the daily strip ‘University Squared’ for The Diamondback, the student newspaper at the University of Maryland. During his final year in college, Cho received his first professional comic book assignment, doing short stories for an independent publisher along with Al Gross and Mark Wheatley.
After graduation, Cho adapted elements of this work for use in a professionally syndicated strip titled Liberty Meadows. After five years of doing Liberty Meadows, Cho grew weary of the arguments with his editor over the censorship of the strip, as well as the pressure of the daily deadlines, and pulled the strip from syndication in December 2001, though he continued to print it uncensored in book form.
During the course of his work on Liberty Meadows, he also did occasional cover work or anthology work for other publishers. These included the Marvel Comics titles Ultimate Spider-Man Super Special in 2000, The Amazing Spider-Man #46 in 2002. In addition to independent books like Savage Dragon #100, Hellboy: Weird Tales #6 in and Invincible #14 in the early 2000s. He then began doing full interior work on other Spider-Man books for Marvel, including issues #5 and #8 of Marvel Knights Spider-Man in 2004 and 2005, respectively, and The Astonishing Spider-Man #123, also in 2005.
Marvel’s then-senior editor Axel Alonso, who had been impressed by Liberty Meadows, approached Cho about revamping the third-string character Shanna the She-Devil, a jungle lady who first appeared in the early 1970s, as a college-educated defender of wildlife and opponent of firearms. Cho, seeing possibilities, recast Shanna in a seven-issue, 2005 miniseries as an Amazonian naïf, the product of a Nazi experiment with the power to kill dinosaurs with her bare hands but an unpredictable lack of morality. Cho then penciled issues 14 and 15 of Marvel’s New Avengers in 2006, and illustrated the first six issues of Marvel’s 2007 relaunch of Mighty Avengers with writer Brian Michael Bendis. Around this time he also took on the role of plotter and cover artist of Dynamite Entertainment’s Jungle Girl. In 2010–2011, Cho illustrated writer Jeph Loeb’s run on New Ultimates for Marvel Comics. In 2011 he worked on the miniseries X-Men: Schism with writer Jason Aaron.
In January 2013, as an expansion of the Marvel NOW! initiative, Marvel premiered Savage Wolverine, a series written and illustrated by Cho that stars both Wolverine and co-stars Shanna the She-Devil and Amadeus Cho. The ‘Lost World’ type story that comprises the first five issues was intended to evoke a ‘classic adventure feel’, and was inspired by the Indiana Jones films and the pulp horror of H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos.
In February 2016, Cho teamed with writer Greg Pak on the Marvel series Totally Awesome Hulk, which sees teenager Amadeus Cho become the newest incarnation of the Hulk. Cho drew the first four issues of the series, his final page of which represented the end of his 14-year exclusivity contract with Marvel.
Cho was then hired by DC Comics to draw variant covers to some of their titles like Wonder Woman and Harley Quinn. He also recently completed the writing and drawing of the Skybourne miniseries for Boom! Studios.