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An Interview with the Mind Behind 'Priest'

Category: Priest News (Archived)
Article Date: January 24, 2003 | Publication: TOKYOPOP | Author:
Jake Forbes

Posted by: admin

Jake Forbes - our Senior Editor in charge of Priest - conducted the following email interview with Priest creator Min-Woo Hyung. It appears in Vol 3 of the manga, as well.

Jake Forbes: What was the first manwha that you worked on and what was it about?

Min-Woo Hyung: Chronicle of a Hot-blooded Judo King was the title of my first manwha. The concept, in of itself, isn't unique. It's rather a common young adult theme, written purely to entertain.

JF: When did you first begin work on Priest? How did you come up with the concept of combining Spaghetti Westerns with gothic horror?

M-WH: Priest was conceived from Blood, an American PC game developed by Monolith Productions, Inc. The idea of a resurrected zombie as the protagonist, totally fascinated me. Initially, I took the subject matter and began writing a novel, then later decided to draw it instead. In order to preserve the initial charm I experienced from the game's character, I avoided delving further into the character's imaginary world. From an early age, I've always loved Gothic Horrors and Spaghetti Westerns, and Priest was very conducive to both genres. It was rather an easy harmonization of both genres, and they naturally and seamlessly seeped into Priest. (Of course, the game Blood was also created with a horror/western plot. Due to various reasons, both Blood and Priest are inseparably related.)

JF: Reading Priest, I'm amazed at how 'western' it feels. You did a remarkable job capturing the spirit of a Hollywood action movie. Were you influenced by movies in making Priest? Can you share any titles that influenced you?

M-WH: The first Western that I accidentally came in contact with was, Walter Hill's The Long Riders. I was never really interested in cowboy movies until I saw this movie, though you'd be hard pressed to call it a Spaghetti Western. After this movie, I slowly started getting into Spaghetti Westerns. As a result, I discovered and came to admire Sergio Leone's works and especially Once Upon a Time in the West. This movie has so profoundly influenced me that any work I do now or will do in the future will inevitably mirror its stylistic overtures.

JF: The artwork in Priest is very different from other manwha I've seen. What were your influences?

M-WH: Hell Boy. The first time I saw this comic, I was blown away by its innovative and shocking style. To this day, I cannot forget that series.

JF: How did you become a manwha artist? Did you have formal training?

M-WH: No, I did not go through any general training course like other manhwa artists. However, like these fellow manhwa lovers, I did undergo a beginning course. And although I had considered manhwa as a mere hobby, now in my late twenties, it has become an occupation.

JF: In Korea, Japanese manga is quite popular, but I haven't heard about American comic books in Korea. Are American comic books readily available, and are you a fan? Are there any American comics in particular you like?

M-WH: American comics are very different from the manhwa Koreans have enjoyed and are used to reading. From production, to character development, everything is very different. Therefore, in order for Korean manhwa fans to enjoy American comics, American writers need to be mindful of their efforts (assuming that American writers desire to do so). Should we become exposed to American comics, through a long-term exchange, there is no doubt in my mind that American comics will become popular in Korea. I, of course, love American comics. Surprisingly the comics I read as a child were not Japanese manga but rather American comics. It all started with my aunt and uncle. My uncle, who is American, would visit Korea with my aunt and bring me American comic books. If I have to choose one, my current favorite would have to be CREECH by Greg Capullo.

JF: Priest is currently being adapted into an online game by World Netgames. Are you involved with the development of the game? How closely does the game follow your manwha?

M-WH: Making two publicity posters for this game was my only involvement. Although the subject matter for the game is from my manhwa, the creation of the game was the creative work of others. (I'm sure you can appreciate the irony. As you know my manhwa was derived from the game Blood and to see my work being made back into a game is very surreal. This type of reciprocal action or interplay is something you would see in Hollywood. Case in point, a Japanese manga-ka, after watching Mad Max, created Fist of the NorthStar, Hollywood, impressed with the manga, made a movie based on the manga. Although Priest and Fist of the NorthStar have been both heavily influenced and derived from their respective reciprocal works, they are undoubtedly new and different creative pieces of work.) The online Priest game has not yet arrived at the conclusion. Therefore, I obviously do not yet know what the differences are between my work and the game. The only thing I do know for sure is that my protagonist will not be in the game.

JF: Do you have an end planned for Priest? What will be the final volume?

M-WH: I've had some ideas for the ending but I'm not sure whether this ending will be feasible. I planned on ending the series at volume 25 but I'm not sure about that either. I'm not the methodical and prudent planner type.

JF: What do you plan to work on when Priest is finished? Do you have any other manwha stories planned?

M-WH: Warrior, cop, gangster, and skateboard ... I'm in the process of choosing from one of these subject matters. (I'm already in the process of developing a Warrior-themed manhwa in the US through Image Comics).

JF: Can you share any details on your project with Image?

M-WH: As stated in my previous answer, yes, I am. I am currently working on the manhwa through a joint publishing venture by a Korean and an American company. It's a work in progress, so I want to avoid mentioning anything about it. One thing I can mention is that the initial concept is completely in the style of American comics, however, beyond that, the style converts completely into my own.

JF: The black and white artwork in Priest is very striking. You use negative space better than any other comic I've seen. Do you prefer working in the black and white medium? Would you be interested in working on a color series?

M-WH: I really love those noisy black and white films with the distorted and elongated screen shots caused by dust and time. That is why I eliminated the margins, in order for Priest to give off a similar feel. I don't like tones. I don't like them because, they are bothersome, annoying, and all those manhwas that use tones appear to be tied together by one personality. I think drawing colored manhwas are great, although, I have yet to find a coloring method that would portray my individual characteristics. However, I am looking into ways of solving this problem.


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