Derek Kirk Kim

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Derek Kirk Kim
DerekKirkKim APE04.jpg
Kim, photographed at the 2004 Alternative Press Expo (APE) in San Francisco.
BornGumi, Gyeongsangbuk-do, South Korea
Area(s)Cartoonist, Writer
Notable works
Same Difference, TUNE, Mythomania, Adventure Time
AwardsXeric Award, 2002
Ignatz Award, 2003
Eisner Award, 2004
Harvey Award, 2004
Eisner Award, 2010

Derek Kirk Kim is a Korean-American writer, artist and filmmaker. He is currently directing on Amphibia, an animated series airing in 2019 on the Disney Channel. He was also the lead character designer of Adventure Time and a storyboard artist for Green Eggs and Ham. He is also the writer of TUNE and the writer and director of the spin-off webseries, Mythomania. He won all three major comics industry awards, the Eisner (2004), the Harvey (2004), and the Ignatz Award (2003) for his debut graphic novel Same Difference and Other Stories. (The contents of which were originally serialized on his website, formerly known as Lowbright, and Small Stories). This collection of short stories was first published with the help of a 2002 Xeric Award. Kim has also worked on numerous animated shows and shorts, including "Sympathy for Slenderman," a Webby Award nominee in 2014.

Early life[edit]

Kim was born in Gumi, Gyeongsangbuk-do, South Korea. He came to the United States when he was eight. He considers himself fortunate to have received formal training in the visual arts and in the craft of writing. He now lives in Los Angeles, California.


All of his stories reflect, to a greater or lesser degree, his personal experiences. He offers poignant tales with an ever-present dash of humor. His drawing style is realistic and clean, based on the "clear line" school made famous by The Adventures of Tintin creator Hergé. His story lines range from the naturalistic to the fantastic.

Most of the hostility and criticism of Kim's work seems to be self-directed (either explicitly or by skewering protagonists who resemble their creator), perhaps reflecting the influence of Robert Crumb.

Kim had begun serializing Healing Hands, his follow-up to Same Difference, on his website Lowbright, until he decided to abort the project on July 16, 2006. Healing Hands was to be published as a print graphic novel by First Second Books. Same Difference and Other Stories has been translated in French and is published in France and distributed in that country and Belgium, Switzerland and Canada by the publisher 6 pieds sous terre. It has also been translated into Korean, Spanish, German, and Italian.

He appeared in Adventures Into Digital Comics, a 2006 documentary on the comics industry.[1]

Kim followed this with numerous anthology contributions and collaborations. He illustrated a story in the original Fables graphic novel 1001 Nights of Snowfall, and worked for Nickelodeon magazine. He also contributed the short story, "Maiden and the River Spirit" to the first volume of the Flight series. In 2007, Kim wrote a YA graphic novel for DC Comic's Minx imprint called "Good As Lily," illustrated by Jesse Hamm. In April 2009, he illustrated "The Eternal Smile: Three Stories" - a collaboration with Gene Luen Yang - which garnered Kim his second Eisner Award, this time for "Best Short Story."

He also wrote a comic called TUNE, illustrated by Les McClaine after the first ten chapters.[2] The first volume in this ongoing sci-fi/comedy series, Tune: Vanishing Point, was published by First Second Books and released in 2012. The second volume, Tune: Still Life, was released in 2013. The last update to the site for the comic was made in March 2013.[3]

In March 2011, Kim debuted as a filmmaker with the release of "Raina Lee Vs. The Infinite Garage," a documentary short. In July 2011, he debuted the 1st episode of "Mythomania," which he wrote and directed. This comedy webseries about a group of aspiring cartoonists is partially drawn from Kim's real life experiences early in his career as a fledgling cartoonist.

Kim also works in animation as a storyboard artist for "Green Eggs and Ham", a Netflix show produced by Warner Brother premiering in 2018. His previous credits include "Adventure Time," "Axe Cop," "Golan The Insatiable," "Major Lazer," "Lucas Bros Moving Company" and "High School USA." The animated short, "Sympathy for Slenderman" for which Kim contributed character and background designs was nominated for a Webby Award in 2014.


  1. ^ "Icon Film Festival". Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2012-08-02.
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