Read Alex Grand’s Understanding Superhero Comic Books published by McFarland Books in 2023 with Foreword by Jim Steranko with editorial reviews by comic book professionals, Jim Shooter, Tom Palmer, Tom DeFalco, Danny Fingeroth, Alex Segura, Carl Potts, Guy Dorian Sr. and more.
In the meantime enjoy the show:
Alex Grand interviews Benton Jew, Storyboard Artist / Concept Illustrator / Comic Book Artist who has worked on various characters like She Hulk, Wolverine, Agents of Atlas, Venom, Wonder Woman and independents like Monster Verse. Benton Jew was a storyboard artist on The Incredible Hulk, Fantastic Four and Logan, Venom, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman films. He was also a costume illustrator on Thor.
🎬 Edited & Produced by Alex Grand, ©2021 Comic Book Historians
Music – Standard License. Images used in artwork ©Their Respective Copyright holders. Images used for academic purposes only.
Benton Jew Interview by Alex Grand at San Diego Comic-Con 2019
📜 Video chapters
00:15 Childhood comic influences
02:06 When started storytelling?
02:34 How started in comic business?
03:36 Projects worked-working on
05:11 Wrapping up
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Transcript (editing in progress):
Alex Grand: Benton Jew. Benton, how’re you doing?
Benton Jew: Hi. How are you? Good to see you, good to be here.
Alex Grand: Benton, tell us about your childhood influences of comic books before you got into the business.
Benton Jew: I guess when I was growing up, I would spend a lot of time at my grandmother’s house and I would look at all my uncles comics, and those comics went back to the forties. As a kid growing up in the ’70s, it was great to see influences flowing back to Zorro or Joe Kubert’s Our Army at War,
things like that. Or at that time the more modern stuff like Dave Cockrum doing Legion of Super-Heroes or something like that. Or whatever Neal Adams was doing, who I was a big fan of, and so I had a broad breadth of comics from going way back, and also being Asian-American, I would look at the Chinese comics as well and things like that. And then I learned a lot about European comics, and mid-ground comics as they would be called, all the Warrens and stuff like that, so I had a pretty broad breadth growing up.
Alex Grand: Yeah. So it sounds like you liked pretty much any country, any genre, as long as the comic art was good?
Benton Jew: Yeah. Basically art was the thing. I started drawing at a very young age, and my mom learned how to draw, she was an art student, so she gave us all her art books when she decided to give up art and become a teacher. So we grew up on Andrew Loomis and books like that to learn how to draw from, but then other stuff, but the stuff that we really like to do is draw comics and stuff for movies. My main stock and trade is doing storyboards for films. So movies and comics were the things that fed my knowledge of storytelling and comics.
Alex Grand: So that’s interesting. So storyboarding and comics, that’s a visual storytelling basically. Now when did you figure out you had a knack for that?
Benton Jew: Pretty early on. I guess by the time I was in first grade I was already selling pieces of art. “Hey, draw Superman having sex with Wonder Woman.” So, “Okay, there’s your nickel,” Okay, so…
Alex Grand: Like a Tijuana Bible or something.
Benton Jew: That’s how kids learn how to draw I guess, starting from that, but…
Alex Grand: Sweet adolescence. So now what got you into the comic business? How’d you get in?
Benton Jew: Actually I always wanted to be a comic book artist, but also the movies were on the side because I just wanted to draw comics, but then by the time art school came around, I was able to get a job working in Industrial Light & Magic doing storyboards. Probably because my portfolio had some complex style stuff in it and one of the people who recommended me is a big fan of old style comics. And my artwork tends to be kind of in an old, old style. I showed it to the storyboard artist for Indiana Jones and he was a big fan of Stan Drake and Leonard Starr
, “Your style kind of looks like that.” And so he remembered me and then years later he said, “Well I have this job,” that ILM wanted him to do, but he couldn’t do it so he said, “Yeah, you guys get some guy who draws that don’t sell comics,” and that’s how I got into working at ILM.
Alex Grand: Now tell us some of the projects you’ve done for various comic companies like Marvel and some of the independents.
Benton Jew: I did some stuff for COMICSWORKS. I did some stuff for MonsterVerse, kind of Warren type stories and I did the very first full story with the new She-Hulk unit in Hulk Family #1. And then I also did a short comic, short backup story called Wolverine: Agent of Atlas. It was a backup in the Agents of Atlas that came out in 2008 I think. So that, just a few scattered appearances and stuff all around, so…
Alex Grand: So what projects are you working on now?
Benton Jew: I’m working on mostly storyboarding movies.
Alex Grand: That’s your bread and butter, basically.
Benton Jew: That’s my bread and butter, yeah. The next thing that I think that’s big that will be coming out will be the new Mulan movie I worked on, the Mulan movie and things like that. So I ended up working on a lot of superhero movies. Yeah, I’ve worked on Wonder Woman and Logan and Venom and stuff like that. So we’ll see. There’s some other stuff that might be coming up. So I’m keeping my fingers crossed.
Alex Grand: Well, that sounds great. Well, Benton, thank you so much for the interview today and we wish you a great Con.
Benton Jew: You too. Thanks a lot.
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Use of images are not intended to infringe on copyright, but merely used for academic purpose
Interview © 2021 Comic Book Historians