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Bloodstar [Ariel] Introduction

Appeared in Bloodstar [Ariel] (Sept. 1979), on pg 7.

Richard Corben, 38, is an artist of unusual talent. Born, raised , andeducated in Kansas City, his background includes film animation ,sculpture and oil painting. Yet it is through his work in the underground comics of the early 1970s – in publications such as Slow Death, Fantagor, and Rowlf – that the Corben style began to attract attention. His subsequent work in magazines (Creepy, Eerie, HeavyMetal), books (illustrating the fiction of Edgar Rice Burroughs and Philip Jose Farmer, among others). album covers (Meat Loaf,MorningStar), and movie posters (Phantom of the Paradise) has consolidated his reputation as one of fantasy’s master artists. A book-length adaptation of his little-seen animated film, NeverWhere, was released in 1978, and a fully illustrated version of Arabian Nights appeared earlier this year.

Fritz Leiber has written that Corben “reaches far back into time for his fundamentals … hunters and their weapons, witch doctors and their rituals, animals feared and revered … and the single figure of a man, one more statuesque and entirely natural animal, imaginative andfeelingful and lonely and wondering about the mystery of his existence. “

BLOODSTAR is vintage Corben. His mastery of human anatomy and his distinctly cinematic storytelling techniques – employing movement, photographic lighting, and pacing – are dramatically in evidence and represent Corben at the top of his form. Originally created in black and white for a limited edition, BLOODSTAR is replete with some of Corben’s most evocative images: velvet-skinnedbeauties, unimaginable terrors from lightless depths, savage fights, hellish rituals, and muscled barbarians who stride magnificently across gently waving grass lands.

Like most romantics, Robert Ervin Howard felt he lived in the wrong place at the wrong time. Born in 1906 and a suicide thrity years later, he spent the majority of his life in Cross Plains, Texas. There, in the dust bowls of the American southwest, he spun wondrous tales ofdemonic necromancers , golden slavegirls on silver racks, unspeakable gods and barbarian kings who lived and loved in a time before recorded history.

Howard wrote short stories for the pulp magazines of the 20’s and 30’s, the popular magazines that delivered quickly-written fiction of every genre – cowboy, sport , detective, intrigue. Yet it was the arresting clarity and power of his heroic fantasy that lives to thepresent day, more widely read than the wizard of Cross Plains could ever have imagined.

Howard ‘s most famous character, Conan, lived in a time called the Hyborean Age, an age after the sinking of Atlantis and before the beginning of recorded history. Through his writing, Howard evokes the elemental passions man felt before centuries of civilizationdiluted the intensity of his existence.

The tale of Bloodstar and his duel with the King of the Northern Abyss is adapted from one of Howard’s most splendid stories, “TheValley of the Worm”.

JOHN JAKES, who adapted the original short story to this full-lengthillustrated version, has emerged as one of the decade’s most successful writers with his American Bicentennial series, which detailsthe saga of the Kent family. He is also the creator of Brak and Barbarian and such fantasy works as Mention My Name in Atlantis and Asylum World.

JOHN POCSIK, who contributed additional text and dialogue, a former Arkham House writer, is the author of STARCROWN and theforthcoming fantasy novel ELFSPIRE .

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Created: December 30, 2019. Last updated: December 31, 2019 at 22:10 pm

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