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Illustrates with Wolves

Illustrates with Wolves aka Werewolves of Richard Corben

Written by Leena Peltonen (© 1992 Leena Peltonen)
Translated by SidSid Keränen (© 2002 SidSid Keränen)
Appears here with permission of author.
Appeared first time in Finnish Comic Society‘s Sarjainfo #74 (1/1992) in Finnish as “Richard Corbenin ihmissusisarjat, Piirtää susien kanssa”. [PDF]

Werewolf, a man becaming a wolf, as the theme of the story is as old as the tradition of the narrative stories. In different variations curse, witchcraft or alike transforms a human being to the body of the wolf with a more or less beastie mind, or the spirit of the story has a medical psychosis called lycanthropy, a kind of insanity in where the victim imagines himself to be a wolf, or the form of wolf is just symbolic frame for released bloodthirsty instincts out of humanity.

Werewolves is the theme Richard Corben has adored to explore during his career. His most important stories are collected inside of a Catalan Communications album, called as Werewolf (1984). Samples are beautiful and interesting, and the album gives a good cross-section of different styles of Corben. The original printing years of stories are poorly credited in the album. Copyright years cover 1979 to 1984, though for example the famous The Beast of Wolfton was made in 1972. You cannot say is there a chronological or any other order of stories.

The first story is B&W Dead Hill, which looks like one of his early works. You can identify in this story Corben’s style of enlarged physical attributes, but there is not yet the unique mixture of caricature, realism and tongue in a cheek humor, that makes reader to hate or love Corben’s works. The plot takes place in a dark medieval and is as simple as poorly constructed. It variates the most common werewolf story; on a moon rise our furry friend is totally different than we expected.

Next on the album is the most Corbenish story, The Beast of Wolfton This bloody, cruel, and openly sexual drama takes place in medieval village called Wolfton, where stygorons has conquered krinders. The son of Krind king wants to revenge his family’s death by taking the strong beasty form of moon god Drogim. To slaughter stygorons, works well until he faces the most dangerous enemy, the voluptuous Chabitan. The Beast of Wolfton is not only one of the best Corben’s art work, it also has special strong deepness by it’s conflict with the nature of both main protogonists. Under the beastie surface krind-warrior is self-sacrifice, innocent, even care. The lock-hair, voluptuous Chabita looks like made for love making, but she’s frigid, cruel ja calculative. You can find the same composition, though less effective, in the kind of a sequel, The Spirit of the Beast.

Roda and the Wolf is Corben’s very own Little Red Riding Hood variation. It lays almost completely on pictures, and as a matter of fact the minor dialogue in it is the language unknown for me, though it does not disturb any intelligibility. We all know the conversation of big ears and eyes and teeth, but Grimm brothers could blink their eyes as astonished of this very version.

According jolly good old Slemmy (i.e. Uncle Creepy), the story Lycanklutz is from Warren perioid (in Shokki in Finland). The plot is really sick. Silver is one of the best ways to get rid of werewolf. A visitor approaches the castle of baron Talbot (!). The tradesman Cardiff proposes his invention to him. It is the incredible silver-fanged fleas to erase a creature of supernatural horrors on the full moon night. They plan a trap to infect frees to werewolf, but mean baron put tradesman as a bait. Although the trip for merchant was long, and he’s got an extra trick on his sleeves as well; he peddles with both opponents to save his own life by selling to werewolf a 30 day flea collar.

Till this moment all werewolves have roamed in past. Change… into something comfortable is an urban Halloween story. Of course people have harrowing mistakes on our werewolf. But the werewolf does mistake too on a night of masks. This story is also hosted by Slemmy, and it is more experimental on plot and artwork than previous ones.

The end of the album is Fur Trade which takes place in the small colony of New World. Difficult winter has brought hunting wolves on the streets of colony. There is a rumor that among beasts is a shape, not completely beast, not completely man. Reverend understands the real truth and wins the trust of his enemy. He gets the witchcraft practising man Flint to fight against werewolf. Third main character on the story is fur trader du Nord, who is the very werewolf suspects by reverend. From all the werewolf stories by Corben Fur Trade is the most loyal on traditions. There is several (without too much pointing out) details on werewolf tradition: to be born on Christmas Eve risks to be transformed werewolf, after death of werewolf he will be back his human figure, skinned human belt etc. Rare and surprising reference is fur trader du Nord, who hob-nob with predators. He’s like a fade remind of Russian wolf hunters, lukasches, who’s got mystic relation with beasts. Fur Trade’s artwork is more elecant than Corben’s styles usually, and undeniably it fits on this more reflective morality story.

Corben’s werewolf figures differs from movie world’s pointy ear gorilla lookalike all dressed up wolf-man to almost wolf-a-like occasionally on two feet standing creature. In every cases it is full of destructive strength and primitive horrorness. And it is not only instinct running beast, but there is also a human side. As in Corben himself.

Copyright © 2017 Heart-Attack-Series, Ink!
Created: March 12, 2017. Last updated: April 11, 2021 at 6:43 am

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