Our readers interview Richard Corben, Part 1(2)
Appeared in 1984 [SPA] #46, Nov. 1982 (pgs 44-46, in a column called, “Fantas, Ciencia ficcion, Comic”, i.e. “Fantasy, Science Fiction, Comics”).
DEN is a sexual hero, so I believe emphasizing his genitals is the best way to show this attribute of his personality.
A.R. Themeliadou (Barcelona): Never thought going to the psychoanalyst in order to unveil that mystery of your subconscious so inclined to genital exuberance?
RICHARD CORBEN: This is a smart question. The simple answer is NOT. However, friend Themeliadou, your words insinuate there’s something abnormal in a character with large physical proportions, genitals included. I must protest in this regard. For apparently you are atacking my character DEN, I have to point out DEN is a hero, maybe even superhuman. Emphasizing physical atributes to suggest higher physical faculties is my style when representing a hero, as his muscles for example. Since DEN is a fantasy character, I felt free to exaggerate his body near the absurd. At last, with regard to your main concern: DEN is a sexual hero, so I think the best way to show this attribute of his personality is emphasizing his genitals.
Why did you draw pubic hair in girls Mount of Venus back in your “underground period” and why don’t you do it now?
Rarely I have time or inclination to ponder my motivations to draw this way or another. These questions force me to do so. In this case, something trivial becomes relevant. For me, the reason to draw hairless pubis is that, in artistic sense, pubic hair is an amorphous mass that destroys the true sculptural form. Have you ever wondered why in most of classic Greece statues feminine pubic hair is never shown, and masculine only occasionally? From a graphic perspective, this dark hair is a kind of defect that breaks a graceful line or puts an annoying accent where it shouldn’t. Many primitive peoples have the habit of shaving the pubis as a way to beautify their bodies. In my case, omitting body hair is just a slight idealization.
Do you consider yourself a draughtsman with fixed stereotypes? (Muscular and shaved heroes, voluptuous girls and the word LOCNAR, repeated in some stories that have nothing to do with each other)
Yes, maybe you’re right. In fact, I think in my work I’m finding an archetype, not just a simple stereotype. I’m looking for the hero and heroine essence. That is the reason for emphasizing men muscles and genitals and putting abundant breasts and less muscles in women.
In regard to the word Locnar, I used this name in two stories. In 1969 I did an amateur movie called Neverwhere, which is the origin and the basis of DEN comic. There was an scepter called Locnar in the film. Long after, in 1975, I was working from an outline by Gil Kane and John Jakes where there was a character called Locnar. This similitude is a coincidence. However, I got myself into a mess with the names and made use of the name Locnar in DEN. I promise I’ll never use this name, except in DEN’s continuations.
Germán Arratia (Logroño): How much you get paid for a color comic page?
I don’t think I get paid enough. This is my opinion. My critics say that I’m overpaid. Usually I can pay my expenses, but I am not, by no means, a rich person. My financial goal is to earn enough money to continue with my films and other artistic activities.
Haven’t you ever thought about leaving the drawing and applying yourself on more profitable activities?
I have considered the idea, but it will never happen. Sometimes I enjoy making book covers and portfolios, but I will always come back to comics. Even if I fail in my career as a comic book artist, I would continue doing them as a hobby.
Jorge Carrillo (Burgos): Do you often use models for your stories?
At the beginning, with DEN and BLOODSTAR, I used live models for some of the main characters in the stories. I did so in order to achieve more consistency in drawing details, such as lighting, shading and gestures. However, I don’t draw straight from photographs. I change some models’ figure to fit the character that I have in mind. For other characters I model a sculpture of the head to use it as a reference. But many times I create the character totally based upon my imagination.
Creativity depends only on oneself. Drugs can only darken and distort imagination.
Have you ever taken any kind of drugs to help you create any of your characters or stories?
Not. Creativity depends only on oneself. Drugs can only darken and distort imagination.
Is DEN your more ambitious work? Will you continue producing 3rd, 4th, 5th parts?
DEN is my favorite work, but it won’t go on forever. He appears in my current project DEN III, which will serve to clarify the story. Then, I have no more plans for DEN in the short term.
Carlos Climent (Valencia): Many of us believe that, compared to your previous Works, your picture quality has declined with DEN II. Is it a symptom that you’re more interested in the commercial aspect due to your word reputation?
I’m afraid that you rush to judge me. I ask you to wait for the story comes to its end, and then compare it with any of my works. I believe there’s a technical advance in terms of image rendering as well as more subtle and controlled use of color. My goal with DEN II was to overcome DEN I and I had to be less dispersed and labyrithine, which is to be revealed at the end of the story. However, there’re a few chapters dealing with other character and not with DEN. I believe DEN fans object to it, since they judge the story as bad even before it’s finished. I hope they will review their opinion once DEN II is done.
There’s a monster that appears in DEN I in the pool of the pyramid: did you draw it based upon this other monster appearing among the ruins of a city in BLOODSTAR?
If you watch the drawings of the monsters in BLODSTAR and DEN again, you will notice that BLOODSTAR monster has a more defined configuration, a kind of giant worm. On the other hand, Uluthc in DEN is like ashapeless globule, a huge nightmare protoplasm.
Juan A. Puchades (Valencia): How many hours you daily draw and how long it takes you making a color page?
I’m used to work six to ten hours a day. I draw eight pages in black and white; then, I go back to do the color with acetate layers. Every eight pages chapter takes me around a month, photoengraving included. It comes to be two and a half days per page.
American cartoonists are generally younger and more inexperienced than their European colleagues.
Which are the differences you see between American and European comic? Which one do you prefer?
The vast majority of American comics deal with the usual superhero. European comics have more diverse themes. American cartoonists, with some notable exceptions, are generally younger and more inexperienced than their European colleagues. However, I prefer appraising a cartoonist based more on his individual work than in his origin.
Santiago Pastor (Valencia): Why you depict beings half human, half animal? What do you try to communicate?
It’s hardly surprising for a cartoonist to crowd his fantasy worlds with combinations of man and animal. These hybrids are a good resource that I go often, as did, for example, E. R. Burroughs, Poe, Lovecraft, C. A. Smith, Toth, Wood, Crane, G. Ingles, De la Fuente, Duillet, Giger, Eisner and others.
Eduardo Contreras (Madrid): At which age did you started working in the world of drawing and who published your first work?
My comics starded to appear in “fanzines” and Warren magazines when I was about twenty. About the same time I discovered “underground” comics and did some stories for LAST GASP.
Emilio Sánchez (Madrid): Despite being the darling of comic in Spain, what treatment do you get in your country? Do you consider yourself a number one?
I’m not the number one, nor it is my goal be it, neither in the USA or in Europe. My only aspiration is achieving a reasonable success and doing my best drawing comics and without interferences.
If you had to pick just a single work of all you have drew so far, which one would you choose? Why?
I would choose DEN and the original black and white version of BLOODSTAR. Finally, I would go for DEN, because it continues to have more adventures and possibilities. Even though BLOODSTAR is the best of my work in terms of story adaptation and drawing, still I can’t forgive the editor deciding rewrite the text and publishing again in color.
How did you allow they cover DEN’s “crank” in Heavy Metal movie and why weren’t you involved in this sequence drawing?
I refused to work in the movie when I noticed that producers wanted to end the film hastily and without any interest on its quality. I thought I was going to waste my time. I was promised DEN character and his nudity would deserve an honest treatment. When the film premiered, nobody was more surprised than I. In the poster that I drew them, DEN and KATH were dressed too. The contract allowed them to do everithing they want. I felt forced to sell them the rights for the movie, since they are my most important client in terms of comics.
Copyright © 2004 Heart-Attack-Series, Ink!
Created: June 29, 2004. Last updated: February 12, 2021 at 21:32 pm