Our readers interview Richard Corben, Part 2(2)
This part appeared in 1984 [SPA] #47, Dec. 1982 (pgs 47-48, in a column called, “Fantasia, Ciencia ficcion, Comic”, i.e. “Fantasy, Science Fiction, Comics”).
For many people, DIMENTO is one of the most interesting characters in the history of comic. How you came to create him?
RICHARD CORBEN: To create MUTANT WORLD, I first conceived the environment and scenery and then developed Dimento character. I wanted him to be different from the typical hero, strong and handsome. And also more vulnerable and funny and sometimes pathetic, less inteligent.
Ramón Ortells (Castellón): Be honest: was DEN intended to be something beyond a commercial story of fantasy, adventures, sex and violence?
DEN’s first adventure appeared in GRIMWIT, an underground comic. It had less sex and violence than the rest of underground comics by the time. Despite being a personal fantasy, I think it was appealing enough to become popular in Europe. I never imagined it would succeed and would spread in two books by one hundred pages and a third in preparation. If commercial success had been my only interest, I would have created a “dope head” hairy character.
Javier Puerto (Sevilla): I think your work is very influenced by Lovecraft. Is this true?
Yes, you’re right. Imaginary horror themes abound in my work. Lovecraft was a master of this genre.
Fernando Ramos (Jaén): Did you learn to draw by yourself, or were you taught at the Art Instute of Kansas City?
I started drawing as a child. I think this is common to all cartoonists. But the Art Institute gave me great help with life drawing classes. This class is by far the most important activity in any school of drawing.
Ignacio Sánchez (Madrid): Where did you learn to color your pages with the photochrome technique that you use?
I made up my technique. However, I later discovered that in some ways my method is very close to the standard procedure used in comercial and comic drawing. My method differs from it in that layers are applied straight over the base drawing when photographing and they are removed one by one for succesive exposures.
I’m proud of appearing along with spanish artists in some magazines.
Is DEN a reflection of your personality or a longing for what you want to be?
To some extent, many cartoonists put their own traits in their characters. Whether consciously or unconsciously. I gave DEN many features that are worth admiring, which is a kind of illusion.
Ignacio M. Trejo (Getafe): What is your opinon about the Spanish comic? Do you belive that we have here as good artists as abroad?
There’s a long list of great comic artists and writers in Spain. Victor De la Fuente, Carlos Giménez, Alfonso Font, Fernando Fernández and Segrelles, all of them world class, are among my favorites. I’m proud of appearing along with them in some magazines.
Juanjo Vellisco (Palencia): Will there be now a DEN III or, on the contrary, will you surprise us with a new series? Tell us about your projects.
There will be a DEN III, but you’ll have to wait a bit. First I would like to do some shorter stories. JEREMY BROOD is a book I’m about to finish, written by Jan Strnad. The character could be defined as a “cosmic social worker”. I’m preparing a story for PILGOR THE PLUNDERER which is based in a character from SCENES OF THE MAGIC PLANET portfolio. There’s also possibilities of adapting things by Poe, Lovecraft and C.A. Smith. Then, maybe another JEREMY BROOD or DEN III story.
Tell us the name of a comics character that you feel admiration for.
It’s easy: DEN.
José A. Nova (Valencia): How do you fell more comfortable: making your own scripts or working with other writers?
Naturally, I prefer my stories, but they have certain deficiencies. I must learn to develop my ideas into better stories. This is what I do when working with other writers I admire, such as Jan Strnad and Bruce Jones. And there’re others that I haven’t dared to address.
Which character seems more interesting for you: BLOODSTAR or DEN?
I prefer DEN, but I understand that others stay with BLOODSTAR. BLOODSTAR is more tragic and intense, but unfortunately it is a finished work. BLOODSTAR isn’t my property and I’m not working back on it. DEN has also his tragic side, but much less so. In the end, DEN’s problems come from his confusing love life.
Juan José Serrando (Mollet Vallés): What kind of paint or technique you use to make your color drawings?
I use a mixed system. I start using acrylics to end with oil paintings. In the middle stages I use the airbrush with acrylics. It’s something I wouldn’t recommend if not done with great care, since acrylics can dry in the device, clogging it beyond repair.
My stories are aimed at an adult audience.
Rosa Maria Prats (Barcelona): World most important cartoonists syndicates are in the United States, so, why have you choosen a Spanish agency to represent you?
In my oppinion, the best agency is one that allows me keeping my drawings and “copyrights”, does not force me submitting projects and gets best profits and terms all the world over. Selecciones Ilustradas is this agency.
Miguel Fuentes (Zaragoza): Do you consider that your work is for adults, or would you let your small sons read your stories (if you have sons)?
My stories are aimed at an adult audience. Some experience, insight and maturity is required to appreciate the finer details of the subject and the drawing. High intensity scenes or “forbidden topics” may disturb or be incomprehensible to immature readers.
Bernardo González (Gijón): It’s obvious you put a lot of attention on drawing the foreground figures, but you neglect those in the background of the panel or those small-sized. Is it a deliberate decission or have you any trouble drawing small human figures?
Yes, Bernardo, I have troubles with small drawings and so I place them in the background. Actually, detailing selectively is a method to drive reader’s attention from more irrelevant pieces to the most important ones.
Francis Guy (Madrid): Which is most outstanding in your work, the artistic or technical?
This is a very important question I’m always worried about. Ideally, artistic aspects should be the most important. But actually, both are linked and are inseparable from each other, in the same way words and ideas are when writing. I am very interested in technical issues, and occasionally this interest is reflected in my work. Sometimes this interest may become more important than it should.
Which is the best way to become a great cartoonist?
I don’t really know how to answer this question. I would only dare suggesting that, if your interest for comic is vital, you should study and work very hard.
Fermin Huerta (Montornés Vallés): The fact that you have reached the top in comic world, using so many techniques (many of which are invented or improved by yourself) and you also practice other visual art forms as cinema, photography, sculpture, etc, is it because you’re a genius or have you devoted more time and energy than others all along your life?
After some of the most critical questions I had to answer, it should be clear that I am far from being a genius. I have to work and study a lot more than many other cartoonists for my work can compete with them in the highest level.
Aren’t you afraid there comes a time you won’t be able to surpass a former drawing?
I’m afraid this has already happened several times. Normally, I try to solve the problem by making a style or technique change and going in a different direction to avoid comparisons.
Copyright © 2004 Heart-Attack-Series, Ink!
Created: July 1, 2004. Last updated: February 12, 2021 at 21:55 pm