Richard Corben Interview
Appeared in World of Fandom Vol. 2 #9 (1990), pages 34-35
Table of contents:
- Artistic background and the Underground comics
- Warren perioid
- Heavy Metal the Movie
- The Dark Planet
- Favourite movies and music
- Marvel and D.C. Comics
W.O.F. What were some of your influences and how did you get involved in doing comics?
R.C. As a kid I liked comics. The biggest influence to me were the EC Comics, especially the horror/sci-fi titles. All of the EC artist had an influence on me, but especially Wally Wood. As far as school, I went to a local high school and college at Kansas City art institute, basically that’s it.
Artistic background and the Underground comics
W.O.F. So your basic art training was at the Kansas City Art Institute?
R.C. Yes! But I must ad that at that time there was no major in comic books. They taught me the basics in art and I adapted it to comic books.
W.O.F. Didn’t you have a letter published in Famous Monsters in the sixties?
R.C. Yes, I’m a big horror fan. I love it!
W.O.F. What was it like working in the underground comics in the late sixties early seventies?
R.C. Actually it wasn’t like anything. I was out in the middle of the country and I only had indirect contact with the publishers and other artist. I only got an occasional letter or phone call and that’s about it.
W.O.F. Did you contact them or did they contact you.
R.C. What happened was I was interested in comics, so I wrote to fanzines and did some work for a few of them. Somebody, in San Francisco, showed one to Gary Arlington who had a comic book shop and this was when the first undergrounds were being published. He sent me a copy of Skull and said, “I should get with it” and I looked it over and agreed.
W.O.F. Were they paying for the art at that time.
R.C. Well sort of. lt wasn’t much it was just a pittence. I liked the complete freedom also I was about to do some work for Creepy and Eerie. They all appeared at about the same time.
W.O.F. Did you self publish or did you mostly work with other companies.
R.C. I published my own fanzine called Fantagore in 1970, which was in a magazine format. The first issue I published, the others were done by Lastgasp.
W.O.F. What was it like to work for Warren Publishers.
R.C. I was just glad to be doing monster comics. I was thrilled, of course, l had a day job at the same time. I was working for a film company in the animation department.
Heavy Metal the Movie
W.O.F. Did you like the way Den came out in the movie “Heavy Metal.”
R.C. (Laughing) It was alright. The animation was crude, but I thought the mood and the thrust of it was right.
W.O.F. Did you do any work on it?
R.C. No. The only thing they may have looked at was some of the art from the comic. But no, I was not directly involved.
The Dark Planet
W.O.F. Can you tell us about the new video you have out?
R.C. It’s live action with special effects and some claymation in it. lt’s a product that Bruce Jones and I started on 10 years ago. Bruce and I had been working on it off and on for years because we were never happy with it and kept working on it until we said we’re finishing it and this is it. It will be in comic stores and we’re working on getting it in video stores.
W.O.F. How have the sales of the video, through the comic stores, been going?
R.C. Better than I had hoped, so I think things will work out.
W.O.F. Are you working on any other products currently?
R.C. Well my publishing company takes all my time, we’re doing Den 8 now and then after #10 we’re going to do a project with Jan Strnad, sort of like Mutant World. It might be called Son of Mutant World.
Favourite movies and music
W.O.F. Do you read comics now?
R.C. (Laughing) No. It’s been some time since I’ve followed any comics. The only ones I read are the ones that are in my comics.
W.O.F. What kind of movies do you like?
R.C. I like the more supernatural ones more than the slasher ones. I liked “Alien” and “Aliens” and “Terminator.” I liked the first Freddy movie, but after that it became a joke. I also liked “Psycho” and ” Exorcist.”
W.O.F. What kind of music do you listen to?
R.C. Well I usually have a classical station on. I enjoy new wave stuff also. My wife just got me a tape from a group called Art of Noise.
W.O.F. Did you see the “Batman” movie.
R.C. (At the time of this interview) No I haven’t. I have a slight prejudice since Batman is killing my business. I’ll probably see it.
W.O.F. Well that’s about it. Do you have anything else you’d like to say?
R.C. Well no, I just appreciate all the people who buy my comics. I just wish there were a lot more of them.
Marvel and D.C. Comics
W.O.F. Well we hope a lot more people will too because they don’t know what they are missing. One last question, how come you’ve never done anything for Marvel or D.C.
R.C. I thought about it a couple of times. I believe at one point in my career Marvel and D.C. both approached me about doing work. They would talk to me about it and I had a big ego thing at that time and l said nothing doing, I’m a big shot with the undergrounds so I didn’t need them. Then later on I said to myself, I should try it. By then they were not interested.
W.O.F. Too bad because we would love to see you and Wrightson team up to do the ultimate Batmanstory. We think it would be great. (How about D.C., what do you think?) Thanks for the interview Richard and we wish the best to you and Fantagore.
R.C. Thanks and good luck to World of Fandom.
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Created: December 25, 2019. Last updated: February 12, 2021 at 22:36 pm