This site is dedicated to Richard Vance Corben and his brilliant comic artistry. He was born in October 1, 1940 in Anderson, Missouri, and his life was later quite a bit guided by a certain Virginian guy in an Arizona cave (John Carter of Barsoom, the main character from the books by Edgar Rice Burrough started his journey to Mars similar way as Den did, see Neverwhere the Movie).
Richard Corben’s main characteristic is a sword and sorcery.His protagonist, Den was created in 1969 in a 15-minute animation film “Neverwhere”, and then later was developed, almost as a sequel into a short story in the comic book format. Later he expanded the comic into a full, feature-length adventure, also called Neverwhere. When this was well received, he went on to do seven more continuing Den stories. To date Den’s [David Ellis Norman (sic!)] last adventure appeared in Penthouse Comics under name of “Denz”. Den’s world is clearly inspired by another science fiction/fantasy world: Barsoom. Though Edgar Rice Burroughs’ world of John Carter in Barsoom (Mars) contains only minor sexual content.
In Barsoom the weapon of choice is a sword; in Neverwhere people handle their problems with not just a sword (and sorcery), but more particularly, with kickboxing. Corben concentrates his interest on the kick choreography so passionately that it makes his style all the more inimitable and exotic.
As in Barsoom people in Neverwhere are mostly naked, but in Richard Corben’s world the men are well hung and muscle-bound and women are at their most voluptuous, not to mention their hairless crotches. Corben uses physically exaggerated stereotypes, even pushing them to humoristic proportions. And yet his fantasy is rendered in a most realistic style. As a contrast to these beautiful American ideal heroes, he draws a lot of gruesome and violent beasts and monsters.
Women in Mr. Corben’s stories are ultra feminine (male chauvinistic dreams), but remember, that they are always the stronger sex in his stories. If anybody is the fall guy, it is a man.
His background in film-animation constantly shows through in his comic work. His skilful montage technique successfully combines action, movement and mood, making its cinematic quality highly, professional and unique.
Richard Corben is a better comic artist than a storyteller. Throughout his career, he has worked regularly with writers, such as, Jan Strnad, Richard Marcopolous, Simon Revelstroke, and Bruce Jones. At different times, he has illustrated stories by Doug Moench, Clark Ashton Smith, and William F. Nolan, among others. His adaptations include several horror classics by Edgar Allan Poe, H.P. Lovecraft, William Hope Hodgson, fantasy/science fiction by Robert E. Howard, and Ray Bradbury.
During his underground period Richard Corben had a few rare collaborations with other comix artists, he mostly works on his own. For his color work he has used help, mostly from Herb Arnold. At the end of his Fantagor publishing period he let Beth Corben to do the color work. These days, he is working on a lot of limited projects, which have different people for script/art/letters/colors, among the best is the colorist José Villarrubia.
Switching between color and B&W, has never been a problem for Corben. He is at his best with both techniques. Still, I myself, think that his most memorable works are B&W art with Zip-a-tone. And, for me, his early B&W works, such as “Bloodstar” or “Rowlf”, are not as impressive in color.
B&W or color, his magical fantasy world, with a little bit of eroticism thrown in, is a sight to behold.
Thanks: the basics of this site come from The Official Underground and New-wave Comix Price Guide (1982) by Jay Kennedy and The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide (several) by Robert M. Overstreet. I also thank Rick Obermeyer, the Corben fan who has the biggest and most extensive of Richard Corben lists that I’ve ever seen (mainly because of him, I now have the Books section). Thanks also to all Corben fans around the world who helped me to build up the other sections. In the Heavy Metal section I have to thank Kimmo Isokoski (early items), Paula Heinonen (items later than my own collection) and the most recent ones, from the Heavy Metal Comics Index – site by Lakoma. And, last but not least, the comic shops, like Kukunor and Fennica-Comics. Thanks to all of you.
Copyright © 1997 Heart-Attack-Series, Ink!
Created: August 27, 1997. Last updated: December 9, 2018 at 11:51 am