0) “Neverwhere [the Movie]”
Appeared first time as an animation film Neverwhere [the Movie] (1968).
1) “Den [the Short Story]”
15 pgs. The original short story version (as a loose sequel for the animation film) appeared as 15 pgs story [COLOR] in Grim Wit #2 (1973) [VERS.1].
96+8 pgs. The extented full feature comic adventure version was printed first time in French magazine, a 4 part serial, Metal Hurlant #3 (1975) to #6 (1976) [VERS.2]. The Grim Wit short story was transformed to 32 pgs beginning of the story (pay attention, page 11 is already spread on two pages to have full 8 pg chapters, though that way a spread frame in the lower half of pgs 8-9 is split in half in different issues). It says “À suivre” (i.e “To be continued”) in the end, but was never completed [Alternatives].
Reprinted [B&W] (the 16 pgs beginning) in Richard Corben’s Funny Book (1976) [VERS.3]. Story goes on more 11 [COLOR] pgs. – In Funny Book there is only these first 27 pgs. The first part has even “tbc”, though Part two follows immediately after First.
Full feature version was reprinted (first time in English) [COLOR] in Heavy Metal #1 to #2 (1977) [VERS.2], where the same Grim Wit story appears again 16 first pgs of, this time, the beginning of full feature length evergrowing Den Adventure. “Den [I]” serial goes on monthly ten more episodes till Heavy Metal #12 (1978). It was reprinted [COLOR] as a full length album called Neverwhere (1978) [VERS.2]. After conclusion in Heavy Metal Corben added Farewell Episode in Heavy Metal #13 (1978) [VERS.4], which was not in Neverwhere version. All later reprints have Farewell Episode: [COLOR] in Den [I]: Neverwhere [Catalan] (1984) [VERS.4] and [COLOR] in Den 1: Neverwhere [Fantagor] (1991) [VERS.4]. The Farewell Episode, “Den’s Farewell”, was reprinted sepatately in Heavy Metal Specials: The Best of Heavy Metal [#1] (1982), and 15 Years of Heavy Metal (1992).
Den appears also as one (color) episode of adult fantasy movie Heavy Metal (1981); story in the movie follows Den [I] storytelling, though it is only an excerpt of it. The movie poster of Heavy Metal the Movie is Den.
Story/Color/Art: Richard Corben* (no signature in Grim Wit -part, but later as Richard Corben, © 1975, © 1976, © 1977). Lettered by hand (Corben) in old versions, and since Heavy Metal: printed.
*) Chapter 4 says, Color/Art: Richard Corben/[Herb] Arnold.
[VERS.2]: 96 pgs (original pg 11 spreaded as two [Alternatives]) full feature, without “Den’s Farewell”.
[VERS.3]: 16 [B&W] pgs + 11 [COLOR] pgs, only existing version in Funny Book.
[VERS.4]: 104 pgs (original pg 11 spreaded as two [Alternatives]) full feature, within 8 pgs “Den’s Farewell”.
[VERS.5]: Equals with [VERS.2], except the latter half [B&W]! Only in Italy, Alter alter.
Denmark [DK]: as “Den [DK] [I]”, as one in Den [DK] [I] (1978).
France [FRA]: as “Den [FRA] [I]: Voyage fantastique à Nullepart”, as a 4 part serial in Metal Hurlant #3 (1975) to #6 (1976), and as one in Den: Première époque (1978).
Germany [GER]: as “Den [GER] [I]”, as one in Den [GER] [I] (1989), and as “Die Reise nach Nirgendwo”, as one in Die phantastische Welt des Richard Corben #1 (1991).
Italy [ITA]: as “Den [ITA] [I]: Viaggio nel paese di Giammai”, as a 12 part serial [COLOR] in Alter linus #7/76 to #10/76, Alter alter #11/77, and [B&W] in #12/77 to #5/78 [VERS.5], and as “Den [ITA] 1”, as one in Den [ITA] 1 (1979) [VERS.4].
The Netherlands [NL]: as “Den [NL] ”, as a 12 part serial [COLOR] in Gummi #1 (1977) to #12 (1978) [VERS.2]and as one in Den [NL]  (1982), and as “Nooitland”, as one in Den [NL] 1.
Spain [SPA]: as “Den [SPA] [I]”, as a 13 part serial in 1984 [SPA] #22 to #34, and as one in Den [SPA]  (1978).
Sweden [SWE]: as “Den [SWE] [I]”, as a 12 part serial in Tungmetall #1/86 to #12/86, and as one in Tungmetall presenterar #4 (1991).
Yugoslavia [YUG]: as “Den [YSL] [I]”, as a 33 part serial [COLOR] in Stripoteka #880 (1986) to #912 (1989) [VERS.2].
- Part 1(12): [“My name is DEN”]. 8 pgs. Grim Wit #2 (1973) / Heavy Metal #1 & #2 (1977)
- Part 2(12): [“Uncle Dan is gone”]. 7+1 pgs. Grim Wit #2 (1973) / Heavy Metal #1 & #2 (1977). In Grim Wit pgs 3-4 as one.
- Part 3(12): [“Sacriface for Uhluhtc”]. 8 pgs. Heavy Metal #3 (1977)
- Part 4(12); [“Gel vs. the Queen”]. 8 pgs. Heavy Metal #4 (1977)
- Part 5(12): [“Insect attack”]. 8 pgs. Heavy Metal #5 (1977)
- Part 6(12): [“Ard’s treachery”]. 8 pgs. Heavy Metal #6 (1977)
- Part 7(12): [“The Queen vs. Den”]. 8 pgs. Heavy Metal #7 (1977)
- Part 8(12): [“Surprise from the friend”]. 8 pgs. Heavy Metal #8 (1977)
- Part 9(12): [“Uncle Dan and Gel”]. 8 pgs. Heavy Metal #9 (1977)
- Part 10(12): [“Kang’s prize”]. 8 pgs. Heavy Metal #10 (1978)
- Part 11(12): [“New sacriface”]. 8 pgs. Heavy Metal #11 (1978)
- Part 12(12): [“Return to Hell”]. 8 pgs. Heavy Metal #12 (1978)
- “Den’s Farewell”. 8 pgs. Heavy Metal #13 (1978). Not included in the original Neverwhere print.
- Parts are untitled. Only “Farewell” has got a name.
Style: Colored with overlay technique, except Ch. 4 & unpublished page (printed in Flights into Fantasy): Fully Painted Colors. Genre: SF/Fantasy. Time Span: Ancient fantasy. Nudity: Full frontal nudity, both males and females.
Keywords: Transformation. Dream world. Love. Fight for life. Magic. Betrayal. Stones.
Original Art Plate: 25,4 x 35,6, 27,95 x 38,75, and 28,9 x 36,2 cm (Grim Wit), and 28,9 x 38,4 cm (Heavy Metal) [Source: Angoulême, 2019].
Synopsis: A miserable boy transports himself into Barsoomish (Edgar Rice Burroughs!) dream world of voluptuous girls and well hunged guys. In Neverwhere, where he ends up, there is also enemies and monsters, magic and sorcerers as a part of everyday life. Because of the help of his Uncle Dan’s writings and formulas he becames Den, muscular well hunged adonis. He meets all Den Adveture’s main characters: Indian girl with bells and lizard the ride, beastie men and sorcerers, Kath the love (she came from Earth too, but from year 1892 – good for nothing girl becomes a voluptuous beauty, indeed) and the Queen, the bad Kath (doppelgänger). There is also Loc-nar, the magic power stones (see J.R.R. Tolkien’s Silmarillions of his Middle Earth stories) the Queen is after. In Farewell Episode Den meets finally his good friend Zeg, who appears in Corbens other stories time after time. Zeg used to have a simple servant, but he lost it before he met Den.
Comment: Den in it’s the most brilliant period. Corben in his best. His own story of the first adventure of Den is very good. The name of the powerful scepter, “Locnar”, was used before as the name of Bloodstar’s rival in “Bloodstar”, though there it was spelled “Loknar”.
Alternatives: Page 11 of the original story (only in Gril Wit [VERS.1]) has been divided on two pages later in all reprints [VERS.2]. That is to get full 8 pg chapters, though that way a spread frame in the lower half of pgs 8-9 is split in half in different chapters. The original 4×4 frame page is now enlarged as two 3×3 frame pages. The last frame of page 11 is totally new (an exremely close up of Indian girl); on a new page 12 there is only eight frames to make 3×3 frame page (a lower left corner is empty). Read more.
Special: In Neverwhere (1978) version, the title “Den” is replaced with the title “Neverwhere”.
Humour: On page 7 you can see a visible hard on on Den, while he is watching the Indian girl with bells…
Extras: Den’s Legacy, a full length run through of entire Den’s adventures (beware a major spoilers!).
Mirrorworld: There is a lot of evidence that Neverwhere is a dreamworld, a mirrorworld similarily to Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, except here we are talking about an adult version. Den rimes with Corben; if you drop the beginning and mirror letter “b” it becames “d”. There is a character called Ard which is short from RichARD. But more about mirror thinking in Neverwhere. The place where Den ends up in the beginning of the story is defined by Kang on pg 39, “the ruins at Neborc”. That is an anagram for Corben. Also the ultimate evil from the deep is called Uhluhtc. That is the reverse spelling fo Cthulhu, a monster created by H.P. Lovecraft. A thin teenage boy is transformed in Neverwere into a muscular stud, a shy plain girl into voluptuous sex symbol. If the main arena is reversed as Corben, does it mean we are litterally “neverwhere” but inside the head of the artist? On pg 40 Kang is addressing Ard being rich. He is Rich Ard. :7
Corben: At the time I had intended to continue [“Den [I]”] in the distant future. But when the fellow said he wanted some more, I didn’t think it would be so soon, and so it’s kind of poorly constructed because it’s so segmented. There are segments written years apart. The first two chapters were written at one period, the third chapter with an outline for a full-length story that was written later on. There were some problems, and I wrote an ending for it in one more chapter, and then these problems worked themselves out so I rewrote it again for the full length. [Heavy Metal #52, July 1981, Interview, Part 2]
Den [ITA] [I]. Part of Italian version of Den [I] was in B&W.
Copyright © 1997 Heart-Attack-Series, Ink!,
Created: September 4, 1997. Modified: August 29, 2018.