“(The Story of) Rowlf”
11+9+12 pgs. Appeared first time [B&W] in Voice of Comicdom #16 (1970) to #17 (1971). Reprinted [B&W] in (The Story of) Rowlf (fanzine, 1971), [COLOR] in Heavy Metal #32 (1979), #33 (1979) and #34 (1980) [VERS.3], and [COLOR] in Richard Corben Complete Works #3 (1987) [VERS.3]. There is actually only two parts in “Rowlf”, but for example in Heavy Metal they divide last part in two, part two and the conclusion (Complete Works is similar version with Heavy Metal).
Story/Color(prob. colored by overlays)/Art: Richard Corben (signed as Gore, 1971). Colors for “Bloodstar” are not by Mr. Corben. Maybe this story’s colors are either his!? Lettered by hand (unknown), in Heavy Metal: printed, in Complete Works mostly by hand (only demon language partly printed).
Most of [B&W] prints are [VERS.1], like [COLOR] [VERS.3].
Denmark [DK]: as “(Historien om) Rowlf [DK]”, as one [B&W] in Karat-serien #3 (1977) (story divided in two only).
France [FRA]: as “Histoire de Rowlf [VERS.2]”, as [B&W] in Actuel [II] #15 (1972), and as “Rolf” in Rolf (1975) (1st, [VERS.1]: [B&W], 2nd, [VERS.3]: [COLOR]).
Germany [GER]: as “Rowlf [GER]”, as one [B&W] in U-Comix Extra #3: Rowlf (1978), as one [B&W] in Comic Reader (1980), Rowlf [GER] & die Bestie von Wolfton, and as “Die Sage von Rowlf” in purple and white (!) in Horror Comics (1973) [VERS.4].
Italy [ITA]: as “Rolf [ITA]”, as 2 part serial [B&W] in Alter linus #5/76 to #6/76.
Spain [SPA]: as “[Historia de] Rowlf [SPA]”, as 3 part serial [COLOR] in Ilustracion+Comix Internacional #1 to #3, as one [B&W] in Infinitum Ciencia Ficcion #1, as one [B&W] in Rowlf [SPA] (1976), and as one [COLOR] in Richard Corben obras completas #6 (1986) [VERS.3].
Style: B&W with zipatone, reprinted with overlay colors. Genre: Fantasy. Time Span: Fantasy world. Nudity: Full frontal female nudity, male nudity from back.
Keywords: Beautiful princess. Dog. Groom. Sorcerer. Transformation. Kidnapping. Destruction. Rescue.
Original Art Plate: 34,5 x 44, and 45,5 x 58,5 cm [Source: Angoulême, 2019].
Synopsis: In Canisland there is a beautifully voluptuous princess Maryara, who is not interested her grooms but her dog, Rowlf. Princess is kidnapped by demon troops, who also demolish the castle of Canisland. One groom, a friend of Sortrum (cf. scrotum!) the sorcerer, blames Rowlf and he wants to transform dog as human to torture the truth out of him. By accident, transformation will be disturbed and Rowlf becomes only half dog half human (he cannot talk!). Rowlf escapes and rescues princess with demon trooper’s own deadly weapons.
Comment: The storyis put here in three parts because of Heavy Metal version; it looks like originally there supposed to be only two (Parts 2 and 3 were prob. one). This very early story of Corben is with all its faulties one of his best stories. Colors in Heavy Metal are wisely mild (“Bloodstar”), but anyway good old B&W version is much more effective. Sortrum the sorcerer has lots of similarities with later Zeg.
Special: Green demon soldiers speak an existing build-up language, Esperanto! Corben used his own invented language for for example in stories “Bug” and “Roda and the Wolf”.
Alternatives, [VERS.2]: In French Actuel [II] #15 (1972) story was reduced to 21 pages!
Alternatives, [VERS.3]: Colored for Heavy Metal in 1979. At the same time some backgrounds redrawn.
Alternatives, [VERS.4]: The German print in Horror Comics (2013) the entire book was printed in purple and white (!).
Extra: In an interview, The Magic World of Richard Corben by Rudi Franke in Voice of Comicdom #17 (1970) Mr. Corben says, “Several models of the characters had been built [for abandoned “Rowlf” film version]. These were now used [for a comic book version] to draw from. A friend of mine, Dave Holman, deserves all of the credit for designing the demons tanks and equipment, their characterizations and the plotting of certain scenes”. In Voice of Comicdom, on the opening page, under the title, says, “RC Script by Harvey Sea with thanks to Dave Holman”.
Photo Model: Maryara was portraited as floating on a water on a bottom of pg 4. The photomodel for the frame was used Jackie Brown doing the same in Playboy, Oct. 1965, pg 136.
Trilogy: Corben answered to fan’s letter in Heavy Metal #46 (1981), CHAIN MAIL (pg 4), “Yes, I did make the changes [to “The Beast of Wolfton”] — partially because of “Rowlf.” Originally, I had intended “The Beast of Wolfton,” “Rowlf,” and “Spirit of the Beast” to work out as a trilogy. I also wanted to make it a bit less realistic – bring it more into a realm of fantasy”.
Corben: Rowlf was first conceived a couple of years ago not as a comic story, but as a film. After several futile attempts at producing it, we gave it up for another script. After Monsters Rule was finished, I was looking for a story to appear in VoC and I remembered Rowlf. I gave this much thought and finally decided that I could do the story justice in the comic strip medium. Much preliminary work had already been done. This became very useful when adapting it to the comic strip. Several models of the characters had been built. These were now used to draw from. A friend of mine, Dave Holman, deserves all of the credit for designing the demons tanks and equipment, their characterizations and the plotting of certain scenes. It is difficult to say how much actual drawing time was spent on the final pages. I occasionally did two or three pages a week working evenings and weekends, but I didn’t work on it constantly. [Appeared in Voice of Comicdom #16 (Winter 1970), an interview by Rudi Franke.].
Corben’s first published full feature story
Copyright © 1997 Heart-Attack-Series, Ink!
Created: 13th Sept. 1997. Last updated: February 7, 2021 at 18:25 pm