Monday, December 14, 2020

Richard Corben 1940 - 2020


Illustrator and comic book artist Richard Corben, best known for his "Den" series that first premiered in Heavy Metal Magazine, passed away after heart surgery. He was 80 years old.

From his wife, Dona Corben:

"It is with great sorrow and loss that I must share the sad news that Richard Corben died Dec 2, 2020 following heart surgery. He will be missed tremendously by his family, his friends, and his fans.

"Richard was very appreciative of the love for his art that was shown by you, his fans. Your support over the decades meant a great deal to him. He tried to repay your support by working diligently on each piece of art going out to you. Although Richard has left us, his work will live on and his memory will live always in our hearts.

"I will continue to conduct sales of Richard's art through the Corben Studios website at I will also be managing the ongoing process of publishing his work internationally. Please give me and my family a little time to collect ourselves and we'll get back with you in 2021.

A self-admitted shy boy born in Missouri and raised in Kansas, Richard Corben studied art and copied comics (like Tarzan and Brothers of the Spear) as a youngster. In art school, he produced a five minute animated film with his father's 8mm camera -- despite there NOT being an animation course offered by the school. He married and settled in with a Kansas City industrial film company. 

From his site:

"After nearly ten years at the film company, Corben felt frustrated that he really hadn't given his art career a chance. He started drawing so called "underground" comix and fanzines. About this time Warren Publishing Company began publishing a series of black and white horror comics, CREEPY, EERIE, and VAMPIRELLA. This was a perfect match for Corben's interests and he drew several stories for CREEPY on speculation. Unfortunately none of these were accepted. But the "wannabe" comic book artist persevered and even met James Warren at a science fiction convention. Finally Warren and his editor Bill Dubay relented and started sending Corben scripts to draw. At last a foothold was established in his comic career. Even with the responsibilities of a wife, daughter and house the young artist felt with the steady flow of comic work, he could quit the full time job at the industrial film company and devote all his time to drawing.


"The underground comix surge spread to Europe and requests to reprint Corben underground features began to appear. His fantasy character DEN that appeared in the American underground comic GRIM WIT, went on to the French METAL HURLANT, then back to the American HEAVY METAL. When the popularity of the undergrounds began to diminish, the Corben's started FANTAGOR, a publishing company mainly devoted to publishing Richard's comics. This business wasn't enough to support them so he also began drawing for American comics, D.C., MARVEL, DARK HORSE, and others."


His "Den" series was adapted as part of the Heavy Metal animated film in 1981. He also created the iconic Bat Out of Hell album cover. 

He has won many awards, including the prestigious Grand Prix at Angoulême. In 2009, he was elected to the Will Eisner Hall of Fame.


2012 TCJ interview: “And to Have More Control, I Would Have to Do More”: Richard Corben on Adapting Edgar Allan Poe



No comments: