Sex and Violence in the Adult Comic Art of Richard Corben
29 januari 2021 

Sex and Violence in the Adult Comic Art of Richard Corben

The recently deceased American comic book illustrator Richard Corben* (Oct 1, 1940–Dec 2, 2020) is best known for his contribution to the magazine Heavy Metal, his immense input to underground comix, and for the artwork of the iconic LP cover for Meatlof’s Bat Out of Hell (1977). He won numerous prestigious prizes and was elected to the acclaimed Will Eisner Award Hall of Fame.

Heavy Metal

Corben grew up on a farm in Anderson, Missouri. After high school, he went on to get a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Kansas City Art Institute, in 1965, dedicated himself to bodybuilding for a while. and worked as a professional animator before finally finding his home in underground comics. In 1975, when the French graphic artists Moebius, Druillet, and Jean-Pierre Dionnet started publishing the magazine Métal Hurlant in France, Corben submitted some of his stories to them. These were well received and he then continued his work for the franchise in America, where the magazine is known under the name Heavy Metal.

Heavy Metal Corben

Cover for the magazine ‘Heavy Metal

Clay Models

Corben was a pioneer of comic art and developed his own unique working method. In order to study the shadow effect, he created clay models of his characters. His goal was to obtain a sculptural quality, giving a three-dimensional roundness to his objects. For his unique coloring style, he developed the Corben copy camera. In an earlier article on Muuta,net Corben explains,’The purpose of this technique was to create brightly colored comics but with a full range of modeling effects, and it had to be faster and less expensive than full color oil painting. It consisted of a four layered overlay for each ink color that is photographed over a continuous tone original artwork.’ It’s these splendid washes of ink and paint that leap off the page, giving a striking immediacy to his images.

richard corben erotic

Den‘ (1994)

The Saga of Den

The art of Richard Corben is coarse and astonishing at the same time. When one leafs through the first issue of Heavy Metal where Den – probably his best known work – is introduced. The saga of Den is a fantasy series about the exploits of a young scrawny geek who travels to Neverwhere, a universe that can be best described as a mixture of Robert E. Howard’s Hyborian Age, Edgar Rice Burroughs’s Barsoom and H. P. Lovecraft’s horror dimensions.

Full-bosomed Chicks

In this place, the boy transforms into an enormously endowed nude muscleman who has sensual adventures in a world of violent perils, grotesque monsters, and full-bosomed chicks who lustfully throw themselves at him. What immediately stands out is the technical virtuosity, use of color and light giving some of his work an almost photorealistic quality, and its focus on large breasts, six-packs and Den’s impressive schlong.

richard corben den cath

The female character ‘Cath‘ from the Den series

Hellboy

Besides his own creations Corben worked among others for Marvel Comics, for whom he made the illustrations for the ruthless vigilante The Punisher, the surreal demon biker Ghost Rider, the barbaric warrior Conan, and several comics based on the horror stories of Corben’s heroes Edgar Allan Poe and H.P Lovecraft. For Dark Horse he produced the award-winning artwork for Hellboy.

Hellboy Richard Corben

Original artwork for the front cover of Hellboy: The Crooked Man

Pornographic

Although some of his work has been accused of being pornographic, Corben himself preferred to call it ‘sensual’. Below you can find an extensive collection of images of Corben’s erotically charged work…

Corben - Bodyssey, castration

Castration scene‘ from Corben’s ‘Bodyssey

death rattle corben

Artwork used for ‘Death Rattle V2 #1‘ (Oct. 1985)

Death Rattle

The magnificent and well-known cover of Death Rattle V2 #1 Corben continued the horror tradition that was nearly killed off in the 1980s when the comics code began to censor horror comic art. This iconic underground Death Rattle title was rebooted in 1985 while Corben was still considered too edgy for the mainstream. The published cover was slightly censored, with the girl wearing a loincloth.

Cover Death Rattle Corben

Censored edition of Death Rattle Vol.2 #!1 (zipcomic.com)

richard corben nude

werewolf cover corben

Artwork for the cover of ‘Werewolf‘ (2005)

Little Red Riding Hood

This cover for the comic Werewolf is excellent—clearly a reference to the classic fairytale ‘Little Red Riding Hood’, it’s actually an allusion to Corben’s own story ‘Lycanklutz’. Painted in grey oils and then colored by overlay, it’s a dazzling example of the artist’s unique rendering and coloring methods.

richard corben erotic page

From the comic ‘Werewolf

richard corben werewolf

From the comic ‘Werewolf‘ published in Heavy Metal (Source: theporporbooksblog.blogspot.com/)

richard corben erotic art

Corben's artwork for 1984

Artwork for the magazine 1984

richard corben female slave

Artwork for ‘Den‘ (1979)

richard corben Bodyssey

From the comic ‘Bodyssey‘ (1979)

'Bodyssey Richard Corben

Cover of the comic ‘Bodyssey‘ (1979)

richard corben lizard erotic

grim wit 2 corben

Front cover ‘Grim Wit #2

grim wit 2 corben backcover

Back cover ‘Grim Wit #2

richard corben erotic comic

From the comic ‘Cage

richard corben dinosaur

B&W Drawing for the magazine cover ‘Eerie #77‘ (Source: Comicartfans.com)

dinosaur and nude female in tree

corben Front cover of 'Eerie #77'

Front cover of ‘Eerie #77′

going native corben

Going Native‘ (1986)

Tarzan and dead gorilla

Tarzan‘ (1974)

nude den richard corben

den 2 muvovum corben

Illustration from the comic ‘Den 2 Muvovum‘  (Source: zizki.com)

corben den 2 muvovum

Illustration from the comic ‘Den 2 Muvovum‘  (Source: zizki.com)

den 2 muvovum richard corben

Artwork for the comic ‘Den 2 Muvovum

den saga 4 corben

Page from Den Saga 4  (Source: zizki.com)

richard corben black female

Page from Den Saga 4  (Source: zizki.com)

richard corben Den saga

Page from Den Saga 4  (Source: zizki.com)

richard corben heavy metal

Page from Den Saga 4 (Source: zizki.com)

jeremy brood richard corben

Jeremy Brood‘ (1982)

richard corben Den Saga 2

Page from Den Saga 2 (Source: zizki.com)

richard corben erotic comic book

the window corben

The Window‘ (1986)

decapitation richard corben

(https://vitazur.tumblr.com/)

Horror magazine richard corben

richard corben bizarre sex

Front cover of the comic magazine ‘Bizarre Sex #5‘ (1976)

richard corben fantagor

Back cover of the comic ‘Fantagor #1‘ (1969) by Richard Corben (Source: Heavy Metal)

A nice overview of Corben’s comic art career can be found on the site of Heavy Metal…!!

The following video features an early low-budget animation movie made by Corben entitled Neverwhere (1968), which was one of the first iterations of the Den character (the animation starts at 4:15) and for which he received a CINE Golden Eagle and President of Japan Cultural Society trophy in 1968…

Click HERE for the erotic artwork of another great comic artist…!!

Sources: Wikipedia, Zizki.com, Muuta.net, Heavymetal.com,

*This subject was suggested by one of our loyal followers JB

What do you think about this comic book sensuality? Leave your reaction in the comment box below….!!

About the author
Marijn is the founder of shungagallery.com. With more than 20 years of experience within the sensual and erotic art of shunga he is an authority in the genre. During this time he served many customers with complementing their art collection.
JB
By

JB

on 29 January 2021

Thank you for adding Corben to the Shunga Gallery. Some of my favorite work by Rich Corben includes Bloodstar and his work for smaller relatively short lived underground fanzines and magazines, like Gore, for example. He was already a mature artist when he started contributing to Metal Hurlant. The USA version of the magazine in my opinion fell short of it's French original publication, starting right there on the name. They should have kept it's name, and translate it literally: Screaming Metal; Heavy Metal simply didn't cut it, and the association with heavy metal music really detracted from the mother publication's original intent. Corben excelled in his work illustrating short stories for Eerie and Creepy. His work printed on that textural paper had a special feeling to it. It was tactile. It soaked the paper and sunk in. Reediting of some of those stories in album format and couché paper simply suck and lose the magic. Having grown up with Corben and Frazetta was nothing short of a privilege! Most of my collection from that time were sadly lost to a flood. I try not to think about the loss, but still pains me: some publications I collected just because they had a single image, a cover, by these artists! Unique and irreplaceable. Thanks again Marijn.

Marijn
By

Marijn

on 29 January 2021

You're welcome JB. I'm happy to have been able to pay attention to this important artist. Thank you for your interesting additions. I agree with the translation of the name to Heavy Metal. Undoubtedly, there was a commercial motive behind it! !

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