Wednesday, November 9, 2011
I have long been fascinated by the work of Richard Corben, but it was only when I became an adult that I started to truly appreciate his genius. My first experiences were a few random bits in Heavy Metal magazine, but the earliest work that made an impression were things like Den, which as I recall, was one of the first comics to be collected in a trade back in the eighties. For a teenaged kid who didn't have much experience with "underground" comics, it was quite a visceral experience. The raw violence and unabashed sexuality were a far cry from the indy stuff that I thought were cutting edge comics at the time.
These days, Corben is probably the artist I most look forward to when a new work comes out. I've liked Hellboy since the beginning and besides Mike Mignola, his is the only work on the title that really gets me going. The guy is 71 at this point and still doing some of the freshest and most inspiring work in the field. Take that you whippersnapper wannabe comic artists. And frankly, he's way more productive than his wimpier and younger peers. Seventy one years old and still just a force of nature and pure rock n' roll.
I'm not unique little snowflake that has discovered the genius of Corben though. Here are some quotes from a few people you may have heard of.
Corben's work is singular in its humanity. He works with towering technical skill... ...the wondrous thing of it all is that underneath all that technical tour-de-force is the sound of a beating heart. -Will Eisner
Corben's stuff was great. He put stuff into his comix that the overground press wouldn't print. -Robert Crumb
I feel like I was particularly impressed by Richard Corben's work. But in general I would not say the underground made that big of an impression except for Corben... His science-fiction stories, those almost primitive black and white comics he did back then. I was very struck by the visceral punch they had, by the unusual artistic point of view. And also by the unabashed exaggeration. It's as if you wanted a woman to have big breasts, you drew it. There was something just so joyously excessive and erotic about his stuff, that I just ate it up. -Frank Miller
The artist I most want to aspire to is Richard Corben. His style is visual and it tells the story just as you see it... ...my favorite is Corben. I love everything he does, I love his stuff ...he’s an amazing artist. -Guillermo del Toro
Richard Corben, stands among us like an extraterrestrial peak. He has sat in his throne for a long time, above the moving and multi-coloured field of world comics, like an effigy of the leader, a strange monolith, a sublime visitor, a solitary enigma. -Moebius
Mr. Richard Corben... a genuine giant of his chosen medium. -Alan Moore
People like the American Richard Corben... are, in my view, maestros. -H.R. Giger
Corben's technique introduced the airbrush to comics. His sophisticated knowledge of how color is printed allowed him to get fantastic results. His work has maintained a sense of humor and spectacle in tales of barbarians, time travelers and Arabian nights.
When people like Moebius and Crumb, both whom are geniuses of the comic medium, state your greatness, you are pretty much a bad ass. And those other cats aren't exactly slouches either.
And Mr. Corben, if you are out there reading this, I would write something really good and do it for free just to work with you. That is on my bucket list, so please help me scratch that one off.