When talking about the top comic artists working in the fantasy and horror genres, you cannot have that discussion without throwing Richard Corben’s name into the mix. With a career spanning fifty years, his contributions to legendary comic anthologies such as Creepy, Eerie, Métal Hurlant and Heavy Metal have produced a ton of memorable material including Bloodstar and his best known creation, Den. He also found time to contribute to popular comic properties such as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Punisher, Hulk and Hellboy and also provided the cover illustration for Meat Loaf’s Bat Out of Hell album. At 77, he is still working in illustration whilst entering several halls of fame for comic creators including the Eisner Awards and The Ghastly Awards, and most recently winning Angouleme’s 2018 Grand Prix alongside being named the president for the 2019 show. One of his most recent projects is this new collection of horror stories from Dark Horse that harken back to the work he did early in his career.
Corben has a unique style which manages to merge detailed realism with elements of caricature and is identifiably his own. Despite the various different types of horror story being told, the artwork never seems out of place and it allows Corben to use this opportunity to revisit various types of horror stories that he has dabbled with throughout his career including the almost Edgar Allan Poe-esque Mirror Image and plenty of stories that would have been right at home on The Twilight Zone such as Roots In Hell where two plane crash survivors discover that dying in a plane crash might have been a better fate than what awaits them on the island they end up on. But the main highlight has to be the longest feature in the collection – the eight part Denesaus. The title character is basically an ancient Greco-Roman era version of Corben’s best known creation Den and he is a perfect fit for this epic fantasy era that would be right at home alongside the classic Greek tragedies which inspired it. The artwork again shines through on this story, with everything gaining an epic feel under Corben’s watch whilst also holding onto some of the subtler elements and wit of the quieter stories.
If you’re looking for a great showcase of Richard Corben’s talent, you can’t do much better than this. The variety of material in this collection allows him to show off the depth of his abilities whilst also maintaining a trademark art style and brand of storytelling that are uniquely his. Plus it’s safe to say that anyone looking for horror that has more depth than your standard slasher fare will not be able to put this book down.
Shadows on the Grave is out now from Dark Horse
9781506703916 – H/B – £16.99
Post by Leo