The art of Richard Corben is as undeniably vulgar as it is breathtaking. Just leaf through the first issue of Heavy Metal where Den – arguably his best known work – makes its premier. His work stands out both for its technical virtuosity and for its singular focus on large breasts, rippling muscles and Den’s giant wang. His use of color and light gives some of his work an almost photorealistic quality while at the same time his focus on creating an X-rated Conan-style storyline undercuts a lot of the serious consideration his comics might otherwise get. In this respect he’s a lot like R. Crumb. Maybe Corben’s at his best when he’s serving purely as an illustrator.
This interview available at muuta.net – which appears to be a very in-depth Corben fansite, dates from 1981 and appeared in Heavy Metal magazine issue 51. This was the heyday of comic magazines when Warren books like Eerie, Creepy and Vampirella were being sold alongside Heavy metal and Marvel’s adult offering Epic. Corben had made a name for himself in these circles as one of the the premier adult-oriented comic artists. He had become one of the few names other than Moebius, who could instantly move books off shelves.
I have to say this interview is really weird. The interviewer, Brad Balfour, is fixated on Corben’s inner sex life like you wouldn’t believe. Although, I guess it’s not hard to understand why.