Here’s a little shocker – Dark Horse and Fantagor Press have announced a new partnership to celebrate the career of the late artist Richard Corben through a line of deluxe hardcover editions in 2023. The line will be a mix of work that has been previously released and out of print, plus work never before released. And the first titles will be Murky World and Den. DEN!
According to Dark Horse, these new editions will each include special introductions by other comics legends and aficionados plus related bonus material. Murky World – comic stores April 26, 2023 (May 9 for book stores) – will feature an introduction by Mike Mignola; Den: Neverwhere – comic stores July 26, 2023 (book stores August 8) will have an introduction by Patton Oswalt. Murky World is currently priced at $39.99. Presumably Den: Neverwhere may be similar.
Den will be getting particularly special treatment next year as 2023 celebrates the character’s 50th anniversary. Den: Neverwhere will get a restoration – and a forward – by Corben’s longtime collaborator José Villarrubia, and will be re-lettered by Blambot’s Nate Piekos.
Den is a cult classic character that debuted in comics – following an earlier animated version in 1968 – as a short story in Grim Wit No.2 in September 1973. This was then expanded to two parts in influential French BD publication Métal Hurlant in 1975. When Heavy Metal debuted in the USA Den was expanded even further to be spread across the first twelve issues. Corben would tinker with the character over the years. Unfortunately for various reasons, the character’s complete adventures have been out of print for decades, fetching hefty prices on eBay.
Richard Corben passed away in December 2020 but his work was much appreciated in life. He won numerous awards; most notably in 2018 he received the prestigious Grand Prix at Angoulême and in 2012 he was entered into the Will Eisner Hall of Fame.
“Growing up Richard Corben was my idol and years later I was fortunate to be his collaborator and eventually to consider him a friend. He was the most innovative comics creator of the 20th century, distinguished by his virtuosity in using mixed media. His color was without paragon and continues to surprise me. Studying his work has been and is a lifelong passion.”
Richard’s wife, Dona Corben said:
“I’m so pleased and proud to share Corben art and stories with the world. It means so much to me to make his early works available in print again; and, I’m excited to share his new story that he poured all of his imagination and artistic vision into. I’m incredibly proud of him as an artist and a person, and touched that his work means so much to so many.”
Here are the synopses for each of the collections:
Murky World HC:
“[C]ollected completely in print for the first time, presented in a gorgeous hardcover with a dust jacket. In Murky World, Tugat the warrior wakes from a strange dream to find himself in a bizarre land populated by hungry deadlings, cruel necromancers, buxom cyclops, evil cults, and more as he sets off on a dangerous journey with his beloved horse Frix. This special edition also includes an introduction by Hellboy creator Mike Mignola, Corben’s Dark Horse Presents one-shot, and never-before-seen bonus material.”
Den: Neverwhere HC:
“Thrust into a bizarre fantasy world called Neverwhere, the muscular adventurer Den goes on an exotic adventure through ancient ruins meeting an evil queen, her sacrificial doppelganger, bizarre lizard men, giant insects, and more strange and dangerous madness in this legendary saga brimming with horror, magic, and violence. This deluxe graphic novel will also be published in a hardcover format with a dust jacket. The art of Den: Neverwhere will be restored by José Villarrubia, Corben’s long-time collaborator who will also write the foreword, re-lettered by Nate Piekos of Blambot, and include an introduction by comedian, actor, and writer, Patton Oswalt.”
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