On July 18th, Dark Horse comics released an amazing, 300-page collection horror and sci-fi stories from writer/artist, Richard Corben. Corben spent 8 years in the 1960s and 70s adapting classic and contemporary short stories from authors like Edgar Allen Poe and Bruce Jones, as well as creating his own stories, script as well as pictures, for Creepy and Eerie magazines. Creepy Presents: Richard Corben, collects them all, as well as his cover art for the magazines from those years.
Simply put, this is an amazing, entertaining, page-turning collection. Reading like a Twilight Zone marathon on the SyFy network, the stories alternate between horror, sci-fi, political sci-fi, sci-fi horror, you name it. Corben demonstrates tremendous wisdom when adapting work from other writers. In The Shadow, from Edgar Allen Poe, he knows just which pieces of narrative from Poe to keep, which to leave out altogether and which to transform into pictures instead of words. His artwork is distinct, with slightly oversized figures and excellent use of forced perspective, but also changes just slightly to suit the different kinds of stories being told. For Poe, there are shadows in the corners and under the characters’ eyes. He creates as much darkness as possible to give the reader the sense that something is horribly wrong, something dangerous is about to happen. In the sci-fi tale, Unprovoked Attack on a Hilton Hotel from writer Jim Stenstrum, he uses black and white images, scenes of familiar-looking crowds and individuals, peppered by just the right dialogue, also reminiscent of our all too real history, to convey an entirely different kind of danger – one not born of ghosts and ghouls, but of a society gone mad seeking power and money.
Priced at $29.99, this collection (hardcover) is well worth it. The stories are short and sweet (well, sweet in a horror kind of way), making it a perfect book to pick up from time to time when you have a few minutes to kill. (Pun intended).