Den's Legacy has been puzzled numberous Corben fans, including myself. I explored the theme for a while. Beware, a major spoilers!
References to Den stories: Page numbering goes according comic story, not the comix book/magazine (that is, first comic story page is page 1 and so forth). The original "Neverwhere" is under title "Den 1" and it's numbering goes according the full feature, not the Grim Wit #1 short story version (i.e. short story's page 11 is in full feature version spreaded on two pages). Also "Den 4" and "Den 5" goes according longer Tradeback versions. The side story, "The Light at the End of the Tunnel" was published in Heavy Metal shorter than in DenSaga. Because most of chapters are unnamed I invented them by myself ["names inside brackets"] to make searching easier.
In a text name Den references usually to David. Uncle Dan used time after time also name Den. In a cases where it is not clear of which Den we are talking about, I use they own names instead.
Part 1(12): ["My name is DEN"]. 8 pgs. Grim
Wit #2 (1973) / Heavy
Metal #1 & #2 (1977)
Part 2(12): ["Uncle Dan is gone"]. 7+1 pgs. Grim Wit #2 (1973) / Heavy Metal #1 & #2 (1977). In Grim Wit pgs 3-4 as one.
Part 3(12): ["Sacriface for Uhluhtc"]. 8 pgs. Heavy Metal #3 (1977)
Part 4(12); ["Gel vs. the Queen"]. 8 pgs. Heavy Metal #4 (1977)
Part 5(12): ["Insect attack"]. 8 pgs. Heavy Metal #5 (1977)
Part 6(12): ["Ard's treachery"]. 8 pgs. Heavy Metal #6 (1977)
Part 7(12): ["The Queen vs. Den"]. 8 pgs. Heavy Metal #7 (1977)
Part 8(12): ["Surprise from a friend"]. 8 pgs. Heavy Metal #8 (1977)
Part 9(12): ["Uncle Dan and Gel"]. 8 pgs. Heavy Metal #9 (1977)
Part 10(12): ["Kang's prize"]. 8 pgs. Heavy Metal #10 (1978)
Part 11(12): ["New sacriface"]. 8 pgs. Heavy Metal #11 (1978)
Part 12(12): ["Return to Hell"]. 8 pgs. Heavy Metal #12 (1978)
"Den's Farewell". 8 pgs. Heavy Metal #13 (1978). Not included in the original Neverwhere print.
The main story lays on "Neverwhere". Den is from the Earth, a nerd boy called David Ellis Norman (are we knocking on the door of Bates Motel?). His Uncle Dan[iel] (who's belongings includes a collection of Burroughs fantasy novels!) left for him electronic schematic drawings to build up a machine, which produces a gateway into an another universe [Part 1, pg 4 & Part 2, pgs 5-6].
That is the way David ends up into Neverwhere, where thin pubertic boy with glases becames an American dream: a naked muscular, bold, hairless, well huged Martial Arts master. In Neverwhere he meets Kath[erine] Wells, who is also from the Earth, but from London of summer 1892. She was a thin, weakly indoorish novelist, who stepped one evening into a glowing gate, and slipped into a naked (and hairless from the crotch), voluptuous body of goddess [Part 3, pgs 2-3].
But before Den meets Kath, there is the Indian girl with the bells and the lizard [Part 1, pgs 6-8 & Part 2, pgs 1-3, 8], the character we bump much later again in "DenSaga" ["DenSaga", starting from the end of Part 1] and Den's hilarious sidestory, "Denz" ["Denz", Part 2, pgs 1-8], which was printed only in Penthouse Comix. One of the first characters is also the Red Queen, the most confusing character in Den's Legacy [Part 2, pgs 2-7].
Den sleeps with both Kath and the Red Queen, who are almost like each other's opposites, dobbelgängers. The Red Queen's biggest passion is the Loc-nar's stones [Part 7, pg 6].
Den has got a subconscious memory of his Uncle Dan, who fought Gel (for who Uncle Dan and David are one and the same Den), saved the Queen, made love to her and was killed by treachery. There is also a pict of Dan's Earthly face; again guy with spectacles [Part 8, pg 8 & Part 9, pg 1]. A ghostly Uncle Dan does appearing to David during "Den 1" [Part 9, pg 6].
In the end of the original "Neverwhere" the Red Queen looks like get killed, Loc-nar is destroyed and Den gets Kath. In "Den's Farewell" the very dead Red Queen is alive and kicking, and Den rescues from her Zeg, who is called in this single episode as Zek ["Den's Farewell", pgs 4-8].
Part 1(13): ["Bored"]. 8 pgs. Heavy
Metal #54 (1981)
Part 2(13): ["Visit in hive"]. 8 pgs. Heavy Metal #55 (1981)
Part 3(13): ["Back to Earth"]. 8 pgs. Heavy Metal #57 (1981)
Part 4(13): ["Lost"]. 8 pgs. Heavy Metal #58 to #59 (1982)
Part 5(13): ["Jordella, Dramite pet"]. 8 pgs. Heavy Metal #60 (6 pgs) to #61 (1982) (2 pgs)
Part 6(13): ["Muuta, I love you"]. 8 pgs. Heavy Metal #61 (2 pgs), #62 (4 pgs) and #63 (1982) (2 pgs)
Part 7(13): ["Zandor"]. 8 pgs. Heavy Metal #63 (2 pgs), #64 (4 pgs) and #65 (1982) (2 pgs)
Part 8(13): ["Wyn"]. 8 pgs. Heavy Metal #65 (2 pgs) to #66 (1982) (6 pgs)
Part 9(13): ["Muuta"]. 8 pgs. Heavy Metal #67 (5 pgs) to #68 (1982) (3 pgs)
Part 10(13): ["Muutaron"]. 8 pgs. Heavy Metal #68 (2 pgs) to #69 (1982) (6 pgs)
Part 11(13): ["Tarn's visit"]. 8 pgs. Heavy Metal #70 (1983)
Part 12(13): ["Muuta is my mate"]. 8 pgs. Heavy Metal #71 (6 pgs) to #72 (1983) (2 pgs)
Part 13(13): ["Kath is back"]. 5 pgs. Heavy Metal #72 (1983)
In the beginning of "Muvovum" Den and Kath live in Zegium, the floating home of Zeg, his son Scon and grandson Tarn. Tarn has got a girlfriend, Muuta, of whom Tarn is very jealous, because Muuta put eye on Den straight from the beginning [Part 2, pgs 1-2]. Kath gets bored to nude living in Neverwhere, and she wants to return to the Earth. There is no mention into which time zone they go, a present day or Kath's days. (Also under the question is: from which time zone David himself is from!) To go back to the Earth Den needs Nar stones which were demolished in the end of "Den 1" ["Den 2", Part 1, pgs 2-3, 6, Part 3, pg 3].
At this point Zeg is surprisingly agree with Den to get rid of a lot covering Earthly dresses ["Den 2", Part 1, pg 8]. Earlier in Heaven he demanded Mal (aka Uncle Daniel) to dress up his naked body ["DenSaga", Part 2, pgs 6, 16]. Actually all in Heaven had to follow that etiquet ["DenSaga", Part 3, pg 12].
Though both Heaven and later Zegium are both floating estates, they are not exactly one and same: buildings on Heaven are while stone, while they are in Zegium dark and different architecture. It is posible that buildings on Zegium are rebuilt on same floating base than Heaven. Or are were rather talking about parallel worlds. There is no answer for that dilemma yet.
Zeg happened to know that there is more Nar stones in Dramite hive, from where they are stolen. But as soon as Den and Kath are gone, the Red Queen, who is after Stones, attacks on Zegium. Stones are gone, because Scon, Zeg's son, has stollen them for good. Furious Queen destroys floating fortress and kills Zeg [Part 3, pgs 7-8 & Part 4, pgs 1-2]. Tarn ends up to Darmites and becomes their new King, which is same as slave, because he cannot escape nor kill himself [Part 5, pgs 3-8 & Part 6, pgs 1-4].
Scon, the new owner of the Stones, is the new victim of vicious stones in "Den 5". Nar stones are like ring in The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien or (ring again!) in Twin Peaks the Movie, by David Lynch. Everybody who possesses them, get spoiled and are doomed. Maybe an exception of David. He's possessed only by Kath/the Red Queen.
Den returns from the Earth without Kath and faces destruction the Red Queen left after her. He meets his future friend Zandor and his daughter Wyn, who - surprise surprise - falls in love with Den. And after Den rescue her from the monster they make love. Afterwards Wyn asks Den, if he did not like they "play", refers that Wyn is rather young though very good developed for her age. Den decline to go more further with her [Part 6, pgs 5-8 & Part 7, pgs 1-5].
Den confronts millions of Dramites [Part 7, pg 8] and later Muuta, who fell in love with him in the very beginning of the story [Part 2, pgs 1-2]. Muuta cheats Den to make love with her [Part 8, pgs 1-3]. Den escorts Muuta back to her home, Muutaron, of which leader she is. Tarn, the King of Dramites, attacks on Muutaron to get Muuta back, but both Tarn and Muuta get killed [Part 9, pg 8 & Part 11, pgs 4-8]. In the very end Kath returns to Neverwhere and Den [Part 12, pgs 2-3].
Part 1(6): ["Children of Fire"]. 13 pgs. Children
of Fire #1 (1987)
Part 2(6): ["Eating habits"]. 13 pgs. Children of Fire #2 (1988)
Part 3(6): ["Quakes"]. 18 pgs. Children of Fire #3 (1988)
Part 4(6): "Shuffled Seeds, Scattered". 10 pgs. Den [III] #8 (1989)
Part 5(6): "Strange Nativity". 10 pgs. Den [III] #9 (1989)
Part 6(6): "Promises, Promises". 12 pgs. Den [III] #10 (1989)
The Legacy of Den gets more details of the past in the surprising sequal "Children of Fire", which looks like quite far away from the main story. The story even starts mysteriously as, "This is Dremurth, a world of alternative reality, where the bizarre is normal and the commonplace is slightly weird." [Part 1, pg 1]. Is Zeg's island that mysterious Dremurth? Or is Corben talking about the entire Neverwhere? Or maybe one other relative world?
Zeg lives, with a simple servant Zomug, on the old island castle on a sea, which is actually a back of a huge whale [Part 1, pg 1 & Part 3, pg 15]. Zeg calls several times his servant also as Zomuk [Part 1, pg 12 & entire Part 3]).
A group of alien spaceships crash on the island and the most of ships and aliens die during collapse. Only some eggs, one athletic female and one death starving coprse-like male survive [Part 1, pgs 3-8]. A female is called Kil. Name sounds like a combination of "kill" and "girl", and she is truly "a warrior, like the warriors of the ants, bees and termites, a nonsexual female" [Part 1, pg 10]. In home planet Kil was a (red) warrior, but on a fight the blue opponent reconize her as a prequeen. She was choosen as the queen of Zomere: the breasts of the egg carring warrior start to grow [Part 4, pg 10 & Part 5, pg 1] and she starts to look like a real woman. Inside the Zeg's castle Zomug likes to eat eggs (that he collected from the shore), until only one egg will be survived by Kil [Part 2, pg 11].
Weak male is called Mal. This name is definetly short from "male". Mal ends up into Zeg's castle, too, but gets lost with Kil and meets Zeg's cook-slave Pucca. Later Pucca and her mother feed and cure Mal a strong man again, and Pucca will be Mal's mate [Part 2, pg 17].
Kil and Mal speak in the beginning of "Den 3" different language than people in Neverwhere (Dremurth?), but they learn common language during years. (Cf. Ichthyans.)
A Kil and a Mal are general names for all females and males in their home planet (in many insect colony individuals are nothing, everybody exists and works for the hive and queen). In Neverwhere there was just one Kil and one Mal left, so they kept calling each other that way [Part 1, pg 10, Part 4, pgs 2-3, 9]. Alien people lay eggs (like for example insects, or Barsoomians in Burroughs' books!) and can breed with the people of Neverwhere. Later from the egg an infant will be born, and a human will grow up and get old as we do. There is no evidence does people lay eggs, but maybe all people in Neverwhere has origin from the very same alien planet. Who knows. Well, eggs or not, they are mamals, thank God.
The egg, Kil is carring with, gives a birth for a baby [Part 5, pg 4]. Baby is almost eaten by Zomug, but Zeg and his son Scon come to take the infant. Zomug will be killed by Mal, and Mal and Kil will be reunited [Part 5, pgs 8, 10]. Mal confronts a dogish, gigant, hairy Kopok, who ends up into the front cover of comic book Den [III] #10 (1989), but does not have any other link to Den's Legacy [Part 6, pgs 3-5, 9-10]. Zeg and his two sons take Pucca again as slave and kill Pucca's mother [Part 6, pgs 7-8].
In Parts 5 and 6 Zeg has an army around him. Five of them calls him as Master [Part 5, pg 4]. All the rest, Scon, Murk and Tawg, who Zeg talks with by name, call him as father. That means Zeg has got at least three sons, but only one, Scon, will be followed by Den's Legacy [Part 6, pg 8]. Both Tawg [Part 2, pg 5] and Murk [Part 3, pg 2] appear also in "DenSaga", though starting from Part 3 Tawg ends up to be named as Taug.
Part 1(3): "Dormilon Dreams and Alarums". 28 pgs. Den
[III] #1 (1988)
Part 2(3): "Reveries in Cragor [The City of Sounds]". 25+3 pgs. Den [III] #2 (1988). In Den 4 (1992) 3 extra pgs.
Part 3(3): "The House of Silence". 22 pgs. Den [III] #3 (1988). In Den 4 (1992) 2 extra pgs.
This chapter, "Dreams", as it says in it's name, has not much to add for the Legacy of Den (written by Simon Revelstroke). It's mainly a flashbacks and reruns of old stories. It has got several disturbing fragments, where Den and Kath reherseal fighting skills in a close manner like Mal and Kil in "DenSaga" ["Den 4", Part 2, pgs 16-17, 22 (extra pages for Tradback version)].
In the end of Part 1 Den meets Scon, who is dead. As a matter of fact Den himself, too, gets killed by Kath, who replies, "You fool! I'm not Kath!" Kath is truly the Red Queen. Behind woman Den can see a fade figure wrapped in the purple cloack [pgs 26-28]. Is that the Red Queen's treatery for "the first" Den, an actual death of Uncle Dan instead? What is certain, is that this is a dream, or better "a vision" of previous (and future!) lifes of both Dens (Uncle Dan's and David's). A vision like Den used to see in the whole Den's Legacy (strongly in the beginning). During the rest of the story [Parts 2 & 3] Den will be fat and totally lost.
In several translated versions of Den's Legacy (in Europe) "Den 4" and "Den 5" are printed in opposite order. Since "Den 4" is mostly dreams, it does not matter a thing for a continuity.
Part 1(4): "The King of Air and Darkness". 15+3
[III] #4 (1988). In Den 5 (1992) 3 extra pgs.
Part 2(4): "Drowned Worlds". 20 pgs Den [III] #5 (1989)
Part 3(4): "Giants Below". 20 pgs. Den [III] #6 (1989)
Part 4(4): "The Phoenix Fallen". 20 pgs. Den [III] #7 (1989)
"Elements" is an almost necessary secuel for "Den 4" (also written by Simon Revelstroke), because these two stories need each other. In the very beginning a very dead Scon is very alive and he is possessing Nar stones. Den attacks to his castle, but ends up with (believed) Kath to the fishy underwater city of Ichthya, which is ruled by young Queen Ryllia. In Ichthya fishes talk with unfamiliar language to Den [Part 2]. The Queen tries to make love with Den, but does not succeed [Part 2, pgs 15-16].
Den and (believed) Kath escape from underwater world (David will see a vision of his Uncle Dan [Part 3, pg 2]) and get lost in the dark underground catacombs. Among monsters there are also a death starving gold digger (a member of the group of six). Den and (believed) Kath borrow his borer to get back up on surface.
Scon and the Nar stones are hidden in the other castle. He has kidnapped Zandor and Wyn, and Den and (believed) Kath rescues them. Scon will be finally get killed, not by the Red Queen, but by Nar stones. Inside Scon's castle Den realizes finally that the woman he always thought to be Kath, was (from the conclusion of "Den 2" to the end of "Den 5") all the time the cunning Red Queen. Behind her, covered by the purple cloack, is the real Kath. Se was waiting [in Earth] the return of David, but he never came back. Instead the Red Queen brough her to Neverwhere [Part 4, pgs 9-10].
Scon's castle will be destroyed by a vulcano (Zeg's castle was destroyed by the death of that whale it was on ["Den 3", Part 3, pg 15]). Den gets lost with Kath again, because he chooses the Red Queen, and blue Zandor and Wyn rescues, by their half, Den from the ashes of the ruining castle.
In the close end Den thinks, "Years, long years before, she pulled me, half dead, from lake Meek [the end of "Den 2"]. I thought it was Kath. She let me think it so. -- She was like no other woman, a warrior. An athlete, unequaled in mind and body. -- But she had a repellent side, a selfish aspect. Totally obsessed by those stones. Se could be ruthless. And Kath, the real Kath? She was kind, gentle, filled with feelings. She was my first love --. We two were one, until things changed. [Kath and the Red Queen] told me to choose. It was easy. Dreams are always the easest things to choose." [Part 4, pg 19]
Part 1(4): "The Prince of Memories". 20 pgs. DenSaga
Part 2(4): "Days on Heaven". 16 pgs. DenSaga #2 (1993)
Part 3(4): "Falling Angels". 16 pgs. DenSaga #3 (1993)
Part 4(4): "Heavenly Holocaust". 20 pgs. DenSaga #4 (1994)
#2: "Bog's Deal". 4 pgs. Heavy Metal #141 (1992), DenSaga #2 (1993)
#3: "Mola the Mole". 4 pgs. Heavy Metal #145 (1993), DenSaga #3 (1993)
#4: "The Light at the End of the Tunnel". 4+4 pgs. Heavy Metal #149 (1994), DenSaga #4 (1994)
In Part 1 of "DenSaga" with the help of Zandor and his daughter Wyn Den finds his way to the Indian girl with the bells and the lizard. The lizard is called Pthalo ["DenSaga", Part 1, pg 19] and the girl Sienna ["The Light at the End of the Tunnel", pg 1].
Sienna starts her story, which she picks up from Den's mind about his past [Part 2]. Den was born with the help of the red priestess (aka the Red Queen?), who was Kil in "Den 3". There is no mention of Den's biological mother, but she suppoused to be the queen before Kil (shown in "Den 3" during Kil's fight against blue group) ["Den 3", Part 4, pgs 8-9]. Zeg stole a little infant in the end of Part 3 ["Den 3"]. In Zeg's floating fortress, Heaven, they call infant as David (Den is David Ellis Norman) or just Dav. In Heaven Den's caring mother is Pucca, the cook-slave of Zeg, and savior and mate of Mal. There is no proof that Pucca should be his birth mother, just nursing him as her own. In Heaven Den has got a (step)sister, Elinorma, who is also called as Ele or Elie ["DenSaga", Part 2, pg 3]. David's sister Elinorma is Mal's (aka Daniel's) daughter, but Den is actually from the egg from the same planet as Mal and Kil ["DenSaga", Part 2, pg 2]. Pay attention of David's and his (step)sister's resembling names: Elinorma and David Ellis Norman!
Mal and Kil are practising their fighting skills (cf. Den's and Kath's, in "Den 4"). This kind of twinpeakish duality Corben uses a lot during Den's Legacy. Kil wants (and they do) to make love with Mal (the only relative kind from their home planet?), but Mal keeps in his mind his real mate, Pucca. Mal escapes from Kil [Part 2, pgs 7-13] and finds himself into Heaven. Pucca and Zeg look like they do not regonize him as Mal. That's why Mal starts to call himself as Uncle Dan (!), as he suppoused to be, if he wants to be Den's Earthly uncle [Part 2, pg 16 & Part 3, pg 1].
In Heaven everything looks different. Zeg has "angels", white skinned guardian slaves and Pucca, who is numbed by drugs, is producing kids in slavery [Part 3, pgs 5-7]. Zeg kills all her babies for his own eatable experiments ["Den 3", Part 5, pg 8 & "DenSaga", Part 4, pgs 12-13]. All Zeg's sons Scon, Tawg [Part 2, pg 5] and Murk [Part 3, pg 2] are in Heaven. Tawg is also misspelled as Taug [from Part 3, pg 3 till the end!], and Murk will die by a hand of Pucca [Part 4, pg 5]. "Angles" stayed mostly unnamed, only the first angel, the senior bull, Cotwun and his mate Motwun (rimes!) are mentioned. Daniel will have a short adventure with him. Cottu is the another angel with name, but he appears only in one short scene [Part 3, pgs 7-8]. The soldiers from "Den 3" are also around. They leader is called Captain Slique.
[Updated Info:] The funny thing is that though everything is pointing that they are eating babies, the only persion we can SEE for sure who's been chopped in pieces and boiled in a pot is an adult, Motwun, who dies accidentaly in the opening scene of Part 2 [Part 3, pgs 15-16]. Cotwun and Zeg are talking about that all certain age adults will go to the surface for studing. Does that hint that actually they're eating adults as well? [Part 3, pgs 12-13]
There is also a sombosucker, a gigantic spider, who appeared for the first time in the Front Cover Art of Horror in the Dark #4 (1991).
[Updated Info:] In the end Pucca and Elinorma flee from certain death, Zeg escapes when he realizes he cannot beat the enemy, and Mal and Kil head after him. Before leaving Zeg claims to Uncle Dan (Mal) that he ate one of his kids - Dan did not know at that moment which one. But in the very end of the story the dying Taug, one of Zeg's son, reveals to him that actually Zeg was joking. The infant Den was still alive and Zeg escaped with him. (thanks, José Villarrubia, to point it out) [Part 4, pg 19].
Part 1(6): ["Neema"]. 8 pgs. Penthouse
Comix #15 (1996)
Part 2(6): ["Bells"]. 8 pgs. Penthouse Comix #16 (1996)
Part 3(6): ["Queen Ryllia"]. 12 pgs. Penthouse Comix #17 (1996)
Part 4(6): ["Lord Noot"]. 12 pgs. Penthouse Comix #18 (1996)
Part 5(6): "The Quits... and Beyond". 12 pgs. Penthouse Comix #19 (1997)
Part 6(6): "Conclusion, the Nether Regions". 12 pgs. Penthouse Comix #20 (1997)
Though "Denz" was actually a quite loose sequel for Den's Adventures, it is interesting to check where the author Jan Strnad leads us with this funnier sidestep in Den's Legacy.
Story starts with the revealing background information, "He was a tall, lanky man, and he was dying. His name was Daniel Norman. The novels of Edgar Rice Burroughs lived within his mind and soul... stories of men mysteriously transported to worlds of alien beasts and glittering cities and savage, wonderful realms. So Daniel, his body destroying itself from within, built a machine that spanned dimensions and transported his soul to NeverWhere. He became the hero Den who battled monsters and bedded queens and ultimately died by the hand of the woman he loved."
And it goes on, "Seven years later, his nephew David Ellis Norman recreated his uncle's machine and followed him to the never-land. David emerged as the new Den, his body ripping with muscle and imbued with a fighting prowess unseen in NeverWhere since the demise of Daniel Norman. The saga of Den's exploits... lusty and brawling, brimming with magic, intrigue, horror and betrayal... spanned generations and filled many exotic volumes. Now in his declining years, Den lives in a NeverWhere far different from the one he entered. Thanks to his magical Locnar, Den has brought peace and prosperity to his adoptive world. Meanwhile, on Earth, Denzel Easton Norman seeks to follow in his brother's footsteps..."
It sounds like Jan Strnad skips totally Mal and Kil. What a hec. Let's go with the flow and see what he has got to offer:
Denzil is the head of D.E.N. labs of scrub flats, California. People who live there are all nude (we're talking about the story in Penthouse Comix, why not). Actually locals are voting to go "clothing optional", that is all nude. Denzil wears suit and forces his worker to do the same; that is a secretary, Neema. Denzil builds up the brother David's machine and finds himself with Neema from Neverwhere. They meet immediately old Den, the ruler of Neverwere (and go through the very same transformation of their bodies). Old Den warns Denz(il) that there will be a great new evil entering to Neverwhere. That is greedy Neema, who sends Denz back to the Earth and steals Loc-Nar stones, the power of the Elder Gods, from Den [Part 1, pgs 1-8].
It will take three years for Dez (while ten years pass in Neverwhere) to return. During that time Neema conquers the Dramite legions and unites them into her own army, and the paradise Neverwhere will fall into ruins. Neema's ruling lead world to ethinc wars and Den as her prisoner. All this will be told to Denz by the (old) Indian woman with bells. Druged Denz thinks he is making love with a young, beautiful girl [Part 2, pgs 3-4].
Denz has got also martial arts ability just like that. Maybe the portal transforms him also into a body of "everything ready" [Part 2, pg 7]. He finds out his abilities while hundred Dramites attack on him. He slashes them right away and finds one single Dramite, named Gabby (name reminds us the ball boy in golf, a classical hero's easy minded helper), a mutation who is able to tolerate sunlight and is much more intelligent than rest of his kind. He joins Denz as a fellow companion on his quest to resque Den [Part 3, pg 2].
Gabby reveals that Dramites do not eat. "When [their] energy is expended, [they] die" [Part 3, pg 4]. He also tells the story of times when Den was the ruler of Neverwhere. He lets Dramites to grow in number as long as they channel their aggressions into sport [Part 3, pg 4]. But when Neema the Queen, the Bitch Queen, got the power, everything changed. She started to sacrifice Dramites for the Elder Gods.
To sneak behind the back of Neema the Queen Denz and Gabby had to use underground rivers [Part 3, pgs 8-10]. Down there they meet Den's old friend, Queen Ryllia, the ruler of the fishy underwater city Ichthya, who never succeed to make love with Den ["Den 5", Part 2, pg 12-20]. Queen is now old and Denz does not have to "deal" with her, but instead her daughter, a young princess Pyscia. Denz fulfils his duty with pleasure. Diverse from "Den 5" Ichthyans talks same language than Denz (Cf. Kil's and Mal's alien laguage in the beginning of "Den 3".) ["Denz", Part 3, pgs 10-12].
After leaving Ichthya Denz and Gabby ends up on hands of frog people, phibs, who used to take Ichthyans as slaves. Lord Noot, the ruler of frog people, is not surprised of the fysical strength of Denz and mistakes him as the famous Den. He proposes his secret harem for him, but Lord Noot's wife does not like orgies and helps Denz and Gabby to escape [Part 4, pgs 2-12].
BTW, Lord Noot and one easy girl are the logo of my web site (see for example the background pict of all pages, or the very logo on Comix page).
But the most difficult part of the journey is Quits, a Minotaurian labyrinth with the Lizard [Part 5, pg 6]. The savior for Denz and Gabby will be the bells the Indian woman gave them in the beginning of the quest [Part 2, pg 8]. And after saving Den Denz certainly wants to stay in Neverwhere. Story leaves open what eventually happened to Neema. Also Jan ignores in his version the Red Queen just like that. Maybe they wanted to leave the Queen for the possible sequel in the surprising future. You never knows. Interesting detail is also that Den is ruling Neverwhere alone - not Kath, nor the Red Queen is on his side!
In the end, I'm interested of what we can dig out from times before David arrived to Neverwhere. We know that Uncle Dan did trip "first". But what happened between "Den 3" and "Den 1"? "Den 3" explains the very past of Mal and Kil, who became Uncle Dan and the Red Queen. And "Denz" gave Jan Strnad's loose version (without Mal and Kil).
"Den 1" [Part 8, pg 8] says, "-- my uncle Dan from my other life. Something was happening to him. His appearance changed as he traveled into another Universe. He fought Gel... saved the Queen... made love to her... and was killed." Next page [Part 9, pg 1] goes on, "-- a subconsious memore revealed -- My uncle Dan had come to this world, Neverwhere, before me. He had become Den and had many adventures here but was finally killed by treachery. Somehow I was reincarnated as Den when I arrived in this universe. --"
Alas David was reincarnated to be the same person than his late uncle Dan in Neverwhere. That's why he's got some revealing "visions" about Dan's past during "Den 1". But "Den 3" and "DenSaga" claimed that the single surviving egg gave a birth to David. How David could met Mal in Heaven, if he suppoused to be later reincarnated Mal aka Uncle Dan? Let's not stuck in this question. Kath, who appeared from the conclusion of "Den 2" to "Den 5", was actually the Red Queen all the time! Owls are not what they seem, even in Neverwhere.
Earler in "Den 1" [Part 4, pg 2] Den's got surprising information into his brains after Kath told how she ended up into Neverwhere, "Suddenly, at Katherine's words of a marsh light I had a disturbing recollection of a shimmering glow, a creature of light that beckoned someone through a dimensional warp like my own. The person was uncle Dan! How could I remember that? It wasn't MY memory!" and on next page, as Kath was talking about the Queen's men, preys and weapons ("A Queen and a Sorceress. I've heard that she could will objects into existence such as weapons."), Den was thinking, "Another odd vision intruded. It was the Queen creating weapons as Katherine described. The memory was foreign to me! The phantom pictures haunted my mind. Why did they appear so titillatingly, yet with no context?"
Kath as dobbelgänger
What is certain is that Kath never build a machine; she was always "invited", once by Uncle Dan, second time by the Red Queen.
Later on same chapter [Part 4, pg 4] the Red Queen replies about the existence of Kath, "I brought her from Earth to sacrifice to great UHLUHTC because her double here in Neverwhere is useless in the ceremony. As long as two Keeth-Rens [aka Kath] exist together in the same dimension the balance of our world is upset!" Who is the double for Kath? I always thought it was the Red Queen herself. Maybe she is. And that makes sense why she brought her dobbelgänger to Neverwhere: to get herself the power the sacrifice will bring. Does it also mean that doubles can exist at the same time in same place (dobbelgängers Kath vs. the Red Queen, and reincarnated Dens: David and Mal aka Uncle Dan)?
The Queen's bitchy plan
Gel, who fought with Uncle Dan somewhere between stories "Den 3" and "Den 1", met David in "Den 1" [Part 4, pg 5] and thought he was Uncle Dan, but talks him as Den! That means Uncle Dan used name Den with Gel and prob. with many others (in Heaven he was Uncle Dan, instead). The first fight with David and Gel was unsolved ["Den 1", Part 4, pgs 7-8 & Part 5, pg 1], but later they did it again. Fight was short and Gel was killed ["Den 1", Part 9, pgs 7-8].
But there was an another meaning for the first meeting with Gel. In Part 4 ["Den 1"] Gel reveals, [pg 6], "I lead these rebels against that vile Queen's tyranny. She plans to unleash a monstrous HORROR on this world, one that even she must bow before. She thinks she can control IT for her own ambitions."
Gel goes on, "-- She breeds my people with the evil things from the dark regions beyond, making a race of fiends to serve her. Between the worlds on the Outside lies ancient, powerful and evil forces that constantly try to break into the real world, all worlds... even your Earth has doorways for these forces. The Queen found old, old magic and power in those ancient ruins and one of those gateways to the Outside. --"
And on next page, "She sacrifices you human folk every new moon to that THING, drawing IT closer -- Keeth-Ren is a vital key to the Queen's plan -- Den, you must die because you were the Queen's pawn. You took the magic Loc-Nar from me and gave it to her." It means that Gel used to have Loc-Nar stones, but that is all Corben wants to reveal from it. Was Gel interested of put down the tyran Queen, or was he also actually after stones? There is not enough hints, if he was degenerated by stones.
What made lovely motherly Queen, who used to nurse the single saved egg (later infant Den), a worst possible bitch in Neverwhere? According to Den's vision she suppoused to make love with Uncle Dan aka Mal, and she did [in "DenSaga", Part 2, pgs 8-9]. Actually she did it with Den too [several times during the conclusion of "Den 2" to "Den 5"], though Den at the time thought she was Kath. Maybe the Red Queen suppoused to behave like insects sometimes do: eats their own, even their own kind offspring. How knows.
First time Den made love with the Red Queen was during Kath was kidnapped by Ard (by the way Ard was rich, that is Rich-Ard, har har). Ard wanted the Red Queen's Loc-Nar stone and while Den was stealing it, he got caught. The Red Queen saved, washed, oiled and made love with him. "Mmmm. Oh, I have missed you... your body." ["Den 1", Part 7, pgs 1-6]. In that scene we also learned that the Red Queen offered to Den to rule Neverwhere together ("Look! The dawn climaxes our love. It is a sign, Den. A new day, a new beginning for us."), but that she was already hopelessly spoiled by the stones [pg 6]. The Loc-Nar stones are the very reason for the Red Queen's "bad mood" ["Den 5", Part 4, pg 19].
Dramite hives' history
What else we learned about the times before David (or Uncle Dan) appeared to Neverwhere? Not much. Only that, "During the Age of the Dramites, over five hundred years ago, there were hundreds of [Dramites hive] towers --" ["Den 2", Part 2, pgs 1-2]. The behavior of Dramites are well descripted during "Den 2" and some extras are spread in "Denz" through the mouth of Gabby.
- Uncle Dan was born on a dying alien planet (not Neverwhere, nor the Earth) as Mal, a male warrior.
- In Heaven he started to call himself "Daniel" to hide his past. That's why Den knows him as Uncle Dan.
- Kil was an another survivor from the same dying planet. She was a prequeen, but not the biological mother of Den. Kil was a nonsexual female before being the Queen of Zomere, and later the bitchy Red Queen.
- There is actually no straight connetion between Kil and the Red Queen. Kil was fighting in her home planet on reds' side against blues. The Red Queen wears always red. And other small details hint that they suppoused to be one and the same.
- Den was born from the egg Mal and Kil brought from their home planet. That was the only surviving egg from the crash to Neverwhere.
- Mal's mate is Pucca, who gave birth for his daughter, Elinorma, with who she escaped Zeg.
- Story does not reveal how Den ended up to the Earth, nor Uncle Dan. Den was just a small child at the end of "DenSaga" and a teenager in the beginning of "Den [I]". A cap between these two stories is still unknown.
- The Red Queen brought Katherine to Neverwhere to sacrifice her to Uhluhtc. There is (not yet) any secrecy of Kath's origin, though she's prob. the dobblegänger of the Red Queen.
- Den has already made love with Kath, the Red Queen, young Wyn and Muuta, but though Ryllia, the Ichthyan, wanted, they did not succeed (thanks to Alberto from Spain to point me out the conversation between Wyn and Den in "Den 2").
- "Denz" gives some glues for the Den's Legacy, but according the author (Jan Strnad) that story has only a loose link to it. "Denz" ignores Mal and Kil completely, as well the Red Queen and Kath.
- For now, this is all I can speculate about Den's Legacy. Sure there is some side characters and substories, but yet they have got not much effect on the entire continuity.
- See also interesting The Chronology of Den by José Villarrubia in Wikipedia, where he sums my article nicely.
End of the story.
By surprise I have got a copy of the Movie in my possession. It reveals a lot basics for the story and fulfils many of the blanks, though Mal and Kil dilemma was invented afterwards. I think the Den's Legacy is now complete. There is not much to add after this story, except that Den's uncle suppoused to make love with the Queen and to be killed; that was not revealed in the animation (actually it was in Den's Legacy: love making scene ["DenSaga", Part 2, pgs 7-13], and killing dream ["Den 4", Part 1, pgs 26-28]). And if you compare this to Mr. Corben's other video projects, The Dark Planet for instance, they are different like day from night. But it is obvious: Mr. Corben revealed in the Ariel version of Neverwhere that Calvin spend more money on it than they were going to. So movie is made by Mr. Corben but edited with great help of Calvin. Anyway, this animation (with live action frame story) has real story and it works worth for its prizes, see Neverwhere (1968). Here is the story with comments:
The animation starts with a man (acted by Richard Corben himself!) reading at his working place a pocket book A Princess of Mars, by Edgar Rice Burroughs. He asks his collage to go to movies with him but the girl is already dating with somebody. Well, at least that is her excuse to refuse. His boss asks him to redo a work he gave before. The boss is Mr. Corben's real boss of those times, Ed Faust (at Calvin Productions in Kansas City, 1962 to 1971). The boss does not like, what he did, but our man says back that he did exactly what the boss wanted to. After a brief argue man stands up (he is skiny and almost a head taller than his boss) picks up his overcoat and leaves the door. For good.
It's a bright day and camera pans from the sun down by the tree trunk. There is also a telephone pole (!) behind the tree. Telephone is always a connection, transmitter. David Lynch uses the pole similar way in his movie Fire Walk With Me. Under the tree the man sits head down, when he sees a bright light sparkling across the field. He reaches the light and finds from the ground a tiny butterfly kind of thing and puts it into his pocket. He walks to his car which is an old Volkswagen, a bug!
At home butterflyish thing picks up a paper and starts to draw pictures. Unfortunately the copy I have is quite bad and I cannot determine what kind of picture appears to paper. But there is close-up to the end of the paper and it says: "Build this". The picture is an instruction for a machine of a kind. The drawer thing disappears back to the man's pocket.
Our guy pops into electronic shop and brings home in a small brown paper bag electriconic parts. He builds the machine and butterflyish thing points to the switch on a board. He switches it and realizes that he built a transmitter, because immediately a gate or portal opens in front of him. From the portal materializes a drawn, voluptuous girl, who starts to talk. She says, she was waited for a long time to find him and that she is a disposed Queen of ("I guess you might call it...") Neverland. She asks our man to help her to fight back a magic Locnar staff, which was stolen from her. He does not understand how he could be a needed hero, but the Queen insists him to step in a gate. She calls our man as "Den" (it is first time the man has got a name, real or invented). Inside the portal a skiny guy with sepctacles turns into a well muscular, bald-headed stud ("I feel different", he says) and he will be an animation character during the time he spend in Neverwhere.
A confused guy wants answers but there is no time, because a group of monstrous men are approaching them. The Queen materializes (!) for him some weapons. He fights against monsters rather long time but he defeats them all. The most difficult enemy has two legs and four arms (did somebody mention Burroughs). All dead monsters disappear immediately like they were just a test for him (spelled by the Queen). The man - the Queen is always calling as "Den" - is again confused, but she says there will be many things he cannot understand in that place. "The material [monsters] were made of and we are made of now, cannot exist without the light force to hold it together", is all she agrees to reveal. For the question, from where these all come from, she replays: "I created them" and adds: "You could it yourself, if you remain in this land long enough" (!).
The Queen leads "Den" to the castle of the evil Lord who possesses the magic Locnar. "Den" suppoused to steal it back, because the whole world is depending on him. "I am depending on you", she says to him. The background art is interestingly plain and suggestively simple - if there is background at all. When they get more closer, hidious (and some a little bit funny...) monsters are guarding the castle. Again when "Den" kills them, they disappear. A flying bird or lizard of pray takes the Queen and brings her away. "Den" tries to shoot the flying thief but it goes too far and the weapons on "Den" hands disappear (she is too far from him!). The flying beast and the Queen disappear to the castle and "Den" has to fight by his bare hands, but he successes like a real hero suppoused to and follows to the castle.
On a gate the gate keeper makes "Den" to fall into a water bellow. The diving fish monster (it looks like a gigantic gold fish, not too scary) cannot reach him and he ends up somewhere inside the castle. He fights his way through heavily armed guards, who disappear like before. Then he faces the evil Lord, who is familiar face from the comic version: Gel. Gel speaks to the Queen: "Your new hero is doing better than his predecessors (!). But he cannot keep his weapons. Hih hih." The Queen materialize a sword for "Den". Gel slaps the Queen and sends his flying lizard against "Den". While "Den" is fighting, Gel (holding the Locnar staff) wants to get rid of the Queen. The Queen asks him to do it quick, but Gel wants to do it with style: he puts her hanging on an abyss. "Den" has defeated the flying beast of pray and drops Gel into abyss instead. There is no fight between Gel and "Den"; he just pushes him over the cliff and that's it! Anyway. He rescues the Queen ("at last the Locnar at my possession again") and she "puts his name into list of honour" and sends back to real life (that is back to live action). Transmitter breaks down and the butterfly-thing is gone for good. The man is disapointed but does not show any feelings. He looks at the instruction the butterfly thing made for him and folds it into safe place. The end. Unfortunately the ending titles are impossible to follow who was who.
Links: See also interesting The Chronology of Den by José Villarrubia in Wikipedia, where he sums my article nicely.
Extra: The name of "Locnar" was used for the first time in "Bloodstar", spelled as "Loknar".
Copyright © 2003 Heart-Attack-Series,
Created: May 15, 2003. Modified: November 11, 2014.