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The Richard Corben Interview,
Part 1(3), in Heavy Metal #51, June 1981, by Brad Balfour [BACK]
RICHARD CORBEN: That's probably part of it... frustration.
I never became the way I really wanted to be. In growing up, I never felt adequate. And then, growing up, I felt it to be very difficult to be a man, and I didn't know how to be a man.
It's like being a hermit.
I did hide.
I'd say repressed emotions. People would probably find me cold and calculating even though I was not, really.
In my artwork, yes.
When I worked at Calvin, they wanted me to give a workshop speech one year. I took it as a challenge and I did it. But that was probably the worst period of my life, preparing for that speech where I had to get up in front of about eight or nine hundred people and make a speech, and that's something I don't care to repeat. It's still difficult.
This is something that happens at a very early age - a disposition for emphasizing one side of the personality. I had a very hard time as a youngster learning verbal communication, and feel it probably spurred me on to the visual. That's the only explanation I could find for it.
Cerainly not in the early days, when we were on the farm where I grew up. If he was out working and she was there alone with just another child...
When I was a child, I thought he was, but in retrospect, I think I kind of respect him more than I did at the time. I used to think he was a tyrant then. I see he's not.
I can't think of any offhand. Things that appear in my stories are so changed, so manipulated that it would probably be hard to recognize when they originally came from; and they're probably so different in my mind that I don't even remember where they came from - probably something deep in the id that came out.
Occasionally. My characters aren't intellectual. Usually
when they resolve a situation it's not through thinking, it's
through some action.
No, I felt that it was down there all along. It just never came up to the surface. I am capable, and probably every person alive is capable, of killing people under the right circumstances; it's just a matter of comming to those circumstances. Other thing can lead to aggressive behaviour - like going to karate, getting trained there. There is always tension and an attitude constantly there. And Donna will say that also. My character changed during the period when I went to that karate school. I was generally an easy-going person and slowly got angry. After being there for two years, I could be an instant killer. [Mr. Corben's correction, #3]
Yes. I don't think it's necessarily bad, either, because it's something for survival. It's learning more about yourself, knowing that you have it in yourself to turn insanity into something like that.
I might have been slightly fascinated, but I'm repelled by many of his philosophies. He was a racist as well as being sadomasochistic, and he did use violence for his own sake - for the enjoyment of it. In fact, I wouldn't say he's one of my favourite writers. That's one of the things I felt slightly queasy about - about accepting this job without adapting Valley of the Worm into Bloodstar. None of his characters were human to me. They were just brutes and I felt that if I were to do anything with it, I would have turned them into human beings.
I believe a fairy-tale happy ending is a false myth. We can hope for good things, but we can't hope for that.
I don't believe there's a pure innocence. A person could be innocent in murdering a person, but he might have thought about it.
I have this painting. It's a self-portrait. It gets older and older as the years go by, but I don't! If there's anything all men deny, that's their own mortality. We're all doomed and put on earth for a while, and then that's it!
Yes, in that my heroic characters don't hurt people needlessly or kill people needlessly; they're also not thieves.
I feel it's true. I feel that it's barely underneath the surface; ther are still savages.
The message in my work is that the individuals will survive no matter what. If the modern world destroys itself, there will still be a somebody left to be fully developed and live a full life.
I don't know if it will be an instant holocaust, I believe we are courting disaster in many ways. I don't know if it will happen in a flash or if it will happen slowly.
It would be simpler in some ways. Still, the post-holocaust world is doomed, with all the residual radioactivity around. It's not a place where you can live a long life.
Many people might think I'm conservative or a right-winger, but then when you talk to somebody who is a right-winger, you would probably thing I'm liberal.
Because my characters are not rebels and they don't want chaos; they know that there have to be rules to follow.
You have to be specific - it may be something related to crumbling world.
It's something to react against.
There's all kinds of violence I portray. It's only graphic in a stylized way. To portray the pain is impossible. It takes some imagination on the viewer's part. It might require more exaggeration, more distortion, more abstractions than I put into the stuff.
That's their opinion.
My characters are never violent for the sake of being violent. It's always forced on them or is a means to an important end.
Surivival and protecting things you love, I imagine.
I'd kill them on the spot!
Yes. I always knew there was one part of me that could turn like a sword or be violent in an instant.
The trouble is when I argue, not only am I arguing with the other person, I'm arguing with myself.
I believe I was leading into something like a change of attitude when I was training at karate school. If someone cut me off during that period, I wanted to chase him down. That's repressed in me, that flying off the handle.
No, I don't raise my voice. If I were to raise my voice, I might become violent.
There's something deep in the human id that is both fascinated and repelled by violence. Violence is so much a part of human existence, there's no getting away from it. Even being born and dying.
Dying often is. Birth is sometimes violent for the mother and has a lot of discomfort.
I sheltered Beth from the more violent things, the more explicit sexual stuff.
When they seem mature.
I'm an advocate of freedom. That might be included in it.
It's all right to repress sex among children. It's not all right in adults. They should be able to look at anything they want, within reason, as long as they're not hurting anybody.
You can't fight 'em. You can't win by logic - it's not logical. It's just something you have to put up with, or what you can do is sidestep way...
I wouldn't be very happy about that.
If I were an outlaw, I would consider going to another country.
They are solitary people, generally introverted, not parts of gangs, not really that sociable; but they are introspective.
I think individualists are responsible for all the great discoveries on earth. All the great scientists or artists are great individuals.
There are some artists and people: Einstein, Maxfield
Parrish - because he painted the way he lived and the way he
wanted. I'd say that because he was an illustrator but was so
successful at it, he could just go off and do what he wanted.
The antinuclear movement. I feel the so-called engineers and scientists have this superior attitude that they know everything. And I feel they don't know anything. Our environment consists of a very complex formula, and they have many of the items in the formula, but they don't have all of them, because it's an inhuman operation. People run the thing but they don't know what they're creating. It's a self-perpetuating monster!
To me, the individual is everything. Everything that's important has come from us because we're individuals as opposed to committee! I was impressed by Walt Disney. He was a great individual. He created an empire and became powerful. His corporation became overpossessive about their properties. They've got so much money but they're worried about cartoonists ripping them off in some way.
Just in a small way; I want just a small empire.
I want a publishing house. I would like to have enough money to do various things that I want to pursue. I want to pursue my sculptures, my movies, paintings, body buidling, and so on.
Maybe if you twisted my arm. [Mr. Corben's correction, #4]
Copyright © 2001 Heart-Attack-Series, Ink!, SidSid Keränen
Appeared first time 17th Feb. 2001. Last modified March 8, 2006.