"Bloodstar" aka
"King of the Northern Abyss"

1) 94 pgs. Appeared first time in Bloodstar [Morning Star] (1976) . Preview ("The Slaying of Satha", 6 pgs) in Ariel [#1] (1976).
Story: Robert E. Howard. Adapt.: Richard Corben & John Jakes. Art: Richard Corben. Lettering: printed.

2) 107 pgs. Reprinted in Bloodstar [Ariel] (1979) .
Story: Robert E. Howard. Adapt.: Richard Corben, John Jakes & John Pocsik. Art: Richard Corben (no signature, © 1975, 1976, 1979). Lettered by hand (unknown).

3) 93 pgs. Reprinted in Heavy Metal #45 (1980) to #52 (1981) .
Story: Robert E. Howard. Adapt.: Richard Corben, John Jakes & John Pocsik. Art: Richard Corben (no signature, © 1975, 1976, 1979). Color(colored by Corben's overlays techinique): Herb & Diana Arnold. Lettering: printed.

FRA FRA: as "Bloodstar [FRA]", as a 15 part serial in Metal Hurlant #47 to #49 (1980), and #51 (1980) to #62 (1981) [not in #50], and as one in Bloodstar [FRA] (1981).
GER GER: as "Bloodstar [GER]", as a 6 part serial in Schwermetall #3 (1980) to #8 (1980), and as a 6 part serial in Schwermetall, Sammelband #3 to #8, as one in Bloodstar [GER] (1980).
ITA ITA: as "Bloodstar [ITA]", as a 7 part serial Alter alter #5/6 (1980), #7-#9, #11-#12 (1981), and once only part (!) #1 (1981), and as one in Bloodstar [ITA] (1981).
NL NL
: as "Bloedster", as a 3 part (only the beginning!) COL serial in 1984 [NL] #9 (1981) to #13 (1982).
SPA SPA: as "Bloodstar [SPA]", as a 6 part serial in Creepy [SPA] #8 to #13, as one in Bloodstar [SPA] (1981), and as one in Richard Corben obras completas #7 (1987).
YUG YUG
: as "Bladstar", as a 23 part serial in Stripoteka #679 (1981) to #701 (1982) Vers.3.

Style: Greytones / Full color on greytones. Genre: Fantasy. Time Span: Ancient history. Nudity: Half naked voluptuous girl.
Keywords: After destruction. Primitivity. Saga. Ritual. Abandon. Family. Beasts. Ghost. Monster. Abyss.
Story Origin: Robert E. Howard short story, "The Valley of the Worm".
Synopsis: An epic story of a post-holocaust world of Bloodstar and tribe. He wants to live peaceful with a family, but he must survive barbaric armies, beasts, sable tooth tiger, gigantic snake monster and finally the madness and sorcery of an unspeakable peril known as the King of the Northern Abyss.
Comment: B&W version of Corben's saga of Bloodstar by Robert E. Howard is one of his best works; no matter comic has a great deal of text! Story losts quite much of touch in color format.
Colors: Richard Corben revealed in Heavy Metal interview that the story was colored by his overlays technique, but he did not do it by himself; who did the coloring, there was no mention. Later I contacted to Mr. Corben and asked about it. He replied that those times he used several assistants and as far as he remembers it was Herb & Diana Arnold, but he's not in contact with them anymore and cannot verify that information.
Versions, & : Comic story art is as equal as possible, though one is in B&W and the other in color. has divided into chapters; every chapter starts with two extra explanation pages (text on black background). Entire story, in both reprints, is rewritten by John Pocsik.
Comparing the original story and comic story adaptation (thanks Plogg): The plot is basically the same as Howard's original story, which took place not in the future, but long ago, "not merely centuries and milleniums, but epochs and dim ages unguessed by the wildest philosopher." It was (prob.) Richard Corben's idea to set the story far in the future, long after disaster destroyed the earth (that is a characteristic for Richard Corben). The main difference between "Bloodstar" and "The Valley of the Worm" is that the original story isn't narrated by Grom, but by James Allison (who recurs in a few of Howard's short stories), a modern day man who is able to recall his earlier incarnations (if you believe in reincarnation). Richard Corben says it was Gil Kane who changed the character's name from Niord to Bloodstar. Also, there is no Helva or Loknar in the original, and the battle with the tiger almost killed Niord: "I killed saber-tooth in a battle that would make a saga in itself, and for months afterward I lay semi-delirious with ghastly wounds that made the toughest warriors shake their heads." In the end, Niord dies in the same manner that Bloodstar. (Incidentally, the name of Bloodstar's rival, "Loknar", was used again as the name of the powerful scepter in "Neverwhere", though there it was spelled "Locnar".)
Extra (thanks Stu and Plogg): R. E. Howad's original short story "The Valley of the Worm" appeared for the first time in Weird Tales (Feb. 1934 issue). It was republished in 1968 in novel form in R.E. Howard's "Wolfshead" (Lancer), and in an earlier paperback collection of stories from Weird Tales called "Skull-Face and others" (Arkham House, 1946), and "Worlds of Weird" (Pyramid, 1965).
In Jan. 1972 Marvel Comics released Conan the Barbarian #13. The comic story "Web of the Spider-God" was plotted (created) by John Jakes. It was adapted by Roy Thomas, writer, and Barry (Windsor-)Smith, artist. From this start, John Jakes then did another "Conan the Barbarian" plot, one "Kull" and a "Brak" tale. Marvel then started adapting John Jake's "Brak the Barbarian" in it's Savage Tales. Because of this Savage Tales comics connection he must have meet Gil Kane and Richard Corben. John Jakes went on to write the Kent Family Chronicles, "North and South", "Love and War" and "Homeland". In April 1973 Marvel Comics released Supernatural Thrillers #3. It was an adaptation of R.E. Howard's "The Valley of the Worm" produced in comic form. It was adapted by Roy Thomas and Gerry Conway, writers, and Gil Kane, artist.
In 1976 Morning Star Press edition of Bloodstar was released. It was also an adaptation of the same R.E. Howard's story. The author John Jakes wrote a lot of additional material fleshen out the story, but Richard Corben did a final written version and all the breakdowns and designed the characters and practically wrote it from those two other pieces (the R. E. Howard's original and Jake's). The 1979 print was rewritten by John Pocsik. The tittle pages were added in the same print.
The one of the first mentions of the (upcoming) Richard Corben's comic story adaptation - then under workname "King of the Northern Abyss" (!) - was in Robert E. Howard: Lone Star Fictioneer I, 3 (Fall, 1975) and Mediascene #16 (Dec. 1975).

Copyright © 1997 Heart-Attack-Series, Ink!,
Created: Aug. 23, 1997. Modified: September 29, 2012.