by Richard Corben
Appeared in Heavy Metal #54, Sept. 1981 (vol. V no. 6).
Interview, by Brad Balfour:
I have a few things to say about the Corben interview you ran in Heavy Metal, June, July, August 1981. I remember when you were here to do the interview, I asked if I could see the manuscript. You said no, and you assured me that it would be a great interview, one that would show me as an intelligent, cultured, slightly mysterious person to my fans. You told me you had interviewed many people including famous rock stars and you had never recieved a complaint. Brad, this is a complaint. When I read the first installment, I was shocked. I was not presented as a cultured, intelligent person, but rather a pretty, childish, borderline psychotic oaf. The interview contains many errors: errors of transcription, errors of editorial juxtaposition, and worse, errors of editorial taste and judgment. Yes, I know you called me to clarify a few points while you were assembling the thing, but damn it, Brad, if I could have read the entire manuscript before it was published, those errors and my embarrassment would have been avoided entirely.
I would now like to go over specific items, and I want you to publish this letter uncut and conspicuously in the next issue. Please, no smart intros or editorial inserts. You owe me that much, since I didn't have the chance to defend myself before you published the interview.
First, your introductions: in general they weren't as offensive as some of the later material but somewhat pretentious. After reading the introductions and interview and remembering back to when you were here, I get the feeling that you thought I was an extremely dull person and you would have to do an extensive amount of creative editorializing to make me appear as exciting as some swinging rock superstar. No, thank you. I'd rather be dull.
Your questions led the interview in directions that seem irrelevant to me. I think you were trying to psychoanalyze me and my work. I feel the images in my work do not specifically suggest what you infer. For instance, a drawing might show a hugely muscled male nude (corr. #1). This in itself is not deviant; however, the viewer projects some of his own feelings onto the drawing. He might view the art and say it shows "hidden homosexual or S&M tendencies." A simple interpretation would be that the image shows a heroic idealism developed to such an extreme degree as to be slightly satirical and tongue-in-cheeck. This is in fact the intent. I think much of your interview reveals more of you than me.
There are some items that should not have been discussed, things that are bad enough in private conversation but are inexcusable when published in print.My wife (corr. #2) didn't care for being the subject of printed gossip. If I had been all together when you started asking about my wife and my private life, I would have stopped the interview. I'm not used to interviews and certainly not comfortable through them. I'm generally a nonverbal person. I don't respond well to fast-paced questions; I like to organize my thoughts before answering.
Some of your implications are idiotic. At the end of the first installment, you asked: "Will you ever draw a character with small breasts (corr. #4)?" At the time it sounded like a joke and didn't need a serious answer. For you, I guess it did. I would like to point out that I have portrayed small-breasted women (Morningstar's Venus record cover that you used to illustrate the second installment of the interview), and I shall again when there is a need.
Early in the second installment, there is a transcription error. Eleven lines from the top, second column, it is printed "the German within me (corr. #5)." I never said that. I am not German nor do I have anything against Germans. Those are not words I would use. In fact, this installment has too many errors to mention.
The Bill Griffith (corr. #6) bit should have been deleted from the interview. Things said verbally in jest lose the humor when transcribed to cold type. I'm sorry this was printed. I have nothing against Bill Griffith. But even if I did, a published interview is not the place to expose such dirty laundry.
On the fifth page of the second installment, middle column, second line: my former boss's name is Ed Faust, not Ed Thoust (corr. #7). Sorry, Ed.
On the paragraphs concerning Armand Eisen and Gil Kane: Kane (corr. #8) has never moved to Kansas City. At the bottom of the last page, second installment, there is a very bad error of editorial juxtaposition: in the first column we are discussing Bloodstar, then in the second column you switch to a paragraph where the subject was Den, without letting the reader know you changed the subject. It's all very confused and confusing. I have never had any legal rights to Bloodstar.
The last installment is the least offensive, but it is very confusing. The caption for the progressive stages of the Arabian Nights illustation (corr. #9) makes no sense whatsoever. I believe you took a few lines from the transcription where I'm talking about another piece of artwork and transposed it to this cover. It reads like gibberish.
To my fans who were expecting an interview of great insight to my work, my sincere apologies.
And finally, for the record, I do not want to kill anybody (corr. #3) and I do not want to beat up anyone.
The Richard Corben Interview, Answer, in Heavy Metal #54, Sept. 1981, by Richard Corben
Copyright © 2003 Heart-Attack-Series, Ink!,
Created: Sept. 18, 2003. Modified: January 14, 2019.