by Richard Corben
Catalan Communications 1984
'Den' started out as a short animated film Richard Corben made in 1968. In 1975 - 1976, a 12-part Den: Neverwhere comic was printed in the French magazine Metal Hurlant; an English language translation was reprinted in the U. S. magazine Heavy Metal in 1977 - 1978.
Looking at Den 40 years later, it can be easy to regard it as a quaint example of a 70s 'underground' comic gone aboveground into some degree of respectability.......a comic designed to market T & A to the male-under-30 readership.
Corben's unique acetate-overlay technique for color printing gives his illustrations a visual impact that would not be duplicated until the comics industry began to adopt the use of computer-generated coloring techniques in the mid-80s. As Corben explains it:
I invented a techinque - my system of color overlays - which apparently nobody can understand, but it's really very simple. The luminescent quality of my color overlays is derived from the way I combine the colors. I shoot the photomechanical separations myself, to a slightly higher contrast than a normal photo engraver would do. This makes the colors appear brighter. I'm excited when I do finally see the colors. I can see if my ideas work well or not so well.
Den: Neverwhere works in a lot of Corben's 'cinematic' visual style, by using different points of view and perspectives, along with a more imaginative approach to the use of his layouts and page designs.