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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #1
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Requiem Vampire Knight

Is someone else reading this comic? I started it this year and it is blowing my mind.

It is written by Pat Mills (creator of Marshal Law, Charley's War, Nemesis the Warlock, SlŠine, had a hand in Judge Dredd and 2000AD, among others) and with art by Olivier Ledroit, about whom I hadn't heard anything until reading this. The original is in French (Requiem Chevalier Vampire), but it was published in English in Heavy Metal Magazine, and I think it is being released on its own right now. I was able to get copies in Spanish from a friend. There is another comic called Claudia Vampire Knight (Claudia Chevalier Vampire), but I hadn't been able to legally find any copies.

The comic is about Resurrection, a Purgatory-like place (more like Hell) where one resurrects as a mosster after dying. The worse one's sins were while alive the more powerful one is in Resurrection; vampires are the ruling class. One of the ways to achieve redemption and leave the place behind is by murdering one's tormentor while one was alive.

The idea is pretty original, I think, and the art is phenomenal. Has anyone else read it? Any thoughts?

Your fall should be like the fall of mountains. But I was before mountains. I was in the beginning, and shall be forever. The first and the last. The world come full circle. I am not the wheel. I am the hand that turns the wheel. I am Time, the Destroyer. I was the wind and the stars before this. Before planets. Before heaven and hell. And when all's done, I will be wind again, to blow this world as dust back into endless space. To me the coming and going of Man is as nothing.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #2
Robert Adam Gilmour
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Re: Requiem Vampire Knight

I have a couple of the books. Ledroit really goes beyond the usual level and I admire that he takes it that seriously. Like I've said on other threads, comic art often reeks of deadlines and "I guess that'll do" (I've been a big comic fan for years).
He's kind of like a new Druillet (whose Lone Sloane books 6 Voyages and Delirious is being reprinted in English).

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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #3
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Re: Requiem Vampire Knight

Thank you very much, Robert.

I read four Requiem books so far. I knew about Pat Mills before, but not about Olivier Ledroit.

According to Wikipedia, to break into the French market was a lifelong dream for Mills, moreso than the US market, where some of his comics were published, like Marshal Law by Epic Comics and Metalzoic by DC. In order to do this he created Editions Nickel with Ledroit, just to publish Requiem.

Since they had little money, at first they only had nine months to publish each book, but, after the success they had with the first two volumes, Ledroit had more time to work on his art, and it tells. At the beginning the plan was to publish only three Requiem books (like they did before with Sha, a comic I hadn't read so far), but now it can go up to between 13 and 15 (they published 11 in French so far).

There is a huge difference between the French market and the American market, because the French take a lot of time to take a series from start to finish, while the Americans relie much more on their monthly delivery, and the artwork and the storytelling suffer a lot, relying much more on impact and on getting the reader hooked with cliffhangers and other tricks.

I had not read much by Druillet, just some short stories in Heavy Metal, one of them called Necronomicon; I can't recall the others right now. I will try to reread them and compare both styles.

Cheers.

Your fall should be like the fall of mountains. But I was before mountains. I was in the beginning, and shall be forever. The first and the last. The world come full circle. I am not the wheel. I am the hand that turns the wheel. I am Time, the Destroyer. I was the wind and the stars before this. Before planets. Before heaven and hell. And when all's done, I will be wind again, to blow this world as dust back into endless space. To me the coming and going of Man is as nothing.
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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #4
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Re: Requiem Vampire Knight

Yragael and Urm are my favourite Druillet books, La Nuit is quite impressive too. I haven't seen Salammbo yet. Hopefully they'll follow after the Lone Sloane stuff.

This guy Kilian Eng is more like Druillet than anyone else I've seen. He's amazing.
http://dwdesign.tumblr.com/

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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #5
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Re: Requiem Vampire Knight

Wow, Kilian Eng is amazing. The drawing at the top right corner reminds me of Little Nemo by Winsor McCay; I saw some Moebius there as well.

I will check those books by Druillet; thanks for the shout out. And please, do read Hellboy and Baltimore (the prose novel is OK, with lots of mood) by Mignola if you don't already; my avatar picture is by him.

Cheers.

PD: I just checked your stuff and it's great, for a variety of reasons.

Your fall should be like the fall of mountains. But I was before mountains. I was in the beginning, and shall be forever. The first and the last. The world come full circle. I am not the wheel. I am the hand that turns the wheel. I am Time, the Destroyer. I was the wind and the stars before this. Before planets. Before heaven and hell. And when all's done, I will be wind again, to blow this world as dust back into endless space. To me the coming and going of Man is as nothing.

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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #6
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Re: Requiem Vampire Knight

Thankyou.

I've read a few Hellboy collections, mostly the Richard Corben ones because I follow his work generally. I was a bit mixed on them but I wanted to read some more eventually. Hellboy In Hell looks good.

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Old 2 Weeks Ago   #7
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Re: Requiem Vampire Knight

Hellboy in Hell is one my favorites. I recently started with Corben and his Poe adaptations; I had heard of him before but never read anything until I picked his Hellboy issues and now he is an acquired taste. Dark Horse will release an original series by him next year called The Rad God, with Lovecraftian influences and I am very much looking forward for it.

Your fall should be like the fall of mountains. But I was before mountains. I was in the beginning, and shall be forever. The first and the last. The world come full circle. I am not the wheel. I am the hand that turns the wheel. I am Time, the Destroyer. I was the wind and the stars before this. Before planets. Before heaven and hell. And when all's done, I will be wind again, to blow this world as dust back into endless space. To me the coming and going of Man is as nothing.
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Re: Requiem Vampire Knight

Corben has came back to Poe several times in his career. He even has a bunch of illustrations he wanted to use for a Poe story collection.

I written a stack of reviews of Corben last year...

CREEPY PRESENTS RICHARD CORBEN
This is not a complete collection of Corbenís Warren work and I appreciate that the book notes what was missing (Dark Horse still doesnít possess the rights to it all). There is a Corben cover to the Harris published final issue of Creepy, and Iíve heard that the Vampirella appearances of Corben are all in just two of the volumes of Vampirella Archives if you really need that stuff (the earlier Heavy Metal collection of Creepy and Eerie includes some of that material).

Some people have said the reproduction of the art is not as good as it could have been, I donít have all the different printings of the stories to compare, but I have no complaints about that department. There are extensive notes about the restoration of the art, some stories are scanned from the original art and look better than they have ever looked.

The overall quality of the stories is uneven, given the nature of this collection, that shouldnít surprise anyone. Some of these stories are some of my favourite comics ever. Something that characterises this era of horror comics is the sentimentality, this is for good and bad; the better stories like the stranded at sea with sharks one, the one about the growing giant girl, the Christmas serial killer one and the one about Santaís helpers all have a sad tenderness that mixes well with the horror. On the other hand, the bad side of this is the overwritten tale of the reanimated corpse with a young boyís head, which goes too far in trying to be sweet and sad. It probably would have been more sad if the writing had been more restrained.
Another highlight is the 3 part story of romance, dinosaurs and time travel with Bruce Jones. The first two parts are great, you keep wondering where the story could possibly go next, but with the third part everything is ridiculous and unconvincing, perhaps Jones felt heíd written himself into a corner and just stopped trying to make it convincing. Unlike the people in the notes for the book, I thought Jones and Corben done it better in Rip In Time.

I still think this is some of the best stuff Corben ever done and it is great that new generations can enjoy some work that was almost invisible for too long and I hope it encourages more collections of Corben and similar artists and maybe even this type of horror comics in general.

The one criticism Iíve had of Corbenís art is that whenever there is a beautifully rendered smooth surface next to something more rough and hectic like tree branches, grass, flowers or hair, the smooth rendering often abruptly ends and can look really jarring at times. Iíd imagine whatever rendering techniques he was using made it very difficult to do more complex detail at the same level.
I really love that multicolor lurid lighting technique he sometimes does here, Iíd love to see him use that approach again.

Heavily recommended.

HELLBOY: HOUSE OF THE LIVING DEAD by Mike Mignola and Richard Corben
I get Hellboy whenever Corben does it, itís one of the few franchises that feels like a really good fit for him, but I do wonder why he had to change the way he draws Hellboy to be more like Mignolaís version; this gives me nasty flashbacks to Kirbyís Superman with the redrawn heads.
I liked Crooked Man best of all the Corben Hellboy books, the first part of Double Feature was good and Bride Of Hell was not bad either. But Iím still not entirely sold on the series, his grumpy Ben Grimm/The Thing attitude isnít very interesting and more than anything, I like it as a vehicle for mythical monsters.
This is an okay book, mostly recommended for the art and the various classic cinema style monsters he gets to draw.

BIGFOOT by Steve Niles, Rob Zombie and Richard Corben

A quick, passable but not terribly interesting story which I donít know why taken two people to write. The art is good but with nothing show stopping to recommend on that basis. It feels a little too slight. The only thing that really sticks out in the memory is the nightmare a boy has.

UNDERGROUND 1 by Richard Corben
This is the first of three books of mostly black and white art, each about 80 pages. I think more were planned. Sadly they didnít include covers or illustrations from this era and Catalan must have insisted some of the stories being censored. A similar collection by Warren, The Odd Comic World Of Richard Corben was not censored and it has material not included in the three Underground books.
To be honest, story wise I donít think most of these tales are up to much and they arenít very funny either. At best they provided an opportunity for Corben to draw what he did best and I guess I have to strongly recommend this work for that. I really like the way the story hosts look and a few stories have some really lovely color.

Iíve recently heard that Corben plans to reprint this stuff soon. I hope the upcoming books are more extensive. Iíd like to see covers, comic and magazine illustrations, portfolios, sculptures, life drawings; everything really. A lot of his 80s and 90s creator owned work has never had a proper collection, some of it had really ambitious techniques and Iíd really like to see that stuff because Iím not in the mood for tracking down individual comics and magazines anymore.

RICHARD CORBEN ART BOOK 1
This is the first of two art books; I only managed to get the first. Flights Into Fantasy is another Corben art book I could never find at a reasonable price. There is a lot of commentary from the artist about each piece. Some of the comments that interested me most was that he said a lot of his monsters were versions of people that scared him and the monstrous interpretations helped him deal with his fears. His own doubts about his work are interesting. Also the part about his take on gender and species being more expansive and less easily defined in his fictional world.

VIC AND BLOOD by Harlan Ellison and Richard Corben

I really enjoyed this book, it got me hungry for the story to continue and it bothers me that Ellison is likely to die before he finishes it. The original text versions and the comic versions are all included, so my biggest reservation is that, as good as they are, the comic versions feel a bit redundant, because there is nothing in there that Corben really adds to make it different or enhanced in any way. Corben did a story for Dream Corridor series too, even though I hadnít read the original text versions of those either, I imagined the Ellison texts were much better. Iíd rather Ellison did completely new comic stories (I know he did some original DC and Marvel superhero stories) or gave the artists some material that they could bring something new to.

BODYSSEY by Simon Revelstoke and Richard Corben
This is one of the more impressive looking Corben books, but the writing is typical of the bad humorous fantasy of the time, poor giggly sex jokes. There is even one part that might be seen as homophobic and the main excuse to the contrary would be that all the characters are supposed to be idiots. Some of the phallic creatures are really great.

There is a portfolio of the characters at the end. Some versions of the book have much richer colors than others.

DEN 2: Muvovum by Richard Corben
The printing of the Den series can be a bit confusing with all the serializations in magazines, comics and all the different versions of the books. But it goes like this: Den 1: Neverwhere, Den 2: Muvovum, Den 3: Children Of Fire, Den 4: Dreams, Den 5: Elements, Densaga (no book version in English) and Denz (no book version in English).
The fourth and fifth parts of Den are written by Simon Revelstroke and Denz written by Jan Strnad
I donít think the Den story was ever completed, it stopped around the mid 90s and I would be very surprised if it continued. All the Den comics, covers and illustrations could probably fit into a book under 600 pages, I hope this will happen soon.

I never followed the story of Den very well; it usually seemed like a standard fantasy plot of characters going from place to place, getting stuck in bad places and saving each other. I think the sniggering jokeyness about sex and nudity really undermined things, as I thought the general frankness of the nudity was very inspiring. I loved how the Red Queenís costume actually highlighted her nudity.
The naked pride, the vulnerability of the body, fattening Den, masculine women, a skeletal person, humanoid mixtures of different species, mutations and morphs toward the more desirable or the more frightening and repulsive; the physicality of the Den series was the best thing. It is also a showcase for some of his very best art. Iíd have to be able to get a hold of the entire series to really know that it was more than that, but I have seen every page at one point.

I think parts 3-4-5 and maybe even Densaga were done in less than ideal circumstances, at the time nudity in a comic could get you in trouble or placed in a discrete place with all the porn comics, so the nudity was often toned down or strategically hidden behind things. I think the art faced tougher deadlines since Corben was his own publisher at this point, the art in these parts would go from the standard style he used for less ambitious fare, then for a few sequences he would do his lavish best in virtuoso technique.

I think overall Den 2: Muvovum is the best of all the parts. It has the most consistently impressive art and it has some of the most disturbing body horror Iíve seen in anything.

EDGAR ALAN POE by Richard Corben and Richard Margopoulos
This contains a few Warren era Poe adaptations written by Margopoulos and is ended by a version of Fall Of The House Of Usher written by himself.
In Usher he manages a really good atmosphere but spoiled it a bit with a jokey comment about a womanís body (this is a recurring problem in Corbenís work). The misty, ghostly dream sequence looks incredible and Iíd love to see an entire book that looked like that.
Corben would later return to Poe at Marvel, then at Dark Horse and even do a couple of animations shown on his personal website. He has done several versions of some tales, including Usher.

Herb and Diana Arnold do what I think is easily the best color job on Corben that he didnít do himself. Iíve never seen anything else by them.
This book does not include the cover art that the Usher comic had.

WEREWOLF by Richard Corben

A collection of mostly Underground and Warren era werewolf stories. One of the Warren stories has an impressive new rendering/color job which is even better than the original. One of the stories is in a different language. The cover art is brilliant.

HAUNT OF HORROR by Poe, Lovecraft and Richard Corben
Corben adapts Poe and Lovecraft stories and poems with help from Richard Margopoulos and Rick Dahl in the writing department. Since the original text stories had to be printed alongside the comic versions, I think some lesser known texts were chosen because they had to fit in a short space.
The interpretations are often interesting, in the case of the poems, I wasnít sure at what pace to read some of the comics to make the poems work.
There is a really great panel in one of the stories of a man behind a woman, moving to grab her and she has a really brilliant smile in the image.

Corben has done Poe and Lovecraft quite a lot, some W H Hogson, R E Howard and C A Smith. I wonder how much of his adaptations have been influenced by commercial concerns? Maybe he would have liked to do Blackwood, M R James and E F Benson?

First there was 3 Poe comics, then 3 Lovecraft comics and individual collections of each and then this collection of all of that with additional drawings and story pages not included in the earlier comics. I cant recall if this book includes all the original text stories though.

HOUSE ON THE BORDERLAND by William Hope Hodgson, Simon Revelstroke and Richard Corben
Iíve heard some say this is a disappointing adaptation but I liked it a lot. One thing I like about the Hodgson source material is how it felt like it could have went in a thousand different directions, so it is open to a very wide range of versions/interpretations. Very atmospheric and ominous with some bursts of savagery.
I think this is one of my favourite comics.

Alan Moore provides an introduction, since he wasnít able to see the finished comic, he mostly tries to give you a helpful introduction to the works of Hodgson and a few similar writers.

STARR THE SLAYER by Daniel Way and Richard Corben
In the late 90s I think Corben might have fallen on harder financial times, he became mostly involved with franchise characters for DC and Marvel. Characters like Cage, Hellblazer/Constantine, Hulk, Punisher, Ghost Rider, Swamp Thing, a tiny bit of Batman, The Spirit and The Spectre. Some of these are more fitting than others, I wasnít interested in most of those projects; an odd side effect was doing a short piece for Harvey Pekarís American Splendor. Also for DC there was the sort of anthology comics he would have worked on anyway, some with old favourite collaborators like Bruce Jones.

I think Starr possibly represents the nadir of his DC and Marvel involvement. It has some really nice art in places, a really well drawn black male character, a cool crocodile creature but the story and writing by Daniel Way are really bad. The dialogue is full of swearing and dirty language as if this is supposed to be very funny, possibly adding to Corbenís undeserved reputation of being very immature.
I read an interview with the creators where they said that they were not allowed to do the project as they wished. Starr was supposed to be uglier. I suspect this was a bad experience that forced Corben to get better projects.

TALES OF THE BLACK DIAMOND by Richard Margopoulos and Richard Corben
A collection of horror stories of varying quality, sometimes the black and white art looks overly murky. The series was supposed to be longer and I think some of the later chapters found their home in Odds And Ends. I donít think the covers from the original Horror In The Dark series were included. I quite liked the story of the axe murderer wife and the attractive fat landlady of the last chapter.

RIP IN TIME by Bruce Jones and Richard Corben
I think this is one of the most satisfying books by either Jones or Corben. It is an action, romance, time travel, dinosaur, crime story of the type Bruce Jones has returned to many times (including his short graphic novel Arena, which he done all by himself). Hearing this type of story described, it doesnít sound that interesting, but I found it really exciting. One of the best action movies Iíve ever seen, except it was a comic.
The covers of the comic series werenít included in this book, maybe next time the book comes out.

MUTANT WORLD by Jan Strnad and Richard Corben
A sometimes depressing story about a simple minded mutant who gets treated very poorly by just about everyone, some really unpleasant rape too. I think this is the best Jan Strnad/Corben book. The end has a really nice scene of the main character smiling and relaxing that really stands out.

There was a sequel called Son Of Mutant World. When the original serialization came out, the comic was in color a few issues and then black and white issues with overly heavy grey tones that spoiled the art. There was a non-English language collection of all the issues in full color. Such a collection is yet to appear in English.

JEREMY BROOD by Jan Strnad and Richard Corben
A fairly decent science fiction story with a premature ending forced by the poor sales of the series. To be honest, I didnít see a whole lot of promise in the story. Both creators have done far more interesting work which you should seek out ahead of this book. I recall there being a really lovely foggy scene in the book.

NEW TALES OF THE ARABIAN NIGHTS by Jan Strnad and Richard Corben
In one version of the book (there is another printing titled Last Voyage Of Sinbad) there is an extremely enthusiastic introduction by Harlan Ellison promoting elitism, but the story is simply just okay. The selling point of this book is the fantastic dramatic appearances of the enormous monstrous genie, the green undead warriors and the beautiful women.

RAGEMOOR by Jan Strnad and Richard Corben

Ragemoor was conceived as a Poe and Lovecraft style thing, but it reminds me far more of Hodgson's House On The Borderland, which Revelstoke and Corben adapted into a comic years ago. It's all about a living castle which shifts and morphs for mysterious reasons which gradually become clearer. It's a great premise with several great visual ideas but a number of things stop it from being as special as it could have been.

The quality of the art is plainly superior in the first issue/chapter to the remaining three. The last three are good, but they look rushed by comparison and many scenes don't have the drama, power and atmosphere they might have had; this isn't just about lavish rendering, the story suffers for this too. Another art problem is that there are lighting effects that distort the linework, this happens quite a lot in mainstream comics when a colorist goes overboard with effects on another artist, but in this case Corben did all the art. Some lines lose a lot of weight, so that sometimes the lines in a characters facial expression look weaker than they should and spoils a good drawing and renders the characters emotions less convincing.

The problems with the writing are that when the second issue started, the main character is writing poetry about the misfortune that fell upon a woman he recently met and has fallen in love with very quickly presumably because he is so isolated and slightly mad. He basically assigns himself as her love and protector and thinks of macho displays to win her even though she seems to be in really bad mental condition after she was attacked. You also find out there is an insect kitchen staff. I'm not sure it all of this is supposed to be funny, because most of the book seems to be played straight.
The biggest problem with the writing is that the language often reads like a parody of this particular genre of horror. Words like "forgotten lore" probably shouldn't be used even if you wanted to go for that archaic horror language because the clichť is overwhelming. It is difficult to write extravagantly in this style without becoming parody, but some words should obviously be avoided or used more carefully.

Despite all this, it is still a decent story and the visual ideas and the very idea of the place are the strongest thing to recommend the book. It really is all about the wonderful castle. I hope Corben keeps doing his original stories in this style but I think the clichťs need cleaned away if the works are going to have any real power.

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Re: Requiem Vampire Knight

I haven't kept track of Pat Mills in quite a while (truth be told, I'm not into comics that much nowadays), but Marshal Law is an old favourite of mine. This comic sounds interesting and I'll see about tracking it down.

Richard Corben is a master. I didn't like his style when I first saw it, but it grew on me until I realized just how perfect it was for things such as horror stories. The Haunt of Horror miniseries does take a few liberties with the Poe and H.P. originals (and sadly they're not always successful) but his artistic style really makes the adaptations pack an extra punch.
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Re: Requiem Vampire Knight

Wow, you really reviewed a lot of his work. In fact, I had already read Bigfoot and I forgot the art was by Corben.

Ramonoski, the same happened to me. At first I asked myself "What is the big deal with this Corben guy?" and then it grew in me, a lot. Now I can't wait for The Rat God, which i think will be published in February.

Also, Pat Mills is slowly becoming one of my favorites. Nemesis, Marshal Law and Requiem go a long way for me and I admire the fact that he never stopped doing comics and that his long series always tend to have great endings too.

The art for Claudia Vampire Knight is by Franck Tacito. Ever heard of him?

Your fall should be like the fall of mountains. But I was before mountains. I was in the beginning, and shall be forever. The first and the last. The world come full circle. I am not the wheel. I am the hand that turns the wheel. I am Time, the Destroyer. I was the wind and the stars before this. Before planets. Before heaven and hell. And when all's done, I will be wind again, to blow this world as dust back into endless space. To me the coming and going of Man is as nothing.

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