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Q&A: Comic Icon Richard Corben on “RAT GOD”

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Having been in the comic business for nearly 50 years, Richard Corben has established himself as one of the go-to icons of horror and sci-fi comics. Though he is frequently seen collaborating with other writers, his most recent endeavor, RAT GOD, sees him take both the creative mantles in an original new mini-series. Mixing Lovecraftian mythos with Native American magic, the series will be hitting the shelves from Dark Horse Comics in February, to the delight of horror fans everywhere. Richard Corben sits down with FANGORIA for a quick and dirty about his up-coming new title.

FANGORIA: RAT GOD has a longer story arc than most of your past work. What made you decide to try a mini-series than a series of one-shots?

RICHARD CORBEN: In a longer story, I and hopefully the reader can get to know the characters better than in the shorter stories. Also, there is more space to develop things like mood and pacing. The elements don’t have to be immediate and in your face. With more pages, I can move the plot forward at a deliberate speed with more depth and subtly.  There is also a tendency to feel a longer story is better just because of its size, which is obviously absurd.  I personally like comics of varying lengths, short and long.  I think the longer ones are harder to do.

FANG: Mixing Lovecraftian mythology with Native American spiritualism has made for a very unique take on horror for both. What inspired you to combine these two seemingly opposite elements?

CORBEN: The original concept was to use some themes similar to those as from some of Lovecraft’s stories, such as the existence of unknown ancient civilizations. I thought a very appropriate source in such a case would be the prehistoric American tribes. I feel this is an honest approach, even though I used some real tribes as well as some I made up.

FANG: There is a very diverse collection of Native American clothing and language in the comic. How much research did you put in RAT GOD, and will you be exploring further in the mythology of the tribes?

CORBEN: I did some research on the native costumes, buildings, totem poles, and sign language; but, I would have done more on such varied and interesting subjects if only there had been a greater lead time. Native American mysticism, folklore and mythology are vast rich subjects for modern renderings. I made no specific adaptations although I immersed myself in the material in the hope that some of the mood and aura would rub off into my work.

FANG: It’s been a while since we’ve seen you both write and draw a title. What is it about RAT GOD that has inspired you to take the reign on both endeavors?

CORBEN: Even when I draw comic stories from scripts of other writers, I think about how I might have written such a story.  This has been true from the beginning of my career.  Adapting literature to the comic form is a step in the direction of complete authorship, so occasionally I follow the urge to write. I may have set out to write a pastiche of Lovecraftian themes; I think RAT GOD moved away from that concept, for better or worse.

FANG: Will we be seeing anymore longer works come our way?

CORBEN: I have some ideas for another long story and some others for a series of short stories.  Whichever might be developed first is unknown at this point. I lean one way, then the other.

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Richard Corben’s RAT GOD #1 will hit shelves from Dark Horse Comics on February 4th.

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About the author
Svetlana Fedotov http://facebook.com/vladkicksass
Svetlana Fedotov hails from the wild woods of the Pacific Northwest. She loves horror and comic books, and does her best to combine those two together at any cost. She also writes for the horror site Brutal as Hell and sometimes for the magazine Delirium. Svetlana has recently released her first novel, Guts and Glory, under the pen name S.V. Fedotov on Amazon digital.
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