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excellent writing
exceptional art
historical bonus 2
total score 8
grim wit 1 1st _ grim wit 2
Grim Wit #1
Grim Wit #2
Grim Wit

1972-1973 / Rip Off Press
- Last Gasp
Richard Corben has enjoyed a long and successful career as a comic illustrator, but his success did not come quickly or easily. He was nearly thirty years old before he was published in small-circulation publications and eventually by underground comic publishers. Before that, Corben worked in construction with his father and for many years at Calvin Studios, a Kansas City commercial animation company. His first published work appeared in the fanzine Voice of Comicdom in 1968. In 1970, he had finally saved enough money to self-publish three sci-fi stories in the first issue of Fantagor, which started as a magazine-size fanzine. He expected great success, but the book sold poorly through mail order.

Corben didn't appear to be particularly interested in the underground comic revolution and never got the bug to move out to the West Coast and join the fray. But Gary Arlington, founder of the legendary San Francisco Comic Book Company, contacted Corben after seeing his work and encouraged him to get together with some underground publishers. Corben ended up contributing to several undergrounds before Last Gasp reprinted Fantagor #1 in comic book form at the end of 1971, which sold very well. From 1970 through 1972, Corben produced a lot of content for several other underground comic books and contributed single stories to anthologies like Slow Death and Skull.

The two issues of Grim Wit came along in 1972 and '73, at the tail end of Corben's prodigious work in underground comic titles. Though he later contributed a pair of great covers for Bizarre Sex, most of his subsequent work appeared in Warren Publishing's horror magazines; Creepy, Eerie and Vampirella, and later in the landmark anthologies Metal Hurlant and Heavy Metal. In the '80s and early '90s, Corben self-published several of his greatest works (both old and new) under his Fantagor Press insignia, including Children of Fire, Den and Densaga, From the Pit, Horror in the Dark, Mutant World and Tales of the Black Diamond.

Grim Wit #1 features two Corben classics: "The Beast of Wolfton" and "Necromancer," the former being a 25-page tale of werewolf-themed horror. Grim Wit #2 is best known for the first appearance of Corben's most famous character, Den, which he created in 1968 for his award-winning, self-produced animated short called "Neverwhere."