Illustration Art · Look Here · Richard Corben

Look Here: Three movie posters with art by Richard Corben

This morning RCN is pleased to present, for your viewing enjoyment and art-historical education, the posters for the movies Phantom of the Paradise, Heavy Metal, and Spookies, with art by Richard Corben:


Anyone know if Corben produced the art for any movie posters other than the three featured above?

I don’t recall any others myself, but I’m no expert…


See the comments section for an explanation of why I’ve added these two images:


Just one other thing: please don’t try to order from that old advertisement.

14 thoughts on “Look Here: Three movie posters with art by Richard Corben

  1. Thank you for posting this. There is also another version of the Heavy Metal movie, the original, in which the characters are nude… I have the poster, so I know it was produced… The layout for the Phantom poster is by Neal Adams….


  2. Thanks for the additional information, Jose.

    I was aware of the other version of Corben’s Heavy Metal poster; the first time I saw the image was in the pages of Heavy Metal magazine back in 1981 — August 1981, to be exact. In fact, I think I’ll scan that page and add it to the post…

    Also, I do believe the uncensored Corben poster was sold, along with others, in the pages of Heavy Metal. I’ll post the advertisement. I don’t think the uncensored poster was used to promote the film in theatre lobbies and the like, however.

    I did not know, btw, that Neal Adams did the layout for the Phantom of the Paradise poster. Even though he isn’t a favourite of mine, I will happily concede that Neil Adams has had an amazing career in comics, illustration, advertising, etc., etc. He turns up in the oddest places…


  3. You are welcome. According to some indexes, Corben also did the poster for “Return of the Street Fighter”, but looking at it, I am sure it was not him, but a mere imitator…


  4. I’m still curious, btw, if anyone knows of any other films that had posters with art by Richard Corben. I don’t remember any, but that’s not saying much…


  5. Ah, we posted at almost the same time, Jose. Thanks for the lead. I’ll definitely go and look up “Return of the Street Fighter.”


  6. Is this the poster that some indexes say is by Corben?

    If it is, Jose, I agree with you. That really looks nothing like Corben’s style. The character types, the body language of the figures, the airbrush work, the lighting and rendering of the forms, the composition — if Corben really did paint that poster, it was a one-off, dead-end experiment. But I don’t think he did.

    Actually, the artwork for that poster looks to me like a slicked-up cousin to the art of Guy Colwell of Inner City Romance fame. Did Colwell ever use an airbrush? Hm… I don’t think so…

    Anyway, it doesn’t matter, because it’s definitely not Colwell. For one thing, Colwell’s paintings are a lot less kinetic than this… but there’s something familiar about that style…


  7. This is the only poster I found for the “Return” movie from this series. Apparently for the American releases, they hired comic book artists. The first one “The Back Street Fighter” is signed by Nick Cardy and “Sister Street Fighter” is signed by Dick Giordano and Neal Adams…


  8. I think that Corben or an imitator did the movie poster for the 1981 or 1982 3D reissue of “Andy Warhol’s Frankenstein.”


  9. Is this the poster you’re thinking of, Daryl?

    If that’s the one, Daryl, I’m sorry to say that I don’t believe for a second that the art is by Corben.

    But thanks very much for taking the time to post your suggestion. I really do appreciate the input.


  10. Yes, that’s the poster that I had in mind. It’s been 30 years or so since I’d seen it in a blurry newspaper ad. Thanks to the wonder of the internet, I can see that it ISN’T by Corben. The hand in the lower left corner suggests that it might be the same artist who did the “Return of the Street Fighter” poster. There’s something familiar about the style, but I can’t (pardon the pun) put my finger on it.


  11. I wonder if the theater audience in the Frankenstein poster were drawn by Herb Arnold. They remind me of the style he used in his “Pickman’s Model” adaptation in “Skull,” and I’ve read that he started out under Corben’s tutelage.


  12. If you use the same username and email address every time you post, Daryl, your messages will appear without my having to approve them. Once I’ve approved one message with a particular username and email address combination, you’re good to go. “DC” — that’s funny.

    My understanding is that Herb Arnold stared out as Corben’s studio assistant. And as far as I can see, he never quite managed to escape from Corben’s shadow. He never had his Al Columbia moment.

    Here’s a link to Pickman’s Model. Not sure I think Herb Arnold is the artist on that poster — though the thought had occurred to me before you posted. I wonder how exactly he would have gotten the assignment?

    — RC


  13. Maybe the producer approached Corben about doing the poster and Corben said no, but suggested Arnold for the job…

    But is it really Arnold’s work? I suppose someone could ask Corben if Arnold was the artist on that poster. Corben’s email address is publicly available on his site. I’ve had a couple of email exchanges with him in the past, so I know he answers his mail…


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