By now it should be clear how big a fan of Corben I am. In nearly 50 odd years he’s been in comics, his work has truly awed and inspired many.
There have been times where the stories may have been poor, but his art would always elevate it to another level. I am always excited when reading and admiring a Corben book, and Starr the Slayer is no different. In fact, I enjoyed it immensely, the artwork again was exceptional, but the story by Daniel Way was hilarious to say the least.
It opens with pulp writer Len Carson, who is elevated from obscurity to fame and fortune and then back again. But pretty soon, after spending all his money on fast cars and women, he is a spent force. He decides to visit the origins of his hero Starr the Slayer for the first time, and thereafter, the narrative bounces between Carson’s writing and Starr’s early life.
Starr and his family enter the city of Zardath in order to conduct trade, but at the city gates he along with his family are ridiculed by two low life brothers due to their naked appearance. Starr takes offence and proceeds to pummel one of them to pieces, afterwhich the remaining brother Trull, is enraged. Defeated by him, he plots revenge against Starr and sets in motion a turn of events which would lead to our hero’s downfall.
Soon our writer Len Carson suffers a writers block, but things get even more worse for him when one of his own creation decides to kidnap him, in order to manipulate the story!
And to make everything even more bat shit crazy, the the story is narrated by an ancient street poet (or rapper!) Called Morro in Starr’s world!
The story is filled to the brim with colourful (and lewd) characters, Trull the evil sorceror and of course Starr being the main, but also characters like Tira; a fellow gladiator, who plays Starr’s love interest. In one scene Starr is excited at the prospect of making love to her, only to be shown the door in the worst possible way.
The villain, Trull, gets more desperate in his attempts to elliminate Starr, and his meltdown is truly hilarious. Some of the best hero strips have the best villains, and Trull is definitely one of the most insane. Corben’s work is truly magnificent in the way he renders Trull’s emotions, especially when he’s throwing his toys out of the pram!
Starr the Slayer is an enjoyable romp in the mould of The Bodyssey and Jeremy Brood, and has some of Corben’s best work, and Jose Villarrubia’s vibrant colours complements it beautifully. The writing by Daniel Way suits Corben’s artwork too. Over the years, some of Corben’s best works have been those that have been scripted by strong writers, such as Mike Mignola (Hellboy), Jan Strnad (The Last Vogage of Sindbad, Ragemoor), and Way probably joins that list. I would love to see them both working together in the near possible future.