Follow TV Tropes


Comic Book / Den

Go To

Den is a long running fantasy comic series by Richard Corben, that is essentially John Carter of Mars written with a 1970s sensibility.

The series began with an original amateur animated short called Neverwhere where a white collar worker named Dan is whisked to a fantasy world of that name and became a naked muscleman having an adventure with a buxom naked sorceress.

The series continued as a comic strip in originally in Grim Wit #2 and was expanded upon in the French comic anthology, Metal Hurlant which was eventually translated in the American version, Heavy Metal. Here, Dan's nephew, David Ellis Norman, found plans for a device that transported himself to Neverwhere and changed into a studly naked muscleman himself on his own adventures.

The series has continued in various incarnations, some of which toned down the eroticism of the series only to have it flare up again until it ended with the "Denz" series in the pornographic Penthouse Comix which featured yet another relative coming to that world.

Along the way, the first story arc of Den appeared in a condensed Pragmatic Adaptation in the animated film Heavy Metal with John Candy voicing the title character.

Not to be confused with Neverwhere the novel by Neil Gaiman.

Den has the following tropes exhibited:

  • Adaptational Villainy: Queen Kil was never an evil character in the original short.
  • All Amazons Want Hercules: Queen Kil wants to dominate Neverwhere, but is also eager to have Den in her bed when the opportunity arises, whether he wants or not.
  • Alternate Tooniverse: In the original short, Earth was live-action while Neverwhere was animated.
  • Ambiguously Brown: The real human before Den was black, but Den himself is colored in a brownish-something skin tone that sometimes makes him look Caucasian. Ultimately pointless given that he is of a fictitious race.
  • Amnesiac Hero: Den's on Neverwhere for a while before he gets his Earth memories back. He chose his new name because he could only remember the initials for David Ellis Norman.
  • Bald Head of Toughness: Den is completely hairless and a powerful fantasy hero.
  • Barbarian Hero: The concept of "barbarian" is diffuse here, but Den is still a musclebound bruiser that wears less than the rest of the cast and goes around fighting supernatural beings and sleeping with women.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: In the original short, the queen asks her captor why he doesn't throw her off the cliff and be done with it. He replies that these things have to be done with style before hanging her off the cliff where Den can rescue her.
  • Chick Magnet: Den finds that every human woman that came to that world throws herself at him. However, unlike other males in this trope, he is eager to indulge them when circumstances permit.
  • Decomposite Character: In the short, Queen Kil is a Damsel in Distress and benevolent. Later stories introduced Kath, who fills the role of Short!Kil, while Kil herself became an antagonist.
  • Derailing Love Interests: Later chapters turn Kath into an Obstructive Love Interest, dissatisfied with life in Neverwhere, insisting that she and Den be fully clothed, and that they both leave and return to Earth. Den agrees to her demands, then returns to Neverwhere without Kath. A woman named Muuta offers herself to him as his On the Rebound and much more. Then Muuta gets Swallowed Whole by a Face Full of Alien Wing-Wong during a rampage of a Horde of Alien Locusts, and Den is rescued by Kil impersonating Kath. When the real Kath later returns to Neverwhere, Den becomes conflicted whether to be with her or Kil.
  • Double Standard Rape: Female on Male: Averted. When Kil gives Den forceful oral sex to prove she can make him climax even if he does not want (which she proves right, only that he shouts Kath's name), it is treated as the act of rape it is.
  • Everybody Has Lots of Sex: The big plus side of coming to Neverwhere. For instance, Kath, who apparently arrived from Victorian/Edwardian times, revels in her buxom naked body and does not hesitate to offer it to Den after he saved her and he does not hesitate to accept.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: Den, as he is nude most of the time, but also the Queen, whose cape hides nothing.
  • God Save Us from the Queen!: Queen Kil, although originally a Damsel in Distress in the original film, becomes this in the early comics as a ruthless tyrant perfectly willing to engage in human sacrifice and organized mass rape to achieve her goals.
  • I Choose to Stay: To quote our hero, "On Earth, I'm nobody, but here, I'm Den."
  • Leg Cling: Women sometimes do this to Den. Take a look at the page image for an example.
  • Low Culture, High Tech: Neverwhere is a primitive Sword and Sorcery planet where Queen Kil has occasionally supplied weapons through magic, ranging from primitive knives to fully loaded automatic firearms.
  • Male Frontal Nudity: Den unconsciously found that he is perfectly comfortable being buck naked in Neverwhere.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Den and other male human becomes this upon arrival in Neverwhere, naked, muscled and hung, albeit bald.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Any female human becomes this upon arrival, young naked and buxom with beautiful hair.
  • Naked on Arrival: That's what happens when you're taken to Neverwhere, and you often find that you like staying that way.
  • National Geographic Nudity: Neverwhere has no nudity taboos. For instance in the first book, Den and Kath, who are buck naked, meet Kang, a warrior who is largely fully clothed with armor and a hooded cape and he never gives any comments about them.
    • In the second book, Kath insisting that she and Den go around everywhere fully clothed is treated as unusual.
  • New Life in Another World Bonus: Anyone who arrives in Neverwhere has a body changed into the physical ideal such as being musclebound and often innate fighting skills.
  • No Body Left Behind: In the original short, Den asks why the monsters disappear after he kills them. The queen tells him the material their bodies are made of can't exist without a life force to hold it together.
  • No Ontological Inertia: In the original short, the weapons that the queen conjured for Den disappear when a bird carries her off.
  • Recycled In Space: At least originally, this series is what John Carter of Mars would have been like in the 1970s, with its relaxed attitude to depicting sexuality.
  • Shameless Fanservice Girl: Any woman coming from Earth to Neverwhere typically becomes this, buck naked and buxom and perfectly content to be that. For instance, Kath was from the Victorian Era, in poor health and wearing the usual heavy full dress of the period. Upon arriving in Neverwhere, she is turned into a naked physical ideal who is strong and healthy. However, she was immediately captured by Queen Kil, but as soon as she is rescued by Den, also in the naked physical ideal, she can't wait to try out her body sexually and offers it to her saviour.
  • Toon Transformation: In the original short, Den was a Live-Action man on Earth but turned animated when he visited Neverwhere.
  • Trapped in Another World: And he finds he likes the place.
  • Unusable Enemy Equipment: In the Neverwhere short, Den tries to pick up an axe dropped by an enemy but it disappears along with his body.
  • Villainesses Want Heroes: Queen Kil does for Den and she gets to enjoy him in bed too.
  • Whale Egg: The Human Aliens of Neverwhere lay eggs as a nod to John Carter of Mars which heavily influenced the series.
  • World of Buxom: Nearly all the female characters, especially the women who were brought from Earth, make up this trope.