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Comic Book / Den

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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.

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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
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  • 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 fils the role of Short!Kil, while Kil herself became an antagonist.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: Den, although later in he adds boots. The opposite happens with the Queen, who wears boots at her introduction but goes barefoot since them.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Normally, I Would Be Dead Now
  • 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.
  • Trapped in Another World: And he finds he likes the place.
  • Villainesses Want Heroes: Queen Kil does for Den and she gets to enjoy him in bed too.
  • World of Buxom: Nearly all the female characters, especially the women who were brought from Earth, make up this trope.

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