Den is a character created by Richard Corben, and is an ode to fantasy characters such as Conan the Barbarian and John Carter of Mars and explores worlds and interacts with creatures and characters that are very influenced by the works of H.P. Lovecraft. Den was published in Corben's own Fantagor press, among others such as Ariel and Grim Wit, but was popularized in his appearances in Heavy Metal Magazine in the late 1970s.
Den is a young man named David Ellis Norman. Following directions left for him on a note and a diagram from his missing uncle Dan, David builds another electronic apparatus. The apparatus opens a gateway to a fantasy world named "Neverwhere", where he was transformed into a hairless, nude, muscular, and prodigiously endowed adventurer. Confused by his strange trip, he can only remember the acronym of his real name (DEN), and begins calling himself "Den". In his Earth incarnation, David had found a letter in one of the fantasy novels by Edgar Rice Burroughs left to him by his uncle Dan. In his adventures, Den explores an array of strange lands and encounters numerous bizarre and threatening creatures.
Some images from the Neverwhere film are recreated in the first volume of Den as flashbacks. Shortly after his arrival he meets an evil nude masked woman, known as the Red Queen who seems to know Den and is about to sacrifice her doppelgänger, Kath, to Uhluhtc.
Heavy Metal (1981)
A nerdy teenager finds a "green meteorite" and puts it in his rock collection. During a lightning experiment, the orb hurls the boy into the world of Neverwhere, where he transforms into a naked, bald muscle man called "Den" an acronym for his earth name, David Ellis Norman. He witnesses a strange ritual, rescuing a nubile young woman who was about to be sacrificed to Uhluhtc (H.P. Lovecraft's monster Cthulhu spelled backwards). Reaching safety, she introduces herself as Katherine Wells from the British colony of Gibraltar. While she demonstrates her gratitude with sexual favors, they are interrupted by the minions of Ard, an immortal man who wants to obtain the Loc-Nar for himself. He orders Den to get the Loc-Nar from the Queen, who performed the ritual.
Den agrees, and infiltrates the palace, but is promptly caught by the Queen, who offers leniency if he has sex with her. He complies, distracting the Queen while the raiding party steals the Loc-Nar. Den escapes and races back to rescue Katherine from Ard. Recreating the lightning incident that drew him to Neverwhere, he is able to banish Ard and the Queen. Refusing the opportunity to take the Loc-Nar for himself, Den rides with Katherine into the sunset, content to remain in Neverwhere.
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