Wednesday, July 19, 2017


So with George Romero recently passing, and the online memorializing, it's an opportunity to remember the HM article about the Dawn of the Dead movie in the October 1978 issue.  Now, I'm not a big zombie fan, I don't get the appeal (I think it's an expression of the innate human fear of the "other" in pop culture form, but it doesn't really work for me), but I will say that Romero's Night of the Living Dead is a pretty good thriller/horror movie, so I can see how that started it.  The article is an excerpt of a story of the Dawn movie, by George Romero and Susanna Sparrow, with a couple movie stills.  It was a nice entry for the mag to broaden it from just drawings, but I haven't seen the movie.  It's also an opportunity to plug one of my favorite HM stories that happens to be in the same issue, Shattered Like a Glass Goblin, by Harlan Ellison (also pretty famous) and William Stout, which I found fascinating.  I do have an early review of this issue on this here blog.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Heavy Metal #286

I will call this The Grant Morrison Issue.  Not only is "Grant Morrison's Epic Article on Chaos Magic Inside!" it's Mr Morrison Hisself on the cover A, in a painting with some magical metaphors by David Stoupakis.  I liked the pen and typewriter myself.  I don't think Mr Eastman ever put himself on the cover, but I don't mind Mr Morrison doing so.  The mag has done pretty well with him running it, in my opinion, so I can handle a bit of self-fluffery.  The image is pretty cool, the tagline is still "The World's Greatest Illustrated Magazine", there's a barcode sticker over the one printed on the cover, and this also has "MΛGICK SPECIΛL" on the front.  I'll give it a 6.

Another actual movie ad inside the front cover, and a Page 2 Illustration "The Magician" by Rian Hughes with a cool image of an astronaut/sorcerer/DJ, a sage for a modern age.  Sarah Deal returns credited as Contributing Editor, and Jett Lucas is now listed as Creative Executive with the other execs.  Hmmm.  Some arcane symbology at the bottom of the contents page, then a two-page ad for HM coffee.  The bag with the 1981 HM movie poster image of Taarna by Christos Achilleos is interesting me enough in maybe actually getting some.

Atomahawk Chapter Three: Berserker by Donny Cates, Ian Bederman, Taylor Esposito, with a special thanks for Nick Derington - 8 - All the blood and flaming dismemberment is with an amusing variety of cartoon warriors, so it's more cool than horrifying.  At least that's what I tell myself.  I liked the frozen-in-action cartoony violence style, and the clever first person dialog, and some depth of expression in the storytelling.  The End, or is it?

The Sword of God by Edgar Clément, JAME, Alberto Calvo - 7 - I really liked the art style, expressive and dynamic, and the sidebar lizards/little dragons reminded me of an earlier HM story (it had a one-eyed soothsayer/narrator but I'm not recalling the name right now).  The storytelling was pretty good too, and the ending was funny if not insightful.

Herald by Diego Grebol and Sebastían Píriz - 6 - A robot museum tour guide blows some little kids' minds with some thoughts of magic and reality.  Looks cool and fun to read, but it didn't really sell me on its premise.

An ad for a Heavy Metal 40th Anniversary art show.  This might actually be cool, but I doubt I will be in the neighborhood during its run, so I'll miss it.  It wouldn't be an HM thing without a couple misspellings or quirks, my favorite is the reference to Cel Art from The Film.  I'm pretty sure it's about the 1981 movie, rather than Heavy Metal 2000, which makes me wonder if they're trying to forget HM2000 ever happened, or how they still have cel art from the first movie but none from the second.  Or maybe they just forgot the "s" after Film. 

The Smile of the Absent Cat by Grant Morrison & Gerhard - 6 - Continued kitty crime capers.  Some compelling storytelling, and a nice "Bedlam" scene reference.  More to come.

The Color of Air by Enki Bilal - 7 - The art is getting even more murky than the story.  Some of our intrepid adventurers continue on, through difficult and ridiculous peril, presumably towards some sort of story development and resolution.

Beyond the Word and the Fool by Grant Morrison - 7.5 - with illustrations by David Stoupakis (including an image I recognized from a previous Gallery entry).  Subtitled Heavy Metal's Mag!c Primer, this is Mr Morrison's "Epic Article on Chaos Magic" as declared on the cover.  Skipping this issue's editorial, Mr Morrison spends ten pages outlining his views on Mag!c and including some of his own experiences.  I enjoyed reading this, more than I was afraid I was going to.  I was going to get tired of different spellings of magic pretty soon, but Mr Morrison harnesses his logorrhea to the greater good of producing an actual Primer on Mag!c, with some basic activities after some orientation and instruction.  I liked how along the winding path of his discussion, some of his views of reality, consciousness, and meaning, would intersect with mine.  His effort is light on pretention and even expresses compassion for the reader and others.  I'm not too interested in actually trying new things, but it was interesting to learn some ideas from a different perspective.  Also I think this is the longest prose entry in the mag for quite some time, so I liked that too.

A Magician and The Wooden Boy by Z. Pahek - 7 - So a circus magician brings a wooden puppet of a boy to life, so he can kill him for his act, but surprise!  This time the boy kills him.  It's pretty creepy when you think about it, but it's a pretty well executed piece that brought me in.  And I thought "Blade Hell" as an exclamation was humorous, "bloody hell" perhaps?

Frank Frazetta Reign of Wizardry by Frank Frazetta Jr.  A two page article about some history of one of this issue's covers, written by the son of the renowned fantasy artist.  I decided to not apply a rating for this, but it is pretty cool that HM scored this image and the article.

The 1000 Deaths of Harry Houdini by Neil Kleid, Michael Avon Oeming & Taki Soma - 6 - I won't reveal the Secret of Houdini's success, but I thought this had an interesting premise that could have gone farther, and the art is probably pretty good but I wasn't too excited about it.  (But Kleid was the name of the demon in the sheets in John Findley's Tex Arcana in HM back in the 80s...)

"Lil Charlie" Part III by John Bivens and Omar Estévez - 5 - The story continues, of the destruction of Creation by God's creations, but it's a flashback?  There's some interesting bits in this one, the two-page spread on the universe coming into existence, and I kinda like the infinite-headed depiction of God, but I'm not following this one well.  No sign of the Lilith character introduced in the past installment, I'm hoping she can spice things up.  And Mercy Sakes, there seems to be a pageorder mixup, I haven't noticed one of these in the mag for a while.

Art Gallery - Ars Goetia: Demonic Tarot by Jim Pavelec - 6 - Depictions of named demons presented in Tarot card form.  Some nicely conceived and executed images, I liked the two-page spread at the end the best, but it felt pretty contrived to me at times.  But it's got the word magic in it.

Air by Diego Agrimbau and Martín Túnica - 7 - Searching for the old magic in a wind-swept post-apocalyptic wasteland.  Tells a nice story in just a few pages.

Zentropa by John Mahoney - 8 - This last installment includes an "Origins of Zentropa" essay by Mr Mahoney, which includes some description of an illness and producing Zentropa during his recovery.  While my thoughts of a story emerging were fruitless, the essay set me free of my expectations and helped explain some of the imagery seen in the story.  He gives credit to HM for inspiration and support, but I didn't see the word "magic" anywhere.... But again the scrutinizing and imagining the process were fun for me, and the spliff'n sistahs returned.  The ending is almost minimalist.  A delightful journey to nowhere in particular.

Gallery with Clive Barker and Interview by Rantz Hoseley - 6 - I'm not familiar with Clive Barker, though I've heard the name, and I didn't look it up.  Some interesting images and viewpoints are presented.  I imagine the interview was conducted over email since the dialog seems to be written rather than transcribed, so I found amusement in the interviewer asking about "Magick" but the answers respond with "magic".

Lighting the Way by Mark Alan Miller, Christian Francis, Ben Meares, Gonzalo Ruggieri, Omar Estévez, JAME - 7 - Based on a painting by Clive Barker, indeed the painting is included in the previous Gallery entry.  They sure got a lot out of that painting, there's a lot of action and scary implication in the story that I didn't see in the painting, but the art and writing tell a brisk and gruesome tale here.

The inside back cover has an ad for the Frank Frazetta Art Museum in Pennsylvania.  The back cover is an ad for a show on the Starz network.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Heavy Metal #285

The Love Special.  I got the newsstand cover A, "Demonheart" by Florian Bertner.  A pink heart valentine.  I enjoyed discerning that the background and the heart shape's border foliage are essentially mirrored images, while the demon is not.  And the bucket of tentacles.  It gets a 7 from me.

Another actual ad for an actual movie inside the front cover, for a movie I actually saw before the issue came out.

The contents page is illustrated by the controversial cover C, "Lapins d'Amour" by James Jean, so it was nice of them to make this available to all who get the mag, even those who got their issue with the cover C.... 

Also a couple new names on the contents page, Sarah Deal as Contributing Editor, and Jett Lucas as Coordinator (this is where I mention that Jett Lucas is in a recent deal with HM to publish a weed "edutainment" magazine.  weed has its place in HM's advertising history, so does booze, and porn.  and comics and t-shirts and posters and movies and albums and turntables and....  I'm not sure what to think about this new effort, so I'll wait to see where it goes).

Mr. Morrison's editoral is but a single page, but with such a breadth of verbal hyperventilation as to equal any of his other efforts in wackiness.  Using food-based descriptions of the mag's entries, allows access to hosts of nouns, as well as adjectives.  I admit I didn't get the abbreviated admonitions at the end, but the semi-literal bleeding heart valentine graphic was kinda neat.

Ai Shiteru! by JD Morvan and Liberatore - 5 - After some anticipation of Liberatore's return to HM's pages, I was a bit disappointed.  Perhaps my own fault for whatever expectations I set.  The Liberatore art and the Morvan story start out interesting enough, a gaijin works up the courage to approach the object of his adoration, a girl working for a "maid cafe", but the ending, of the art and story, seemed sudden and incomplete, superficial, to me.  Maybe I'm just not in the mood for deranged obsession today.

The Color of Air by Enki Bilal - 7 - Still brooding and mysterious, I'm enjoying seeing the various storylines unfold, and wondering how they will tie together.  That and the many lovely bits of art.  Pretty dark in there though.  The terror zeppelin full of explosives and nuclear waste is extra silly. 

Lure by Matias Lázaro and Chas! Pangburn - 6 - (Chas! gets first billing on the contents page).  Unexpected fauna at a deep sea lab site.  This one was a bit uneven for me.  There's some good storytelling going on, and some nice drawing work, but there were some spots that I was less impressed by.  Like why was she still there, alone for weeks in a submerged lab?

Zentropa by John Mahoney - 7 - Though I noticed a few annoying things, like a couple instances of excess pixellation and inconsistent coloring, there's still lots of scrutinizing fun to be had.  Just imagining generating 3D characters and moving them about to create images, noticing creative copying and mirroring, things that aren't noticed until the second or third look, that kind of thing.  What I thought might be an emerging storyline doesn't seem to be, maybe the skeletal character, with some organs and veins but no flesh but his dick, is taking us somewhere.

Artist's Studio by Rubens LP - 5 - With an interview by Rantz Hoseley, and Sarah Deal as contributing editor.  While it's an interesting and appealing style, the poses seem obviously lifted from porn, and diminish rather than enhance the attractiveness of the art for me.

Frankenstein Unrequited by Dean Haspiel - 7 - It's like a monster movie battle royale, with Frankenstein's Bride storming the castle to avenge her love.  I don't know who the bald guy at the end is though.  Sometimes the art seems hasty, and silly (bazooka), but it puts up a furious pace and tells quite the wordless story. 

They Lived Happily Ever After by Fernando Baldo - 6 - This time it's the girl who slays the dragon to enter the castle tower to wake the sleeping prince from his spell, but it's a joke.  A pretty good joke, I'll admit.

Gutt Ghost:  The Letters of the Beast by Enzo Garza - 6.5 - I kinda like this guy from the last entry in # 283, and I'm glad I was wrong about never seeing it again, and this story of meeting a blind date and then his ex is kinda insightful.  But now I wonder about what else is in the story I don't know.  Maybe more is to come.

"Lil Charlie" Part 2 by John Bivens and Omar Estévez - 6 - While the three of god's charges proceed destroying creation, a new being Lilith is created, making this a potentially more interesting story.  I got a bit lost near the end, but it says continued so I hope I get to figure it out.

Tattoo Gallery by Brando Chiesa - 5 - I'm not very excited by a tattoo gallery in HM, but I will say the art depicted is very cool.  Though the images of mostly shaved arms are pasted onto some background, making me wonder about other effects that have been  applied, and after a while they start looking pretty the same, there's some nice skill and technique on display.

Salsa Invertebraxta by Mozchops (noted as Part 5 on the contents page, but I believe it's the 6th and last entry) - 8.5 - Yayyy!  That was fun.  My appreciation of the art and story, and even the poetry, grew as this went on.  I enjoyed the lush style and bright colors and brilliant imagination, and the dark parts too.  I enjoyed noticing there were protagonists, and I enjoyed their hijinks.  I enjoyed figuring out that the creatures depicted were much more imagined than real (angular egg-carrying robot drone!).  I even enjoyed the hokey "circle of life" thing.  Fun to see.  Thanks.

Artist Spotlight by James Jean, interview by Rantz Hoseley - 7 - Mr Jean gets some fine praise in the introduction, some nice work is displayed.  An interesting paragraph is a short description of how he came to do the "Lapins d'Amour" Cover C art.

Mythopia by Grant Morrison, Andy Belanger, Omar Estévez, Serge LaPointe - 6 - A rather farcical telling of many SF/Fantasy tropes.  It's pretty nice to look at, and even I got some of the jokes, but its tongue is so firmly in its cheek, it's hard to understand what it's saying.

The back cover is another actual ad for an actual movie, that I wanted to see but was actually out of the theaters before I was able to.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Forty Years

Forty years, who could have imagined?  A magazine from another time, living in the future.  A bundle of paper that continues to exist, that now stirs not only imagination, but memories.  Thanks.

Only took a couples weeks to get this after it came out.  A review will be several more weeks....

Monday, March 20, 2017

Xalabarder's ONIRIA: GENESIS

Well, the response to Xalabarder's fundraiser for his ONIRIA: GENESIS project has been puny.  It's not like I have any real influence, but I had really hoped he would get a better response, so he'd be able to proceed with collecting all the work he intended to.  At this rate, it'll be a surprise if he even fulfills the few backers he's got.

So come on slackers, there's only a few days left, sign up to back this cool project, you know you want to.


Monday, February 20, 2017

Heavy Metal #284

It took a while to find a store that had this issue, and when I did, it was the cover B, noted as for comic shops and the web store, and it had a sticker with a UPC on the front, and a sticker covering the UPC on the back.  I got it at a mainstream B&N rather than a comic shop.  When I had a chance later, when I was away from home, I checked an independent bookstore and found the same thing.  It made me wonder, if the cover A (for "newsstand") had more demand than copies and they moved the cover B issues to cover, or if there was some other mixup.  The cover A appears to be still available on the HM web store.  I may have preferred the cover A for the Royo.  For reasons unknown, this is the Mythic Special.  And the cover price is up a buck, to $8.95.

Cover by Ken Kelly - 7 - "The Savage Sword of Jesus Christ" may have been a slightly clever take on the Xmas spirit, but it's a little late for that.  It's a pretty nicely done, if farcical, Conan/Jesus mashup.  Mr Kelly is apparently accomplished in his field.  As I was afflicted with Catholicism at an early age, I was able to note the absence of the stigmata, the nail holes in Jesus' hands, and of the wound in his side, but since it's blond roid-rage zombie-killer Jesus, I won't take any points off.  Conveniently, the cover B goes with the first story in this issue.

The page preceding the contents page has a a title Mythic Special and a credited work, the Call of Cthulhu by Francois Baranger.  Looks pretty cool but a bit on the murky side.

Mr Morrison's editorial is a slightly topical and expectedly unhinged, end-of-year rant, supplanted with the requisite magazine plugs.  I enjoyed the reference to Situationist pranksters, not only timely but something I've read a bit about recently.

The Savage Sword of Jesus Christ by Grant Morrison and the Molen brothers - 6 - I like the Molen brothers' art and Mr Morrison has crafted a wacky Hitler-writes-a-Jesus-screenplay story, that I'm not too sure about.  It's to be continued, so maybe it will gain some traction.

Atomahawk by Donny Cates, Ian Bederman, Taylor Esposito - 7.5 - Wow man, I wanna party like a cyberzerker.  Not so sure about the lust dungeon though, ick.  I'm having fun enjoying this one, I like the style and imagination of the art, and the writing is amusing or outright funny.   The story shows a history of the Atomahawk destroying enemies and smashing barriers.  It ends abruptly, without a "continued", but I hope it does. 

Taarna by Alex De Campi, Tony Parker, Leonard O'Grady - 5 - This starts with an excellent full page image of the title character made of fragments of various depictions with different outfits in basically the same pose.  I found it intriguing and engrossing.  The story that follows had an ok look but I had a hard time following it.  Varying framing implied multiple storylines, but they didn't come together for me.  Hopefully this continues and gets to define things better for me.  I need to admit some misgivings.  When the 1st HM movie came out in 1981, I didn't think the thrill I could get from having my imagination inspired when reading the mag, could be duplicated on the screen, and my preconceived notion was reinforced when I saw the movie.  It was interesting and sometimes fun, but the visual impressions were rarely stunning.  When I heard that a Taarna story was coming, I had a similar feeling, that the character had such a reputation, it would be hard to live up to.  So far, I still feel that way.  I hope this story persists and grows and proves me wrong.

Cerberus Ate My Homework by Dwayne Harris - 6 - called Hercules on the Contents page.  A mildly amusing one-page gag, nice looking with fun stereotyped characterizations of an enormously beefy student and the remarkably skinny graybeard teacher.

Art Gallery with Andrew Brandou - 6 - subtitled N the Garden of the Surrealist (or In, I suppose), with an interview by Rantz A. Hoseley.  I found a few bits of the "fine art" interesting.

The Simulationists by Duncan Trussel, Donny Cates, Andy Belanger, Lee Loughridge, Taylor Esposito - 6.5 - It says Adam Belanger on the contents page.  An interesting update to the door-to-door proselytizer story, they're using VR goggles to tell their story of repent or perish.  Some enticing big images are shown in their presentation, and some weird mixing of religious themes.  There's a joke or two in there too.  It even says to be continued, maybe it'll stay good or even get better.

The Color of Air by Enki Bilal, translation by Jessica Berger - 7.5 - It appears we get a third Bilal story to complete the set, with the previous Animal'z and Julia & Roem.  While there may be less of the sheer thrill of seeing Bilal in HM again, than the first time, this looks to have another part of the same broken world, and more mysteriously obtuse storytelling and marvelous art.  Since I wasn't paying close enough attention to know this was coming, it's a pleasant surprise to see more from a titan of HM's early history, and I'm looking forward to seeing how this fits together with the other stories.

Zentropa by John Mahoney - 7.5 - I'm having some pretty serious wow going on here.  It's fun for me to examine the plentiful detail, and I'm starting to notice perhaps some characters and story trying to emerge.  Or maybe not, and that confusion is fun for me too.  Even finding that amusing is amusing to me.  I guess that's part of the fun I get from doing this.  This doesn't say to be continued either, but I hope it does.

Lil Charlie by John Bivens and Omar Estevez - 6 - Three of God's creations, Lil' Charlie, Death, and Duncan, are charged with cleaning up the Universe.  Most of this is fun to read and entertaining to look at, but so far it's not quite grabbing me.  There may be more, it doesn't say to be continued, but with only parts of two of the three's stories told and an uncertain ending, it seems it may.

The Last Mortician by Tim Hall and Dean Haspiel - 5 - I wish I liked this one more.  Not only do I like the changing color schemes for different timelines, like The Last Romantic Antihero by Dean Haspiel in HM #281, but it has an interesting premise, that aging and death have been eradicated.  It goes to thoughts on love and death, but I couldn't follow it well.  The stories and timelines were confusing to me, and not in the amusing way where I like to infer possibilities, but in the frustrating, what the heck? way.  Add a liberal dose of suicide, and I didn't have much to enjoy.  I know I'm missing out.  I would have been helped if this one was a bit longer and gave itself more time to address the depths of emotion I thought it was trying to explore.

Concept Designer Gallery - Angelarium by Peter Mohrbacher - 7 - or Artist Designer Gallery on the contents page.  The project is about illustrating the "thousands of named angels throughout multiple mythologies" according to Mr Mohrbacher.  While I'm not big on poster type art of costumed posers, even I can see that these are imaginative and well-crafted.  The concept itself sounds pretty cool, I like some mythology, but I'm not motivated to explore further.  The back cover appears to be part of this project as well.  I will say it seems that fantasy art has a lot to offer to, and to be thankful for, the games industry.  It's provided an avenue for this type of skill, where digitization may have otherwise diminished it, it seems to me.

Salsa Invertebraxa by Mozchops - 7 - Our pesky little protagonists' hijinks continue, in often colorful and terrifically rendered ways.  I'm enjoying this one a bit more, maybe the text is even a bit less annoying.  I think there's one more left.

Snow Blind by Kong and John Bivens - 5 - Bullies in winter avenged by snowmen?  Besides the story being a bit unclear, it's drawn and composed nicely.

The Rabbi by Jok and Carlos Aon and Alberto Calvo - 6 - Subtitled "Tatele" translated as grandfather.  It appears a rabbi saves a condemned man, by constructing a golem of clay.  It's drawn and told well.

The inside back cover hints #285 will be the Love issue.  Besides an ad for a Dean Koontz book on the inside front cover (a book!) the ads are all for HM books.  So far I'll give the Morrison era a thumbs-up.  I'm not often thrilled but there appears to be some consistency in the quality and direction of the mag.  And I can still buy a paper copy to read in my grubby little hands, and for me that's the whole point.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Ferran Xalabarder

I received an email from Ferran Xalabarder!  An actual HM contributor of stories such as "Saving Poor Elsy Shelby" and "Heaven's Inferno"!  The HM cover gallery says he has been in HM eighteen times, I've reviewed a handful.

It's a rare thrill for an actual HM contributor to contact me on my blog, for any reason.  In this case, he wasn't writing to admire my incisive review work or eye-opening viewpoints (no one does, or would), but to share his funding effort for his Oniria: Genesis project, collecting many of his stories into a four volume mini-saga for publication:

More than once I have expressed a desire to see the rest of the story, when making a review of a Xalabarder story.  It seems this may be my opportunity.  I'm considering signing up.  I'd like this to happen, and having a collected printed Xalabarder would be pretty cool.  I suggest that anyone who reads this should consider it also.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Heavy Metal # 283

Fear Special - for Halloween, get it?  Yeah, over a month ago, even I hardly care.

From the bookstore again, I got the Cover "A", Mercy by David Stoupakis, a woman in robes holds a dying demon, resembling a familiar sculpture (Pieta perhaps?).  Kinda murky, I'll give it a 5.  The other covers are shown in an ad on the last page, these are pretty dark too.

Mr. Morrison's editorial has sketches by Rantz Hoseley, and he has a go at a Lovecrafty-ish style, squeezing out inner dread like the last of the toothpaste.  Impressed that he can produce these prodigious screeds, but really, how long does he think he can keep this up?

Das Fischerhaus by Deric Hughes, Benjamin Raab, Mike "feeb" May, Rantz Hoseley - 6 - (miscredited as Der Fischerhaus on the contents page)  Mr Hoseley is credited as Editor here, perhaps some pages were excised for brevity.  Wordless, a couple nice artistic touches, and the visual metaphor of an anglerfish was cool, besides that perhaps not too original and rather tame.

Gallery with David Stoupakis - 6 - Some nice ability and technique are displayed, most are pretty dark much like the Cover "A".

Nightfeed by Juan Roldan and Patricio Delpeche - 4 - A young parent wakes to a crying baby.  It's a little clever but only slightly funny.

The Smile of the Absent Cat by Grant Morrison and Gerhard - 6 - A noir-ish detective story, told in a world of cats.  The detective takes the assignment to find a big-shot's wayward daughter, and in to the gritty underworld he goes.  Somewhat interesting so far, it's to be continued, this Chapter One is subtitled "the origin of nothing".

Gallery with Morpheus Fine Art - 6 - A Giger and a few other nice images.

Constriction by Daniel Govar and Mike Walton - 6 - A woman's sudden and unexplained illness destroys the world, or something like that.  The premise and resolution of the story are quick and it sort of grabs you, but I found myself wanting more out of such a dramatic scene.

Semiautomagic - the hollow man by Alex de Campi and Jerry Ordway and Louise - 6 - A celebrity of some sort is called out for his possession by tiny demons.  There's a clever bit here and there, but for me, the quite serviceable art and storytelling didn't do much to impress.  The tiny censorship of a line was the most intriguing part.  It appears this is a series of some sort, though I doubt much more will appear in the mag.  I could be wrong though...

Gallery - Tim Lehi - 6 - Interview by Frank Forte.  Tattoo and other art.  Not my thing but good for him.

Holiday Offering by Diego Agrimbau and Gabriel Ippoliti - 6 - A mob hit is interrupted by the radio broadcast of War of the Worlds.  There's nothing wrong with this one, it's done nicely enough, but I just didn't get excited about it.

Zentropa by John Mahoney - 8 - I'm enjoying this a good deal.  I enjoy the detail I get to scrutinize, and that it's sometimes rewarded.  Seeing it's computer imagery, I enjoy imagining the playing around generating and arranging and accessorizing the models to make the images, and wondering about levels of intent in the content and composition.  It's funny how this kind of obtuse storytelling can inspire imagination for me.  And there's more splooges and spliffs and bits and splashes.

Gallery by Justin Cherry - 7 - It's the fourth Gallery in this issue, with an interview by Rantz Hoseley.  Some intriguing and compelling images.  The artist tells us some things about himself, including tumblr and artstation addresses with a unique moniker, which is not matched by an email address noted elsewhere in the Gallery (a couple extra i's), which made me wonder if it's a typo or on purpose.  I looked a little further and saw some more of his cool stuff, and it appears to be on purpose.  What a guy.

Salsa Invertebraxa by Mozchops - 7 - Part Four it says, it's pretty cool.  It starts with a repeat of the last couple pages from the last installment, that kind of overlap is kind of unique.  The action takes us to the lows and the highs of the forest environment, it's pretty dark below but considerably brighter above.  In the depths our plucky heroes try to pluck some prey, by pouring little sharp looking bits on their victim, causing a distraction, if not its demise.  I wonder if that's supposed to be diatomaceous earth, or is there something else that's toxic to insects in that way too.  I wonder if this is really to be continued, I kinda hope so.

Felt by Tom Burns, Maxx Marshall, Chris Chuckry - 5 - A girl has a special day at school.  It looks rather interesting, in terms of the color and composition and rendering of the art, but I couldn't make much sense out of it.  All the action and exposition went nowhere for me.  I suspect it's part of a continuing story we will probably never see again.

Gutt Ghost by Enzo Garza - 6 - A grouchy ghost consumes a random shithead.  I happened to like the art style, and the joke was kind of clever.  I bet this one is part of a regular comic that we will also likely not see in HM again.  A few of those this issue.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Eyebrow Tuna

So I looked and saw that the Eyebrow Tuna videos are still up on youtube:

HM youtube

These are from about 8 years ago, I don't think they ever got a mention in the mag (I could be wrong, it's possible I forget it in one of Mr Eastman's sporadic editorials, maybe I'll look someday) but they were linked on the old HM website, which is still referenced on the youtube (but which now directs to the current HM website).

There was some story about Mr Eastman and Simon Bisely making a drunken trip to Japan, where they saw these animated kid shows and thought it would be funny to do profane voiceovers.  A Paul Jenkins was responsible for actually making them.  They're perhaps not too HM, besides being what Mr Eastman thought was funny.  They can be funny sometimes, in a crude and stupid way.  More funny to me is that they are still out there.  I wonder if Mr Morrison knows about this.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Heavy Metal #282

Cover "Taarna Returns" by Patrick Reilly - 7 - It's the "Cover A" from the bookstore, and it's the winner of HM's cover art contest.  It's got several features of typical HM cover art, a babe, a monster, a sword, and it is more than just a pin-up.  It also references the 1981 Heavy Metal movie's most famous segment.  (I'll take this opportunity to note how Mr Morrison and also Jeremy Holt, the writer for the HM comic Skip to the End, have said in interviews that they had not seen the HM movie.  This interests me since the HM movie presents a conflict in my mind about HM's cultural impact, in that the HM movie is often what HM means to a lot of people, while I thought when it came out that it missed much of the mag's ability to inspire imagination.  And it was in the first (and best) five years of the mag's almost 40 year history.  It's likely too much to expect for these two to have read every issue, and seen the movies and years of other crap, like a dork like me has, but for two current significant contributors to have not seen the movie is amusing to me.)  I imagine the "classic" aspect of this entry won it the grand prize.  Even though it's not too much a "sci-fi" cover for this Sci-Fi Special.  There's also a feature inside about the cover contest, which has the other published covers and more of the entries.

I didn't see any new relatives' names listed on the contents page, but I did notice that the contents page art is credited (by Jakub Rozalski who also is featured in the Gallery) and mostly has been recently.  I don't think that's always been the case, sometimes a signature could be seen but sometimes it was a guessing game.

The Editorial is a slightly amusing joke, written by a computer rather than Mr Morrison (can't fool me, I saw Mr Morrison credited on the contents page).  A riff on 2001's Hal, it still manages to name staff and contributors and puff up the mag.  What will he think of next?

Atomahawk by Donny Cates, Ian Bederman, Taylor Esposito - 7.5 - A "cyberzerker" scourges the earth, obeying his blade's thirst for death.  While the art may be the least part of this feature, it sometimes looks like it's drawn with colored markers, it still has great composition and is very successful conveying brutal action and progressing the story.  Similarly the writing sets a dramatic tone and mostly avoids being overwrought, and has a few clever bits.  It says to be continued so I can look forward to more fun.

Gavrilo C-914 by Zeljko Pahek - 8 - (miscredited as "C-194" on the contents page) Extra points for the classic black and white style, and that Mr Pahek has been a HM contributor since 1989.  Misadventures on a robot movie set.  The black and white art is not what you'd call a clear line style, there are snips and bits all over the place, but I like it.  It can feel quite gritty, and can fit quite well with a decrepit steam future with coal-fired robots, and it's been used well over the years in HM, not just by Mr Pahek.

Industria by Grant Morrison and Ran Hughes - 5 - subtitled "and the toilet that traveled through time".  While I'm not too excited by another overly busy gang of stereotyped super spies presented in comic form, I did find a few of the jokes funny, and the art is colorful and nicely executed.  It is kinda sci-fi too.  I'm concerned we might be afflicted with more of this story, but it might just be another preview of a HM-published standalone comic, so I may be spared.

Zentropa by John Mahoney - 7 - my heavens, what a delightful, tripped-out mess.  Good thing I'm easily amused by scrutinizing details and obtuse storytelling, else I'd get frustrated by the incoherence of it all.  I might guess it's some sort of dream sequence, but I hope it doesn't end with a "and then I woke up".  We'll get a chance to find out, maybe, since it's "to be comntinued..."

Gallery-Design by Jakub Rozalski - 6 - with an interview answering a few anonymous questions.  The artist says it best, "The countryside, nineteenth century paintings, extraordinary giant machines, wild nature and animals".  With an affection for two-or-more legged walking machines, smoking or not, there's some quite nice looking and imaginative work.  Perhaps it doesn't demonstrate a wide range of subject matter, but it does what it does nicely.

America Owns the Moon by Craig Wilson - 6 - A moon colonization expedition doesn't go as planned, depending on whose plan you're talking about.  It seems it's supposed to be an alternate future, with a reference to President Kennedy returning from Dallas.  A fast paced sci-fi-ish story, and more stereotyped characters, though I was amused by "Mortimer Drumpf, bazillionaire son of the Drumpf dynasty..." which made me wonder how timely it was really supposed to be, and the "ex-football great turned-botantist" who made me think of Richard Branson for some reason (or maybe it's supposed to be Lebowski).  The art is demonstrative if not evocative, it's got some funny bits, like the "stoned agin" poster and lava lites.  

Julia and Roem by Bilal - 9.8 - My highest rating ever, and I'll admit to inflating it for sentimental reasons.  As with the previous Animal'z, it's been a joy to have such wonderful work from Bilal, one of the titans of HM's history.  I really did enjoy this story, I liked where it went with the Shakespeare references.  I'm sure there were many I didn't even get.  That it came up with a happy ending, because someone knew the script but didn't follow it, was actually fun.  And I liked the art and often finding things I thought were quite lovely. 

The Human Curse by Leonie O'Moore - 5 - A somewhat interesting premise, that the now-extinct humans were cursed and artifacts from their era carry the curse, even though no one knows what the artifacts were meant for.  I'm afraid the story didn't do enough to convince me of the believability of the premise, and the art had some nice aspects but was otherwise unable to advance the story.

Gallery-Art, the Threadless Heavy Metal Cover Art Contest - 7 - Featuring the winners and several other entries in the cover art contest.  A broad range of styles and subject matter is displayed in the couple dozen entries shown.  I liked most of them in one way or another.  They all have strong points, and not many have weaknesses, but I don't want to single any out one way or the other.  I did note the relative lack of cheesecake styled pinups, which I would think would be more predominant if this contest was held a few years ago.

Genres by Diego Agrimbau and Pietro - 6 - a comic about comic artists as the subject of a comic by otherworldly comic artists.  Clever if perhaps not too deep.  The art and storytelling are ok, I liked the premise and how it was presented even more.

City Beneath the Waves by Dwayne Harris - 6 - Future undersea explorers have their Charleton Heston "Damn you, damn you all to hell!" moment, or maybe it's their "I H8 NY" moment.  (miscredited as "City Under the Waves" in the contents page).

Interceptor preview - 5 - Looks ok, a promo for a HM trade paperback by Donny Cates and Dylan Burnett.  This might have been an ok teen titans vs. alien vampire story if it was in the mag, but it's just another comic I won't seek out.

Slow Dancer by Bill Sienkiewicz - 8 - subtitled "Or:  Movements Calculated to Drive You Lonely - Or Worse".  Noted "1983", which would indicate this was not digital, and it shows, it looks done by hand, (the second page has three images of "the doc" from the same perspective and pose, but they are not just copies), not like most of what you see in the mag lately, though the robot editorial said it was "newly remastered" so I can't be sure.  I thought I recognized Mr Sienkiewicz's name, but I was surprised to only find two entries when searching the HM web site cover gallery.  I had thought he was a more frequent contributor.  The internet told me he is a well-known comic guy, and that this was his first writing effort, and it appeared in Epic in 1986.  The story is likewise anachronistic, more moody and subtle than wailing its pain, one man's struggle, and loss, against the conniving power structure.  It made me think about how things were 30 years ago.

Salsa Invertebraxa by Mozchops - 7 - Part Three it says.  This one really came out of the shadows, with page after page of lavish colors and neuron-fusing depiction of insect life.  I am more impressed by the attention to detail, that makes me think these are images of actual insects, instead of from a vivid imagination.  I think I figured out that the protagonist is the guy with the long ear-like appendages.  On the last page it even looks like it gets a facial expression.  It would be interesting to know what kind of insect it is.  I still am having a hard time following this, maybe I'm trying too hard.  The hipster poetry narration isn't helping.  There's supposed to be six of these if I recall, so maybe I'll have a chance to figure it out.

The Key by Grant Morrison and Rian Hughes - 6 - It starts with jackbooted thugs throwing someone in the river, then we see crowds with locks around their necks, in city canyons with what looks like propaganda videos on the walls, so I get the impression it's showing a modern conformist oppressive society.  It seems to continue with a cry for individualism rising in the crowd, shown by the contrast of the identical lock collars and key images in the propaganda, with the ornate antique keys that actually unlock the collars.  The art looks good and nicely done, with hard edges and subdued colors setting a harsh and rigid scene, but without dialog, I was not sure how well I put the images together to make the story.  I'm pretty sure I'm missing something.  The most enjoyment I got from this, was in contrasting it with the previous "Slow Dancer", which had a similar theme in my mind, but approached its story and presentation in very different ways.  To me, having these in the same issue presented an opportunity to consider some of the ways that things have changed in the times between when these two stories were produced, in HM, and in my life.

The back cover is a riff on Taarna, with a woman wearing a t-shirt with the Cover A contest winner image on it, flailing her hair and perhaps her sword.  While she's wearing a t-shirt and not the incredibly unlikely Taarna outfit, and it looks like a katana rather than a broadsword, I enjoyed how it evoked and displayed the cover image without trying to duplicate it.