Friday, February 19, 2021

That time I was in Heavy Metal Magazine

I was thinking about this recently, thinking I should dig up the issue and post a photo of it.  But quite conveniently, R.M. Rhodes just put up the page on his heavymetalmagazine.wordpress.com/ site, saving me some digging.  Thanks man, for the info and the image I lifted from it:

Yup, that's me as "Fred", in the Septemer 2009 issue.  HM had letters sections going way back, and by this time they were just pulling posts from the (now long departed) HM website forum for them.  This was from a forum thread someone started that got some traffic, though I don't recall if Mr Eastman actually commented in the thread.  He did sometimes.  

Interesting to me, is Intone Flux prominently featured.  He's my old internet buddy from the HM forums, and the numerical rating reviews I do was originally his idea.  Intone Flux has contributed to my fandom and this blog, and has also produced some comics of his own.

I also believe the "BMB" is Ben Michael Bryne, who started posting his Kranburn on the HM forums back then (which is great by the way), but has unfortunately disappeared from the internet, as far as I can tell.

So thanks for the timely excavation of this issue, R.M. Rhodes.

fred

 

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

RIP Julie Strain

Julie Strain, go in peace.  

https://www.heavymetal.com/news/julie-strain-heavy-metal-obituary/

I gotta admit, it wouldn't have been Heavy Metal without you.  I may not have been the biggest fan, but her babe-i-tude, and the impact she had on the mag in the Eastman years, is undeniable.

thanks

Monday, January 11, 2021

Heavy Metal #299

 Heavy Metal #299 is called "Mythical Worlds Special".  I got the Cover C version, and the below image, from mycomicshop.com again, in July of 2020.

Heavy Metal Magazine #299C

This cover is called "Fiddler Crab on the Roof" by Sean Andrew Murray, and I liked the scene, reminding me somewhat of "Sacred Geometry" by Michael E. Bennett, which was subtitled "The Re-Education of Baron Edwin G. Krambiss", with the Baron on his tortoise-mounted villa, in #298, as well as the attention to detail, and the translucent treatment of the logo.

Peter Kleinman is again credited for the logo, this time in the contents.  There's a bit more churn in the chain of command:  No Chris Chiang, a Joseph Illidge noted as a Managing Editor, R.G. Llarena now a Managing Editor too, Hannah Means-Shannon now a Contributing Editor (hmm), and it's now Joshua Sky for the Digital Editor.  Are they ever going to stabilize to coalesce into something?

There's something at the bottom of the contents page, in white on a gray background, written backwards and fading to nothingness.  Hard to see but I've decided to think it says "welcome to the roaring void."  Odd.  Opposite the contents page is a nice illustration of someone on a tall ladder peering from an open portal, looking like it's for a book, called "Lumen 6" by Michael Whelan.

 A couple photos are in order here:





"A Faerie Tale Wedding" by Robert Randle, Enrique Alcatena, Arthur Hesli, Jame, R.G. Llarena - 6.5 - A bride on her wedding day, as she prepares to enter the church, is approached by a mysterious intruder into her chamber.  Spirited away into a world of the fae, she tarries too long, returning far too late for her wedding.  Pretty and engaging, also ponderous and nonsensical, in a fun way.

"Les Fleurs de Mort" by Steve Mannion, Jose Ladrönn, Frank Forte - 7 - Our pretty young woman superheroine-outfitted protagonist, communes with nature, and vanquishes the fascist-lookin' demon, with a flower.  Lovely.  I like how Mr Mannion's drawing looks like it could be from HM from years back.

"Wedding" by Philippe Caza - 7 - with translation by Michael Du Plessis and letters by Frank Forte.  The guy certainly has reason to remember his wedding day.  Not dated, but this looks somewhat recent to me, can't really say just why, yet it appears clearly as Caza's work.  Which is certainly a good thing.  Besides a somewhat recent appearance in #294 in 2019, Caza had last been in HM in #281 in 2016, with something from 1983.  Before that was in the 80s, so it was very nice HM could have more Caza here now.  Too bad his name is misspelled in the Contents, in a way I have done so more than once.

Gallery with Sean Andrew Murray - 7.5 - with an other insightful interview by Hannah Means-Shannon.  It's good, (it's really too bad HM failed to keep Ms Means-Shannon, their and our loss), and many of the images are so small that the delightful details are less apparent, helping the text stand out even more.  The art had imagination that I enjoyed.

"Confess" by Peach Momoko, Frank Forte - 7 - A tattoo artist offers absolution for the remorseful, though it is not limitless.  Beautifully stylized, arcane, simply written.

"Dogma Resistance" by Herø Projects, Matthew Medney, Morgan Rosenblum, Santa Fung, Bryan Valenza, Voodoo Bownz, RIOT (DJ Group) - 5 - An evil ancient mecha-demon is awakened, somehow.  Not liking this, the premise (?), art, storytelling, they're just not coming together for me.  Will it redeem itself as it's "to be continued"?  I hate to guess.

"The Highwayman" by Cliff Dorfman, David Arquette, Armitano, John Rauch, Adam Wollet - 6 - An armed robbery at a diner goes wrong.  There's a lot to like here, the art, story, and writing, all have bright moments of energy and insight, but I ended up disappointed that the whole seemed lesser than the sum of its parts.

Gallery with Michael Whelan - 7 - with another fine interview by Hannah Means-Shannon.  There's much good in the art, apparent skill and imagination, though not all of it excited me.  Frankly I enjoyed the interview even more, Mr Whelan tells some good stories.

"Murky World" by Richard Corben - 8 - In this, the 13th chapter of this lovely gift of Corben to our modern brains, our hapless hero Tugat is once again relieved of his horse Frix, as he is seduced by promises of wealth, demonstrating again that he's really not all that sharp.  He is then trapped in a cyclopian beast's lair, and I don't even care that I don't know why.  A wonderful story that can go anywhere it wants, and it does, as long as I get to follow along.

"Vices Lead:  Lust" by John Bivens - 6 - This appears to be a continuation of "Where Vices Lead" from #288 (2 years ago now), where Lust is the topic this time, but I struggled to make any sense out of this.  It took a few looks to figure out the pages that were set up as two page spreads, which are rare in the mag these days, and that helped me follow along better, a little bit anyway, and the more I looked the more I wanted to like it.  But the storytelling isn't very cohesive, and the art is sketchy to the point of distraction.  Maybe if we saw more of these "Vices Lead" stories, it would help.  My opinion is that reviewing some early Druillet would have helped with some of the background sex action.  (from "Urm" March 1978):


"Redemption and the Cicatrix" by Conor Boyle, David Baillie - 6 - With Hannah Means-Shannon getting an editing credit.  I feel I'm barely scratching the surface of what this story is trying to tell, going from comics to news to defeating and dethroning god.  The art and framing are more impressive, but on repeated readings I hardly improved my opinion, compared to how the previous story affected me.  And it's really too bad about the misspelling on the contents page.

"See What Thou Wilt" by Kyle Strahm, Matthew Mitchell, Jake Smith, Crank! - 6 - A disaffected punk kid seeks arcane tattoos to give him the power he lacks, but he only too late sees the price he pays, and that satisfaction eludes him.  I wasn't too excited by this, it's a little funny sometimes, but at least some dick appears.  I usually think some equal time cheap sexual exploitation is appropriate.

"Americon Dreamin'" by Scott Duvall, Ralf Singh, Cristian Docolomansky, Ilaria Fella - 6 - With Hannah Means-Shannon getting an "Edits" credit, and some thanks to Taylor Esposito.  With a reference to a more contemporary tyrant, and some nice T-Rex drawing, and lots of 'splosions, the end of civilization as we know it.  Did Einstein really say that World War IV would be fought with sticks and stones?

"Familiaris" by John Reppion, David Hitchcock, Matt Soffe, Simon Bowland - 7 - The King's Witchfinder General in mid 17th Century England, gets found by the witches.  Some pretty good storytelling and art tell a harrowing tale with horrifying imagery, showing glimpses of what it implies in the mind.


Friday, December 11, 2020

RIP Richard Corben

Richard Corben, pax vobiscum.  It wouldn't have been Heavy Metal without you.

https://www.heavymetal.com/articles/richard-corben-heavy-metal-artist/

Corben was responsible for so much of what Heavy Metal became.  From "Den" in the beginning, to the recent blessing of "Murky World".

My post about his early "Neverwhere":

https://fredshmfanblog.blogspot.com/2018/03/richard-corbens-neverwhere.html 

thanks

 

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Heavy Metal #298

 Heavy Metal #298 is called the "Furthest Reaches Special".  I got the Cover B by Gabriel Ippoliti, "Recalculating":

Heavy Metal Magazine #298B 

Image lifted from Lonestar Comics ( mycomicshop.com where I got it from, back in April ).

While the contents page still credits Peter Kleinman for the logo, this is the first issue without Kevin Eastman listed as the Publisher, since the 90s?  There are several other changes, better shown than told:

 #297:

 


#298:



That Hannah Means-Shannon is still noted as Managing Editor, almost a year after her resignation, is one thing.  Another is, Llexi Leon, who was apparently a party to that incident, who is not.  The Editorial staff seems pretty intact.  Lea White is back, last seen in #293.  There's a David Erwin and a Chris Chiang.  

And no Kevin Eastman.

I recall reading about Mr Eastman learning from someone else that he was no longer the publisher a while ago, but nothing more pops up since then:

https://bleedingcool.com/comics/kevin-eastman-no-longer-publisher-heavy-metal-magazine/ 

Frankly this smells of the kind of corporate executive pissing match I have so little respect for.  It's stained my perspective of what's going on in the mag.  Where is this all coming from, with the ancillary comics they're pumping out, and the announced shift to monthly issues, and where the hell is it going?  I'm too pessimistic, mostly my forlorn attitude.  Hope this shit doesn't fuck it up for the rest of us.  Trying to shake off my frowny face and stumble ahead.  Onward.

"I'm Sorry" by Alberto Rayo, Dary Huari, Isai Munake, Diego Revelo - 5 - Intrepid travelers, who don't need helmets for their space cycle, run low on fuel and stop at a planet to look for more.  They meet some creatively designed residents, whose arguing rends the fabric of space and time.  The travelers escape with their fuel, just in time to save themselves.  There's some creative arting and authoring going on here, but I found it too cluttered with pointless details and formulaic progression for my taste.

"Body Jack" by Alex Smith, James Firkins, Jame - 6 - Future-cop in a "meat grinder" city tenement where he grew up, is 'jacked' for a bust, where his body is occupied by that of a special operations officer, above his "pay grade", and witnesses the resulting carnage, unable to respond.  Raw-er art worked well for me, but there were no surprises.

"Philip K. Dick's Head is Missing" by Michael David Nelsen, Dwayne Harris, Frank Forte, Dale Carothers - 7 - "This story contains paraphrased passages from PKD's Exegesis".  I am mostly ignorant of Mr Dick's work, I did try to read Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep but it didn't register with me.  I enjoyed this story for its telling and its imagination.  I amused myself inferring knowledge from bits in the story, knowing that I was learning little, and I found some of the humor in it.  It was pretty wordy but I did fine with it.  I found the art and panel work nice, Mr Nelsen did the "past" parts and Mr Harris did the "present/future" parts.

"Sacred Geometry" by Michael E. Bennett - 6 - Subtitled " The Re-Education of Baron Edwin G. Krambiss", the Baron travels in his tortoise-mounted villa, accompanied by his robot drone assistant Baxter, seeking enlightenment.  Yet he fails to grasp what is offered.  A somewhat simplistic art style that I enjoyed, with similarly uncomplicated but descriptive writing, this one would have been ok in the mag 30 years ago.

Gallery with Carlos Huante - 7 - With a great interview by Hannah Means-Shannon, whose insightful questions elicit extensive answers from Mr Huante, on his career, techniques, influences.  Also with cool monsters.

"Bug House" by David Hine and Mark Stafford - 7 - Pest Management arrives at old Miss Wynde's house to address the infestation problem.  It takes a week of increasingly extreme extermination to complete the task, but the job gets done.  With a supplementary charge for "specialist disposal costs."  I mostly enjoyed the gleefully over-the-top escalation of the storytelling.

"A New Life" by Emilio Balcarce and Marcelo Pérez - 6 - An embattled space empire's ruler, in his immortal synthetic body, is nonetheless threatened by allied invaders.  Aided by his trusted wise friend and synthetic body provider, he attempts escape.  But, spoiler, the blast of his consciousness to a distant synthetic body goes awry, and his spirit travels across space and time, to lodge itself in the infant form of a more contemporary tyrant.  I thought this mostly looked good, and some enjoyable writing and storytelling was present, but I found the landing not stuck.

"Project Z" by Matthew Medney, Morgan Rosenblum, Voodoo Bownz, Jonny Handler, Vincenzo Riccardi, Verónica R. López - 6 - With a pile of "Creators" also noted:  Bassrush, Basscon, Herø Projects, & Project Z Festival Team.  Several post apocalyptic societies vie for control of a fusion energy source, The Triarc, amazingly discovering it, after almost a hundred years, almost simultaneously.  Similarly contrived storytelling and Mad-Max-Beyond-Thunderdome costuming have me less excited than I might wish about the To Be Continued...

"Incubator" by Matt Emmons - 6 - A robot in a wasteland, witnesses a craft crashing, and from hibernation pods inside, rescues, a baby?  And defends it from predators on its way to a subterranean hideout, complete with more hibernation pods?  Much as I did for Mr Emmons' earlier HM entry in #294, I like the art style and wordless storytelling, and I got some of the story out of it, but I got bogged down in confusion over details.  Not suspending disbelief enough I guess.

"Totemic" by FG Dr. Stain Ortiz Rivero, Omar Trucu Estévez, Felipe Sobreiro - 6 - A mercenary-looking couple, bring an apparently simpleminded captive, in their hopes he will lead them to their good fortune.  They encounter wealth, but of information rather than material.  The art does pretty well examining the effects of accessing this information, good and bad.  The story has some potential, but I got lost in the rote pontificating and typical comic pacing.

"Dowser" by Dwayne Harris - 7 - With Frank Forte getting an "Edited by" credit.  Wasteland thugs threaten a dowser's dog, unless he helps them find water.  He does, but it doesn't work out "well" for them.  This tells its predictable story well, and I liked the art style, detailed and descriptive, especially the goggles' reflections, even though they wouldn't really be a mirror.

"Tall Tales on Cyborg-9" by Frank Forte, Moramike, Dinei Ribeiro - 6 - Three slightly-humanoid pals take turns boasting of sexual conquests.  The art is ok with some nice bits, and the writing doesn't have much of a story to tell, but it has fun doing it.  The made-up names for various sex acts can be amusing, but I don't relate at all to that kind of braggadocio.  I recall back in a Mad Magazine in the 60s, reading the joke "the ones that talk about it the most, do it the least".

"Murky World" by Richard Corben - 8 - Our intrepid and woeful hero Tugat, continues his quest in pursuit of his horse and friend Frix.  In finding Frix, he also encounters amazons, a necromancer, and his deadlings.  With more delightful Corben mayhem, and compelling Corben art, this continues to be a bright spot in my recent HM fandom.  thanks

Gallery with Josan Gonzalez - 7 - Titled "In the Shadow of the Citadel:  The Sequential Narrative of Josan Gonzalez" and with an article/story description by Hannah Means-Shannon.  The story of a robot/machine dominated new world order, and how people immersing themselves in their own virtual depictions of the world enabled it, reminds me in part of Rod Kierkegaard Jr's "Obama Jones and the Logic Bomb" book (as noted on my Links page and sometimes available on Amazon etc, I like it a lot and recommend it highly).  The art has lots of descriptive and ancillary detail, the kind I like, that is both silly and cool, somewhat reminding me of some of Ben Michael Byrne's Kranburn and other work (also noted on this blog's Links page).  I enjoyed how the storytelling came together with the illustrations, apparently woven from interviews, and this could be a pretty cool book if they wanted it to be.

This issue ends with "A Special Preview of Ranx:  The Complete Collection", touted earlier as all the Ranxerox stories by Stefano Tamburini and Gaetano "Tanino" Liberatore from HM in 1983 and 1984, one of the highlight's of the mag's last years of monthly publication (if you liked the over-the-top senseless graphic novel violence and body horror and degrading sexuality, like I did), as well as some from elsewhere.  Advertised as shipping in June 2020, that didn't happen, though the HM Shop is saying it'll be in December.  This was something I thought I might actually get, if it ever materializes.

A couple things I liked, a few things I found mediocre, and a few ads for HM crap.  A lot has happened since this issue came out.  We'll see where things go.


Sunday, November 15, 2020

Going to Pieces

Over on The Bristol Board, there is a lovely scan of Schuiten's delightful Going to Pieces.  From the May 1978 issue of Heavy Metal, the cover and contents pages are included.

This is the kind of thing I really enjoyed back in the day.  Whimsical, mysterious, pretty.

Thanks to "earsplittingtrumpet" for putting this up, their link is on the post.

fred

Monday, August 31, 2020

Rant of the Forlorn

Motivation is hard to come by these days.  More change is coming to my life, I'm biding time again.  It'll be good, but the pain and suffering, the greed and stupidity, the ignorance and hate, roiling the world around me, even more than usual, is dismaying and infuriating, at a time I would rather be basking in my good fortune.

And I am fortunate.  In physical and material comfort and relative security, I have what I need and more.  The constraints of living in pandemic times impact me relatively little.  I can still get Heavy Metal Magazine, though I haven't been to a bookstore in months.  (I go to mycomicshop.com)

So why the sad face?  Mostly the dismay and fury.  But I am also realizing that my HM fanboyhood is stale.  My blog is riddled with gaps and links to nowhere.  I've procured and read #298 and #299, and #300 is out now, but I haven't even started my #298 review.  My curiosity has waned.  The mag is less exciting to me.  Less arresting or compelling art, less intrigue or mystery or awe in the stories, more action comic pacing and wordy exposition.  I'm not excited one bit by all the HM media empire machinations.  In fact it's distasteful to me.  It makes sense that they are leaning on Taarna for a brand property, since it's one of the few things HM actually owns, but it's amusing that Taarna's only a thing because they couldn't make the original movie character Arzak.  Action figures, swag, pinball machines (really?  are fantasy painted conversion vans coming back too?), spinoff comics and novels (doesn't anyone remember the Heavy Metal Pulp novels?) don't do it for me.   The current incarnation of the website is a slurry of incongruous bits of nostalgia and inane catergories like The Forge and Carousel.  And it hates my aging computer.

It's not all hopeless to me, like the links to the Arzak Rhapsody short videos are nice, and I still find some things to like in the mag, but I think after 40 years the HM world is finally passing me by, not that I was ever actually keeping up.  But, rummaging around in the pile of crap that surrounds me, for something to look forward to, I figure I'll keep buying the paper mag as long as it exists, and hope for the occasional morsels of fun, and it won't be too long before I decide to get to work on some reviews, and touching up my little blog.

Until next time, stay safe out there.

Monday, June 15, 2020

Heavy Metal #297

Welp, I got this issue # 297 in the beginning of February, and it's ridiculous that I'm just getting to this review now.  But many things are ridiculous in these ludicrous times, so I won't feel too bad about it.  I still try to be grateful for what I have, knowing I have plenty, and less to worry about than many.


Including being grateful for having Heavy Metal Magazine, that the paper mag is still being published, that I have means to get them.  It's a small pleasure to have, and I'm doing ok with the actual state of the mag.  It's a long time since the late 70s, and the current incarnation is only related to the transformative early years by the name and the logo and the tenuous thread of continuity of publication.  And I'm often not impressed by the content or the editorial machinations.  But there's plenty to like, and I won't burden this review with my whining, I'll save that for another post someday.


So this is labeled the Winter Special.  I got the cover A at the bookstore (remember going to bookstores?), with "Once Upon a Quiet Kingdom" by Brandi Milne.  Snowman constables playing in a candy and ice cream wonderland may not look like an HM cover, but it works for me, in an unnerving way, especially when I see the Gallery the artist has in this issue.


The contents page is just the list of stories and creators, with little snaps from the stories as the art.  The list of big shots continues to credit Peter Kleinman for the logo, and shows no changes but the absence of Ron English, last issue's Guest Editor.  This issue is 144 pages long, and the cover price is still $9.99.


"A Knight So True" by Cullen Bunn, Baldemar Rivas, Micah Myers - 7 - A Space Knight fights a Space Dragon in Space.  But it's not just as hokey as that sounds, the art is good and the Space Fight scenes are fantastic, in a literal as well as an early-Heavy Metal Magazine-type way.  And the Knight wakes up in Paradise, so his Fight didn't have a Happy Ending, which is another thing that could have been in the early years of the Mag.


"Sol Invictus" by Abraham Martinez, R.G. Llarena, Marco Perugini, Addison Duke. Jame - 5 - Roman Legionaries ending a battle with "filthy barbarians" encounter a particularly strong combatant.  The art is alright and has its moments, the story has some good questions, and I noticed the seasonal solstice reference, but it suffered with the jump from the pregnant captive about to be fed to the barbarian diety "Skoll", to the birth of Sol Invictus.  It made a bit more sense once I looked it up, but it didn't do much for how I felt about it.


"Black Metal Messiah" by Justin Jordan, Chris Anderson, Adam Wollet - 5 - Puritan ubermensch battles witchcraft, fighting fire with fire so to speak.  The art and story each show some quality of work, but I had a hard time going with how it went together.


"A Midnight Clear" by Ron Marz, Bart Sears, Andrew Dalhouse, Micah Myers - 6 - Extremely buff Santa is ambushed by trolls, who give him a gift in thanks for a long-ago kindness.  I like the art.  The sincerity of sentiment comes through even though I have to assume some background story.  Maybe it's a series that I just don't know about, there's lots of those.


Gallery with Andrew Shaffer - 7 - Andrew Shaffer delivers a rollicking interview with Hannah Means-Shannon, to accompany a good number of images about his holiday greeting cards of vintage images captioned ironically.  Some of it's too hip for an old fuddy-duddy like me, but it's good time holiday fun for when you're despairing for humanity.


"Chris Never - The Ghost of Christmas Never" by Jeffery Burandt, Jason Goungor, Omar Estévez, Micah Myers - 7 - Subtitled as "Sinder Klaus is Coming to Infinity Town, with Hannah Means-Shannon credited for editing.  This is presented as a comic style team of personalities/skill sets including representations of the ghosts of Christmas past, present, future, and never, plus the adorable angel-baby/weapons maker.  The team is sent to disrupt the bad guy killing Santa and destroying Christmas.  Serviceable art and snappy writing make this an engaging read, but not being a big comics fan it doesn't flip my switch the way I really like.


"The Spirit of Giving" by Tim Seeley, Pato Delpeche, Martín Túnica, Rodrigo Cardama - 5 - Compulsory gifting in the after-times authoritarian wasteland.  I found the story and art each to be both blunt and opaque.  And too on-the-nose for the time I am writing this.


"Black Smoke" by Hector Lima, Dalton Cara, Felipe Sobreiro, Charo Solis - 6 - A candidate for the new pope has a final interview (spoiler yeah) with a very old counselor, before being announced to the world, and it's actually the Christ revealed as the son of an alien species, imprisoned for two thousand years.  When the new pope promises to free Him, his fate is sealed.  An interesting premise that tickles my amusing-conspiracy-theory bone.

Gallery with Brandi Milne - 7 - More creepy cuteness from the celebrated creator of the cover A for this issue.  Hannah Means-Shannon's interview brings out Ms Milne's engagement with her art, of which is shown many fine examples.

"Bethlehem" by Andy Eschenbach, Gavin Smith, Chas! Pangborn - 5 - A (non-human) father lectures his son on the significance of the most sacred day in their solar cycle.  Obvious seasonal holiday references, but the thought behind the story did not penetrate my aging brain.

"Blizzard" by John Crowther, Oscar Pinto, Hector Negrete - 6 - Nice art technique and Wisconsin references (Milwaukee, "Uff-dah") and an Algonquin mythical monster (Wendigo) slightly elevate an otherwise obtuse story of a mass murderer in a Blizzard.

"Urban Developments" by Adam P. Knave, D.J. Kirkbride, Nick Brokenshire, Frank Cvetkovic - 7.5 - Holiday times with the family you love, when the crumbling world is a demon's plaything.  I liked the art, and the story put together some unlikely action with some holiday tropes, and I succeeded in getting some real emotion out of it.

"Murky World" by Richard Corben - 8 - It may not have any seasonal holiday references, but every issue of HM with Corben in it is a holiday issue if you ask me.  It's a gift to get this fun to read adventure of poor Tugat, falling from one peril to the next, ignored by former allies, offended by sorcerers, now with more dangling nads!  Best wishes for better times ahead to him, and to you!

Christmas Card Gallery by various artists - 6 - Santa and Krampus and Angels - oh my!  A handful of HM-ish Xmas card spoofs, I liked the hot-rod Krampus, and the Cthulhu the Snowman, which made me think of Calvin and Hobbes comics.

Overall an ok issue, and it's silly of me to reviewing this Winter Special as summer approaches, but it's not the first time I've dragged on my reviews, and it won't be the last.  I've got #298 waiting as #299 approaches release.


Saturday, March 28, 2020

Heavy Metal #296

Well, I got #296 on the last day of 2019, just making 5 issues I got in that year, including Soft Wood.  As for #295, the cover price is $9.99 and it's got 200 pages.  It's the "Street Art Special".


(As foretold by Heavy Metal Magazine Magazine Senior Editor R.G. Llarena, #297 followed shortly after, and I spent time reading that instead of working on this review.  It's going on three months getting this review out, and now #298 is supposed to be out, but I have not seen it in a store yet.  I'm not sure when I'll be able to get it with everything closing.)


I got the Cover "A" at the bookstore, by Tristan Eaton.  I really wish I could find my 3D glasses for it.


On the contents pages, there's a Guest Editorial by Ron English, he's credited as Guest Editor, and the list of big shots not only includes a credit for the HM logo to Peter Kleinman again, there are changes including Josh Roberston as Digital Editor, and Matthew Medney as CEO.  Brian Witten and Paul Reder are not found, no more Mr Morrison either.  At the bottom is a "Special Thanks to Jeff Krelitz, this issue's Executive Creative Director, and former CEO."  So there's more shakeup at my favorite mag, and an interview gives the new CEO a chance to talk about his vision.  Knowing there's more to the story keeps me from getting too excited just yet.


To the magazine, which I enjoyed.


Ron English's short editorial describes how he learned that street art is more than graffiti on city walls.  Though the contents pages' art is a painted cityscape, which I didn't see a credit for, maybe even Mr English did it. 


"In Charon's Orbit" by Deih - 7.5 - It's noted as # 1 in The Insider Series.  So, did Charon really dump that guy into the river Styx?  Is that why he seems lost in the underworld?  I guess that's why he's so torn up about it.  The story is better than my lame attempt at humor, instrospective and perplexing.  I get some serious Druillet vibe from this one, the characterization, the sense of internal and external space.  I wish we could see more.


"The Rabbbits" by Ron English - 7 - Mr English's wacky story of the 3-eyed 3-eared Rabbbits, and their falling into a hole with other character-creatures, and the creation of Delusionville.  This could almost be the prequel to Mr English's "Combrats" from HM #292.


"Within One Minute Forward, Get the Brightest Days of Fortune" by Faith XLVII - 6 - The title is only listed on the Contents page, and the story includes "Special Appearance by Keya Tama".  A poetic mystical journey into the desert.  To bury a cat?  Art stark and stylized, the story told with few words.


"Graffiti Pulp:  100% True Stories of Art Crime" - 7.5 - Cover Artist Tristan Eaton's tale of 90s Detroit graffiti missions, one in particular.  A fun read accompanied by many examples of the artist's work.


Gallery - "Wynwood Walls" - 6 - Jessica Goldman Srebnik, CEO of Goldman Properties and Founder and CEO of Goldman Global Arts, is interviewed by Hannah Means-Shannon, about Wynwood Walls, an outdoor street art showcase in Miami.  Several pretty photos of the place crawling with tourists accompany Ms Means-Shannon's insightful questioning and Ms Goldman Srebnik's practiced answers.  The photos are not credited, I think they come from the WW organization (though I didn't see them at their website).  It is cool that some of the artists in this HM Street Art Special are also featured at this art park.  I did start to think of the long societal relationship of art with powerful benefactors, a topic more learned persons than myself would be able to discuss.  I also thought the tractor tread benches were cool, and that Ron English is noted as from Decatur IL.


"Dr. Nihil and the Tremendous Blunder" by Corentin Pedro, Mike Owen, Wendie Owen, Eric Ghoste, Jon Tanners - 6 - Oh just your atypical mutant mad scientist animating his android creation.  What could go wrong?  Art that's energetic and abbreviated at once, the cover and story are different but the same, and a short story with few words.  This appears to be a thing, they have a toy.


"How Big of a Dick Are You?" by Olek - 8 - A rambling slightly linear story told in the third person about Agata, a NYC based artist, and a fraction of their personal journey.  Accompanied by snaps of Igram posts.  I found it fascinating.  Is it art?  Is it Street Art?  They say so, and I believe it.


"The Smile of the Absent Cat" by Grant Morrison and Gerhardt - 6 - Titled "chapter five:  the opening of an eye".  This seems like filler in this Street Art Special, but I'm glad this story is being continued.  This chapter extends the story into another institution, for humans this time, where a resident paints on a mirror what he "sees".  The apparent intersection of realities is part of the story, apparently.  It's "eye opening" as well as a little confusing.  This chapter ends with "to be concluded".


Gallery with Hebru Brantley - 6 - Another instance of good art that doesn't reach me, my loss as always.  The kids with goggles and in superhero outfits are pretty nice, but is HM the right place for this?  Hannah Means-Shannon's interview fills in many of the spaces for me, Mr Hebru has a lot to say, in his words and his art.


"The Language of Revolution" by Swoon and Stephanie Phillips - 6 - Photos of really cool street art, dynamic and intense.  The story is an old man lamenting to his son, how his art called him away from fatherhood, to join the revolution.  That rubbed me the wrong way, since even as he expresses regret for his failure to be present, the regret is more about his own pain than about his son's, showing that dad still doesn't get it.


"Vandal" by Nick Walker, Joseph Keatinge, Ferran Delgado - 7 - Or "The Vandal" on the Contents page.  "Artists walk the street no longer!  Save one!"  Fighting the power of the soulless city with street art, Vandal enlists the Rogs to lookout as he fills the streets with said art.  Almost quaint in succession to the previous story.


"The Chronicles of Brick Lady" by Lady Pink, Roger Smith, Matt O'Connor - 7 - Through centuries, millenia, ages, a Brick Baby grows and becomes Brick Lady, as generations of civilizations pass beneath and around her.  Adored, worshiped, ignored, moved, infiltrated, shattered, loved, she lives many lives.  The art appears composed of a handful of painted scenes, with drawn art in between to fill in the story.  There are a few historical references I caught, and likely some I missed.  One of the paintings reminded me of a scene in the 1981 Heavy Metal Movie, the woman-shaped nightclub with the entrance between the legs.


"Free Your Mind!" by Nychos - 8.5 - Starting with poetic prose and skeletal drawings; then building-sized paintings.  I marveled at the scope and scale of the work.  Such imaginative depth.  Such impressive detail.  I was mystified:  "Morals", "Scleral Ring", "Banana Skinny 2".  I became grateful to see this in my favorite mag.


Gallery with Shepard Fairey - 7 - Titled "The Art of Dissent" with an interview by Hannah Means-Shannon.  Famous to many from the Obey sticker experiment that became Obey Giant, and the 2008 campaign poster HOPE, Shepard Fairey is now an art and fashion corporate titan.  Mr Fairey tries to seem humbled by it all, and to use his powers for good rather than evil.  I find the art striking and cool, and I don't mind the political stance, but I'm not empassioned by it.


"Murky World" by Richard Corben - 8 - I so enjoyed this Corben installment, it stands out in an old-school HM way in this issue of more modern art.  There's the more violent punching and kicking as promised.  There's some lovely Corben art and humor.  There's some dangling Tugat nads.  And poor Tugat seems to be aging and balding rapidly.  Poor guy, with all he's going through, can't blame him.  Story?  More betrayal and fighting and death.  Is this "The End?  Or Will There Be More?"


"Leap of Faith" by Beau Stanton and Adrian Martínez - 6 - Some pretty cool art, photos mostly of building sized compositions, an almost-collage style of photo-realistic images with splashes of color and texture.  In some ways I thought it was a similar style to Tristan Eaton.  The story is a phone conversation between not-young-anymore friends, that develops a personal feel without explicitly tying to the art.  In some way I can relate, in some ways I can't.


"In the Land of Umbra" by Lurk, Cliff Dorman, David Arquette - 6 - Presented as the product of a visit to "a place in the sixth dimension" known as Umbra, a series of portaits of its inhabitants, with descriptions of them and their roles in this faraway place.  Fanciful and fancy, fun and even funny.














Tuesday, February 4, 2020

cbr

So, the guy that runs https://heavymetalmagazine.wordpress.com/, identified as R.M. Rhodes, also has a twitter, and last week there was an entry linking to https://www.cbr.com/heavy-metal-ceo-thinks-theatrical-r-rated-animated-films-are-the-future/ an article with the HM CEO spouting an opinion about, well, you can see it.  And R.M Rhodes comments that HM website ran video streaming back in the mid 2000s.  Honestly I don't remember that, I do remember references in the mag about their website being "The Hottest Channel on the Internet" and that the HM website was metaltv.com for a while, and I recall it as mostly Mr Eastman's playground, with sutff like a photo gallery of Julie Strain called "I Shot My Wife", fun with Simon Bisley like "Biz and Buzz", and links to Eyebrow Tuna (still out there).  But that was around when I got back into HM after years of not paying attention, so I easily could have missed it.


Like I also missed another earlier cbr article, https://www.cbr.com/heavy-metal-editor-resigns-due-to-bullying-campaign/, describing how Hannah Means-Shannon resigned from HM, back in October.  (another example of my myopically poor HM inquisitiveness; half the reason I have my little blog is to gather my links to cruise around the interwebs looking at HM stuff, but I end up not looking outside the sandbox I play in, so I miss a lot.) 


(The FB posting of her description of her resignation and what led to it is here.)


But mostly I'm sad that Hannah Means-Shannon is no longer at HM, helping nurture the production of the flimsy pile of paper I so enjoy, with the interviews that have gotten better and better the more I read them.  I wonder if the issue #296, with some great artist interviews, is the last we'll see of her in the mag.  It's a shame that her work at HM will be done, especially for the reasons implied by the article, and the unsurprisingly shambolic management of the mag it implies.