Monday, April 30, 2018

Heavy Metal # 289

After excess putzin' around on other topics and things, I'm finally getting to this review.  I noted there were almost three months between this and the previous issue.

Noted as the "Sci-Fi Special", I got the newsstand cover A, "Frontier 2600" by Jonathan La Mantia, a sort of western landscape with a bunch of vector-graphic elements, reminding me of the cover A for # 287, Mass Ritual by Kilian Eng, with some similar elements (as well as a console video game that I think was Battle Zone from the early 80s).  Some interesting features and not embarrasing to take to the store counter.  I'll give it a 6.

This issue is tied to the Heavy Metal AR app, advertised on the inside front cover, where an app-enabled device will bring up "augmented reality" versions of select images in the mag.  I did not get the app, I don't feel like being tracked that way, but there was a short video on the HM Fbook.  As someone who grew up when the phone had a rotary dial and you had to get up to change the channel on the tv, today's tech is astounding, and walking around with hand-held supercomputers is the coolest.  And the graphic techniques available now, compared to the previously mentioned video game for example, are amazing.  But an app that grabs pre-set imagery when it recognizes a picture, isn't too exciting to me.

Mr Morrison's editorial embarks on an intergalactic journey of reworn references and aggressively asserted happiness.  His capacity for word extrusion is astounding, as is his persistence.

"The Door" Chapter 1 by Esau Escorza and Mickael Moreci - 7 - also with Adam Woller and R.G. Llarena.  My impression is mostly favorable, with pretty and technical renderings of a post-something-or-other urban jungle, and a dynamic-reality plotline and a young protagonist who brings to mind some Alice in Wonderland feelings.  In this time of evolved/improved gender and power awareness, the frequent teasing of an up-skirt perspective of the young girl is uncomfortable, especially in the context of her getting misdirection from and misled by the supporting cast of characters.  Her willful resourcefulness may redeem the story, so we'll see if and when Chapter 2 comes around.

"Ten Sounds that Represent a Kind of Person" a Historical Parody by Grant Morrison and Ben Marra - 7 - Ambitious and fanciful, the deification of Bowie continues apace.  Referenced as a mashup of Bowie material in Mr Morrison's editorial, I enjoyed the fuzzy awareness I gained from the transgressive presentation of snippets of Mr Bowie's life and work.

"Neon Wasteland:  An Abstract Manga" by Rob Shields - 6 - I liked the whiffs of Blade Runner and Ghost in the Shell, and the pizza delivery car plopped in the middle was fun to examine.  Overall the digital imagery looked simplistic to me, even unfinished.  This is noted as one of the HM-app-able stories, so I'm missing out on some of its intent.  It's "to be continued" so I'll be interested to see if it's still app-licable in future installments.

"Murky World" Part 2 by Richard Corben - 7 - our protagonist's misadventures continue, in a world where things aren't as they seem.  Which seems ... familiar.  Still great fun to look at, and to look forward to more.

"The Color of Air" Part 6 by Enki Bilal - 8 - The characters inch closer together as their world keeps transforming itself, and the story flirts with parable and allegory, and with more color.  Having Corben and Bilal together seems to add artistic and historical weight to this issue.

Artist Spotlight - Beeple - 7 - With an interview by Rantz Hoseley.  I liked how the art showed various styles and settings with consistently strong execution.  Beeple refers to making a picture a day, which sounds like a lot of work.  Some are pretty dark, I bet those are faster, but I can imagine he's done all kinds of stuff.

"The Chimeran" by Paul Goodenough and Ben Oliver, with Simon Furman and Annie Parkhouse - 7 - I liked the art enough, on the sketchy side for me perhaps, but it was nicely composed and succeeded in showing action and introspection.  The premise is kinda out there, an experimental community of man and chimeran, where a chimeran appears to be a humanoid-canine hybrid or such.  The chimeran we see is charged as a child's companion, but suffers abuse from others, as well as from feelings of inadequacy.  The storytelling is painfully compelling.  It's impressive how well it conveys emotions from the view of a creature whose humanity is perhaps less than ours?  Or is it?  This installment finishes with "The Start of the End", so perhaps there's more?

"The Womb" by Tony Leonard - 7 - Near as I can tell, this is about some space-future-time proto-human transdimensional birthing facility.  With art that looks hand-drawn and made me think of Druillet sometimes, lines like "proto-embryonic flux, maintained!" and an abundance of sound effects, it puts on a frenzied pace.  Pretty fun though.  And it ends, "A new adventure, in the psycho-verse.." and I can't tell if we'll see more or not.

Gallery with Rob Shields - 6 - More app-fodder here apparently.  There's much to like, some imagination, some retro-future street-punk aesthetic, certainly some neon colors.  I think the rather static style of the digital art works better here in a gallery than in the creator's previous story.

An ad for the Taarna comic.  Don't know if I'll ever see this one.  Maybe I should actually go look.  Did you see the Frank Cho "Arzach meets Taarna" on HM twitter?  Now that was funny, on several levels.

Happy!  An interview with Grant Morrison by Rantz Hoseley.  Mr Morrison talks about a tv show he wrote.  I haven't seen it and may not ever, and essentially interviewing himself in "his" mag about "his" tv show is kinda self-serving, but I guess I won't let it bother me.

An ad for a "49th Key" book is followed by an inside the back cover ad for the Iron Maiden video game, followed by a back cover ad for Mr Morrison's Happy!  None of this interests me, but I suppose more ads is better if you run a magazine.

I see I'm mostly staying in my lane as far as my ratings of this issue.  I mostly liked most of the stuff, every now and then something stands out that I enjoy more.  I think that goes to the relative consistency of the mag and its content over these couple years of the Morrison era.  Hoping the future brings us more like it.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Richard Corben's Neverwhere

I saw this on Rod Kierkegaard's twitter.  I had heard of this early Corben work but here I got to see the actual short film for the first time:

Richard Corben's Neverwhere

It's certainly remarkable.  I can marvel at the look back almost 50 years ago, and imagine what it took him to make this at the time, be amazed by the amazing hand drawn animation, and see where his Den came from.  I can also find amusement in things that were uneven or clunky or silly, and overlook things that weren't even funny.  That, and that it's come to my attention in my advanced years, right when there's Corben in the mag again.  Wow man.

Mr. Corben is still around too.  Check him out and buy his stuff whenever possible.


Sunday, February 25, 2018

Dean Haspiel

So you may know, as I do, that Dean Haspiel is a creator who's been in a few HM issues recently, #281, #284, #285.  Perhaps you know, which I didn't right away, that he's a busy NYC based award winning artist, with a great deal of work out there, including some free web series about New Brooklyn, The Red Hook and War Cry (it looks like The Red Hook is getting printed too). 

But did you know he's also a playwright?  Late last year Haspiel's "Harakiri Kane" was produced at the Brick Theater in Brooklyn, he's called it an "existential gore noir".  This year, his "Last Bar at the End of the World", "with a twist of metaphysical, and is about troubled people reckoning with lost love and the sages in their lives" is coming to life this spring.  This info and a good deal more is on his website

It's notable that in both plays, Stoya is featured.  She and Mr Haspiel collaborated on "One Such Partner" in HM #281, apparently they were introduced by one of the HM execs.  Ms Stoya is an accomplished performer and creator as well, with much of her work of an adult variety.

It sounds kinda interesting, I might even see it if it wasn't in effin' NYC.  But there's an indiegogo fundraising page, so one could throw money that way for a piece of the action  But for now I'll just enjoy these and other flimsy connections to HM magazine as they touch the little world around me.

Friday, December 22, 2017


This story appeared in May 1977, the second issue.  It was the first story in the issue, credited to Tardi, Jacques Tardi I believe, who appears to have had other entries in the early years of the mag, including Polonius, as well as a distinguished history of other work.  A story of space love and pirates, I liked it much, but I never knew what the Russian dialog was.  I'm sure others have figured it out before me, but I didn't see it online anywhere.  Now, with the awesome powers of the internet at my fingertips, I can figure it out.  After slightly tedious text entry, the space-age telecommunications system all around us gave me the translations in moments.  I left the translations mostly alone, only a couple slight edits. and I thought the garbled syntax and word selection was fitting, with the long tradition of humorous translations in HM's history.  I further amused myself photographing the pages (no scanner) to place here.  What fun.  Clearly, this is another pinnacle of my Heavy Metal Magazine fanboyhood.  Enjoy!





Очи жгучце очи страстные ... Очи красные и прекрасные ... Как люблю я вас

The eyes of the burning eyes are passionate ... The eyes are red and beautiful ... How I love you





Светлана, как чувствует себя наш сын, первый ребёнок шпации ... Ну, расскаж ...

Svetlana, how our son feels, the first child of the space ... Well, tell us ...

Всѐ хорошо!  Он совсем нормально развивается.  Через несколько часов, он имеет взрослый рост.

All is well! It is quite normal. A few hours later, he has adult growth.

Отлично!  Мы сможем вернуться домой.  Тебе нравилосъ бы покидать твои контроли несколько минут?

Excellent! We can go home. Would you like to leave your controls for a few minutes?

Согласно, Никита ... А, пожалуйса, не слишком долго.

I agree Nikita ... And, please, not too long.

Наше свадебное путишествие оканчиьается, ребёнок растёт, миссия наша-успех ... Светлана, я тебя люблю!

Our wedding journey ends, the child grows, our mission is success ... Svetlana, I love you!

Всё чудесно произошло!  Надеемся, что приято вернёмся!

Everything happened miraculously! We hope that we will return!





В то же время ...

In the same time ...

Надеемся, что Светлана и Никита прожили чудесное свадебное путешествие и что нам приносят прекрасного ребёнка шпации ...

We hope that Svetlana and Nikita have had a wonderful wedding trip and that they bring us a beautiful space baby ...



Sunday, December 10, 2017

Heavy Metal #288

This is the Weird Issue.  While the theme is emphasized in the editorial, and some of the content does qualify as weird, I still think it's weird that Jett Lucas is noted as Creative Executive on the Contents page, with the other executives.  I wonder what's going on with that weed "edutainment" magazine they were working on.  None of those Contributing Editors this time.

I got the Cover "A" from the bookstore, with Death Dealer by Frank Frazetta.  If ever there was a piece of fantasy art that qualified as Classic, this would be it.  It's older than the recently 40 year old Heavy Metal magazine itself.  You might think Mr Frazetta has been all over HM in its 40 years, but it appears he's only done a couple covers, November 1990 and the #286 Cover B, and a couple other interview features, besides (according to the HM website cover gallery, which I really hope gets updated and maintained, it doesn't seem to have been touched for a year).  So it's highly cool that HM has this famous work on its cover.  This issue also has an article about Mr Frazetta by his son about the painting, much like the article in #286, and an ad for the museum in the back.  I think it's nice Mr Frazetta is getting some regard in HM.  Once I actually saw an actual Frazetta in an actual museum, it was cool.  I won't pretend to be qualified to apply a quantitative rating to this work.

The Table of Contents art is "Berenice" by Natalie Shau, who also did the Cover "B" and has a gallery in this issue.

Mr Morrison's editorial begins with an homage to Len Wein, whom Mr Morrison considers an inspiration, and who contributed to HM a few times in the early years.  It continues with some comments about weirdness, and a handful of mentions of this issue's works.  I noted no mention of Mr Frazetta though.

But he did note the return of Richard Corben, with what seems to be the beginning of a story, "Murky World!".  Anyone who knows about HM certainly knows about Mr Corben.  He's been in dozens of issues, known best for "Den", one of the iconic first stories, and many, many, others.  While he's been working for decades, it's been almost 20 years since he's been in HM.  This story feels quite familiar, not only Mr Corben's lovely and familiar style, but also the setup of a lone wanderer put on a quest.  I am unnerved by the image at the bottom of the first page, I can't tell what the blob of flesh in front of the "Fairy Godmother" is, a foot, a boob, unborn twin?  And the lone eye, eek.  But it's great to have Mr Corben's work in HM again, it's fantastic to see and appreciate the effort and ability displayed.  Such as the shadows of the clouds of dust as the round door closes on the last page, a touch of realism in a fantastic world.  Coming across as a bit irreverent, it makes me think more of Neverwhere than Den.  Especially the last panel with "... he is confronted with a gay masquerade."  We'll see where we go with this one, I'm hoping it'll be fun.  I'll give this one a 9, perhaps inflated for sentimental reasons.

"Where Vices Lead" by John Bivens, with Art Assistants Alex Conkins, Iris Monahan, Hannah Jerrie, & Virgil Franklin - 7 - Dommiel the Gatekeeper confronts a wayward Lord to return him to his circle in Hell.  The art is dynamic, if a bit frantic, and the story, with the implication of more, was enticing.  If we really get entries for the rest of the Lords/Deadly Sins, it'll be cool.

"Frank Frazetta:  The Creator of the Death Dealer" by Frank Frazetta Jr.  Where the famous illusrator's son writes of the history of the iconic painting, how it could never be improved, how Mr Frazetta was convinced to produce more of the series, and how Jr is going to write the story, to be featured in Heavy Metal magazine.  I'm impressed that HM has forged a relationship with the Frazetta franchise, though I will wait and see how this plays out.  No number rating applied.

"Shaman Himiko" by Peach Momoko - 7 - A shaman fortuneteller responds to a supplicant's pleas, by seeing through his lies and condemning him to the misery he inflicted on others.  Pretty to see and does well with its two pages.  I'd like to see more of this creator.

"The House of Heart's Desire" by Grant Morrison and Dominic Regan - 7.5 - A philosophical adventure, a guy finds the door, to the house without a door.  Existential hijinks ensue.  The art style is a bit jagged but evocative, and the story is told energetically and with a joke.  Makes ya think.

"Mouth Baby" by James Harvey - 6 - Young urban parenting, sort of.  This one is certainly weird, and there's much to like in the art and storytelling, and I got at least some of what it tried to say, but it wasn't something I enjoyed.  Maybe the pain is too close to home.  Maybe that's its greatest success.

Gallery - Natalie Shau with an interview by Rantz Hoseley - 6 - A good number of images with plenty of evidence of the artist's great ability.  They can be quite pretty to see.  Though they may not excite me so, there's much to offer to those who are excited by this style.

"The Color of Air" Part 5 by Enki Bilal, translated by Jessica Berger - 8 - Turmoil is coalescing to its unreal apex.  Our intrepid adventurers tumble towards their intersection.  The art gets even prettier and more self aware.  It is yet to be "continued next issue."  My delight continues apace.

"New Madonna" by Grant Morrison,  Menton, Adam Wollet - 5 - More parenting in "Fallen Times."  Weirdness to spare, and I kinda liked to art and the unpaneled image sequence style.  This one didn't grab me like "Mouth Baby" did.

"The Bleeding" by Kevin Eastman, Simon Bisley, Ryan Brown - 7 - It says "inspired by the Song..." by Five Finger Death Punch.  Makes me wonder if there wasn't enough room in the previous Music Special #287 for this one.  Anyway, more HM alums reappear.  Mr Eastman contributed art to the mag a number of times in his tenure, as well as some editorial, and Mr Bisley a bigger number in that time.  (I didn't find Ryan Brown credited in any.)  A song about love, or the opposite.  Multiple settings for multiple facets of the story, in multiple worlds.  I've said it before, Mr Bisley sure can draw.  His portions of this show a familiar and welcome dynamism, ridiculous detail, and inflated rage.  Maybe more to come?

"Preview:  The Heroin Diaries Graphic Novel", Nikki Sixx interview by Rantz Hoseley - 6 - So I think it's a good thing Mr Sixx is using his story to help others (as well as himself), and he seems passionate about life in the interview.  I doubt I'll see this book, but I hope it works out for everyone.

"Hellraiser - The Test" by Ben Meares, Christian Francis, Mark Torres - 6 - Apparently a promo for a Hellraiser book.  I never saw the movie or any books, so I'm missing some background here, but it's a nice little bit of storytelling, and I like the art style pretty well.  Alternate realities with torture and chains?  Perhaps not so much.

So a great deal of stuff for me to like in this issue.  Even with stuff I am less fond of, there's plenty variety in the things we're offered.  I hope the mag can keep on keepin' on like that for a while.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017


Why do I do this?  What is it about Heavy Metal that's made me some sort of fanboy, that makes me write stuff and throw it into the void?  I ask myself this, as my time passes and my life happens, as I seek the mag out and try to think about it enough to have something to say, why?

For one thing, a big part is so I can have all my stuff and links in one place.  I check my blog often, check my Links page for new things (my Links page is in need of a tune-up though, it's getting stale) and see who's been visiting, usually just a couple hits a day.

But why am I interested in Heavy Metal Magazine, after so long, for so long?  It's often good, sometimes not.  Some things I think I can explain, some things I'm no so sure of.  It's like a combination of contrived amusement and innate affinity.  There's some history and early exposure, some good timing, and some desire or need for some illicit thrills in a tiny dark corner of my existence.  I'll try to have some fun figuring it out.

I read some comics when I was a kid, but I wasn't a big comics buyer.  Newspaper comics were cool, I read things like Mad Magazine and Peanuts collections.  I remember reading a Buck Rogers collection at a friend's (big book, I actually found this at a resale shop in more recent years).  I also saw some actual comics at an uncle's, war comics like Sgt Rock, and G.I. Combat with a story about guys in a Sherman tank (around 1970, war was big, Vietnam was happening, Korea and even WWII seemed almost just yesterday) and those could have a real emotional impact.

I liked sci-fi, a few books but mostly movies, mostly old ones on the black & white tv on rainy Saturday afternoons.  Also my dad took me to 2001 in the theaters when it came out, I was maybe 9.  That was really something.

Then in 1977, I was in my first year away at college, someone showed me the first Heavy Metal magazine.  I liked it enough to start buying them from the second issue.  The attraction was an otherworldy depiction of fantasy worlds, where stories didn't have to be told explicitly, or even understandably, with art that was so much more than comics, and with more vicious violence and overt sex than a young lad had seen at the time.  The tagline for a long time was "the adult illustrated fantasy magazine" and it lived up to that.  The party-dorm environment probably had an influence on my perspective at the time as well.  I was still at an impressionable age, and it made an impression on me.

Over the next few years as I went through school and got myself out and employed and otherwise pretended to be a grown-up, I kept buying the mag.  I saw new stuff, watched stories come and go, or go on and on, and learned about some art and artists.  The mag was an actual cultural force for a while, when magazines were one of the more sophisticated media around and could cater to limited audiences more easily than they might today.  People knew about HM and its place in fantasy art.  It could have sword and sorcery, or sci-fi, or humor or horror, and it could be quite "adult" (though perhaps in immature ways).

It got big enough to spawn a 1981 movie, that got some serious hype in the mag as it was being developed.  I wasn't too excited about it, since I was skeptical that a movie could do justice to how I felt the magazine could inspire imagination with printed images that could be ingested and processed to fill the spaces in my mind, as well as how well the images and styles could be replicated with the animation technology at the time.  I didn't even see it in the theaters during its short run, I did finally see it on HBO, and my opinion was reinforced.  It has its high points and a few not so high, it went for humor more than wonder, and I understand it was a staple at college midnight movie nights.  I have a copy now and I've watched it a few times.

After the movie, the mag sales declined, and it stopped issuing monthly at the end of 1985.  In my opinion this was the end of the "classic" age of Heavy Metal Magazine.  My interest waned as well, as it went to quarterly then bimonthly distribution, and the stories were less compelling to me, and by 1990 I had lost interest and had given away my (not quite complete) collection.

About fifteen years later, in a resale book shop, I came across an almost complete collection, and remembrance of my misspent youth, and extra cash from being an employed grown-up, led me to buying the collection.  I started reading from the beginning, enjoying fond memories of wonder and excitement, and noticing some new things in what I'd seen before, and took advantage of the new-fangled internet and searched out and bought the rest of the issues to complete the collection.  I have since read them all, though some only once, and have kept buying and reading them.

Not too long after I re-started my interest, I came across Lostboy's Heavy Metal Magazine Fan Page (I thought to search for the Timothy Leary interview in the October 1983 issue, to see if anyone else had something to say about it) and it came up near the top of the list.  It's still linked on my Links page, even though it hasn't been updated in several years, it's still a great resource.  He had a forum once, that I enjoyed contributing to, and that's where I started with issue reviews.  There has also been an official HM web site for years, having gone through several iterations and revisions, there was also a forum there for a time, where I picked up on reviews in a 1-10 format started by a contributor known then as Intone Flux.  When that forum was closed in 2011, I was annoyed and disappointed enough to start this little blog.
I was able to salvage some of my old reviews and post them here.  I notice that my early style was spare and short, compared to how I do reviews now.  Before I'd go for a few words to express an opinion, now I try for more substance.  I try to include the title and creators (for credit and to be found in searches better), the number rating, a description of the setting or type of story, and an opinion or two.  Early I was just making snarky remarks in an online discussion, now it's just me so I have more room to rant.

So that's how I got here.  But again, why?  There's the part that's a conscious choice, being a collector, making the effort to gather the mags and gather my thoughts, making this something I do.  I do stuff, grownup stuff, and some other things for fun too, and all of them are more important to me than HM, but I'm choosing to spend a few hours here and there on something inconsequential.  But it's neat, I have a nice pile of paper going way back, I get some satisfaction from having them all, and keeping up with it, and now I get to have my own web log on the world wide web that all the world can see (though hardly anyone does) and be an internet fanboy.

I do this myself, this blog is the only way I share it.  That's part of why I'm questioning this.  There's the part where keeping it to myself gives the illicit thrill of a secret, but there's also the part of being embarrassed.  Heavy Metal Magazine stopped being cool in the 80s.  It has a well-earned reputation for being a tits-and-ass comic book, it's often degrading to women and people in general, and readily displays high levels of gruesome violence.  It's not fit for polite company.

I like the sexy parts, there was more of it in the early days, and it was more than just girls and their boobs.  There was boy parts and girl parts, some pretty explicit parts, and enough variety to titillate and offend almost anyone.  Some of it has been exciting, even inspiring, plenty of it has been crude and juvenile, and much of it would be rightly criticized now for the objectification and exploitation displayed.  The violence is another kind of "adult" content, there's been hardly any limits on the ways and means of assault and battery, death and dismemberment, that the mag would show.  Plenty has been offensive, but mostly it can be fun.  I know people are capable of causing terrible harm to their fellow people, but it mostly seems appropriate on an adult comic level, to me this means accepting it as fantasy and being able to separate it from reality.  Comic sex and violence offer a way to experience "bad" things and thoughts without causing actual (physical) harm, and that separation lets me extract some enjoyment from the mental exploration of things I wouldn't do in real life.  I can only speak for myself, I can imagine where some could use comic violence to develop and encourage violence in their own lives, and I bet others have written better about the juxtaposition of comic fantasy with real morality.

With all that, I still buy it.  I enjoy that the magazine still exists in paper form, and it can be fun to hope it will get better and better, though over the years that hasn't always been the case.  I have my collection, I have my little blog, and I have space in my life to indulge myself on something that's trivial but that I find fun.  I like knowing that my interest in HM spans more than half my time here, and since nothing lasts forever, least of all me, it's nice to have something like that in my life.  Like I said, almost everything else in my life is more important than HM, but I feel fortunate to be able to have all that and HM too.

So, over the weeks it took to put this together, it's been fun to reflect and consider HM's place in my life and my interest in it.  My thoughts are a bit more organized but I didn't gain any great insights.  I guess I'm stuck with it's silly and fun and cool that I have all these mags from so many years.  And a blog.  And I should really get on that #288 review....

Friday, October 13, 2017

Heavy Metal #287

This issue is a Music Special, with stories based on rock songs.  This is an interesting prospect, but I am at a disadvantage since I know none of the songs involved.  I hardly know any of the bands.  Being old probably has a lot to do with it.  I can have opinions on the stories themselves and the mag overall, but I will be missing out on some of the intent, so my thoughts will be even less significant than usual.

HM has a good bit of music in its history.  Early stories had rock music themes and sub-plots, such as Heilmann by Alain Voss, and especially the October 1980 Rock issue with Rock City by Moebius and The Legend of the Magic Tone Box by Angus McKie.  The 1981 Heavy Metal movie got a lot of mileage out of its soundtrack.  There was also Lou Stathis with his nu-musik rantings in the later 80s.  But overall, there wasn't much direct connection between Heavy Metal the magazine and heavy metal the music genre.  Until now perhaps.

I got the cover A at the bookstore, it's called Mass Ritual by Kilian Eng, a depiction of a concert venue it appears.  There's some interesting aspects to it if you look closely, but it didn't really grab me, I give it a 5.

Inside the front cover is an ad for an Iron Maiden comic, promoting their video game advertised a couple pages later, and for a Taarna comic series.  I don't usually look for these HM-promoted other comics, but I may look out for this Taarna one.  I wasn't too excited by the promo Taarna entry in #284, but she's a pretty prominent character in the HM lexicon so it may be worthwhile.

The Page 2 illustration, Skeletron by Boneface, under the title Music Special, is actually pretty nice, a spare depiction of a classic rock pose with incisive detail.

Mr Morrison's editorial is expectedly wacky and has the requisite callouts of mag entries, but this one seemed rather strained.  I am impressed by how he's been able to keep at it, but this one didn't do it for me.  I heard a rumor he may be stepping away soon, I get the feeling I may miss him.

Iron Maiden - "Legacy of the Beast" Preview, by Llexi Leon, Ian Edginton, Kevin J West, Jason Gorder, Carlos Villas & Jacob Bascle - 4 - a promo for a video game, following the ad for said game.  I'm not interested in a game and not excited by the execution of this story.  Best of luck to the gang though, you don't need my approval to succeed.

An ad for a 1985 follows, I think this another comic that I won't see, but I like the picture, a gritty depiction of a helmeted guy or robot with broken manacles, crying out.

In Flames - "When the World Explodes" by Blake Armstrong - 6 - A guided dream becomes a manipulated nightmare.  It packs a lot into its four pages, and the final image is good.

Mötley Crüe - "Wild Side" by Simeon Aston, Leah Moore & Adam Wollet- 7 - An oppressive dystopia is taken down, and a new society formed.  The urban future and stick-it-to-the-man attitude would have fit right in to the mag in the early years.

Gojira - "Shooting Star" by Kevin Mellon - 8 - Shows a story of metamorphosis and tells a story of pain and reconciliation.  I can even imagine the ending being sung in several styles of music.

The Color of Air - Part Four, by Enki Bilal - 7 - The only feature that's not part of the Music theme.  Fine with me.  A story of juxtapositions, slow paced and suspenseful.  Perhaps storylines getting closer to each other?  And I like the art, misty and murky and sometimes, luminous?

Nine Inch Nails - "The Way Out is Through" / "In The Hills, The Cities" by Clive Barker, Sean Lynch & Hannah Jerrie - 8.5 - I liked how I could read the text as a song, but even though it seemed like it told me just a part of a story, it expressed its sentiment well.  What I really liked was how the art was composed and how it expanded its perspective to show its own sentiment very well.  Honestly it took me a couple times through it for me to see it well, but I got into the ideas of how individuals can be incorporated into a larger whole, and be at the mercy of its existence.

Gojira Art Gallery by Mario Duplantier, with an interview by Rantz Hoseley - 7 - The artist is a heavy metal drummer, so it fits, and some of it's pretty cool, imaginative images and neat techniques.

Rob Zombie - "Living Dead Girl" by Michael Moreci, John Bivens, Omar Estévez & Adam Wollet - 7 - Zombie wrestling, or something like that.  Looks cool, frantic action.  These days it's harder to take the depictions of manipulative abuse of women in the mag, than in the older, sexist-er days.  Still gotta long way to go.  At least the title victim survives as a total badass and destroys all that oppose her.

Marilyn Manson - "Coma White" by Richard Kadrey, Menton & Adam Wollet - 6 - Looks really cool, but I can't relate.  Songwriting, pills, vampires, Mr Manson with boobs, just not my thing.  If it's yours, go ahead and enjoy.

Queens of the Stone Age - Boneface Villains Gallery, with an interview by Rantz Hoseley - 7 - I actually saw the first image in a music store.  Some interesting images and a nice interview.  I liked "Putting stuff in there that looks like it means something, but actually doesn't, is also fun."

Hollywood Undead - "Origins" by Paul Allor, Drew Moss, Billy Martin & Flor Gpe Ortiz Rivero - 4 - LA locals are mystified by societal changes.  I was mystified by this, I was only able to glean specks of insight, I'm certainly missing the point.

Vamps - "Calling" by Tony Leonard - 5 - A tale of struggle against authoritarian oppression, told as a futuristic love story, maybe.  Perhaps cool to look at, still I couldn't get into the storytelling.

Ozzy Osbourne - "S.A.T.O" by Tony Lee, Vasilis Lolos & Adam Wollet - 6 - A bored king is rescued from the illusion of years of pointless rule by his true love, to go seek new dreams in S.A.T.O. their ship of gold.  Nice art, story is ok though I wasn't excited about it.

So, like many issues, overall nice with a couple stories that I really liked and a few not so much.  Hopefully fans of the bands can gain more enjoyment where I did not.

Saturday, September 30, 2017


So BiLL, who sometimes comments on this blog, asked about my favorite covers.  I had to think about it.  The art on the covers can be cool, but the stories inside the mag are more interesting to me.  Also, there are so many, it's a lot to consider.  But I'll give it a shot.

I'll start right off by saying, the early covers were the best.  Not only were they imaginative and compelling, it was in the earlier years that the magazine hit the scene with some actual cultural force, as a pioneer in published storytelling and illustrative art.  It didn't really last, interest waned, though the mag continued, mostly thanks to Kevin Eastman.  For most of the mag's existence since, covers have mostly been posing babes in wacky outfits cheescakin' on.  It didn't start with Mr Eastman, but in his time babes were the norm.  Mr Morrison has branched out a bit, which is nice in my view.  It's not that I don't like a nice babe, and sometimes it could be lovely or powerful or both, but pin-up type art can be limiting, and too often it could be exploitive or demeaning.  There's plenty to talk about on HM's position in sexuality and human nature, but this is a post about covers.

So I'll pick out a few favorites and perhaps generate some interest.  If anyone has a particular favorite or two to mention, let us know.

In the beginning, it was robots:

(This and most images lifted from Lostboy's excellent fan page, , the Magazine List, go there and see more.)

The first issue set the tone for me.  It's April 1977.  A girl robot beating the crap out another robot with a giant wrench?  Holy smokes, this wasn't Boy's Life or National Geographic, that's for sure.  It even said "The Adult Illustrated Fantasy Magazine".  Seeing this issue made me start buying them.  The artist is Jean-Michel Nicollet.  "Classic" HM, that's for sure.

Something else I liked from the early years was the occasional wraparound cover.  The first was a terrific Moebius for July 1977:

It's worth noting that back covers could have some nice work as well, that don't get much attention.  Lostboy's HM fan page does well to also include back cover images.  Go there and see.

Most of the rest of the 1977 covers are pretty good, and not a pin-up among them.  That starts in 1978, though only for a few.  One I liked was October 1978, by Ron Walotsky:

Imaginative and engaging, I'm sure the minor boobage smack in the middle of the page got 19 year old me's attention too.

1979 has some I liked, such as January with a photograph of art by Jo Ellen Trilling and Jay Brenner:

and one by Richard Corben and a couple by Angus McKie.

1980 had two I really liked, February by Patrick Couratin:

Weird enough to be cool...

and November by Hajime Sorayama:

Another "Classic", and that's not even mentioning HR Giger for June, and December by Chris Achilleos.

1981 was a good year for covers.  February by Jim Burns is one of my favorites, I thought it was really funny:

("look, up in the sky, it's a giant ... bone!")

July 1981 was cool, I seem to like robot chicks:

Of course there's the classic Taarna poster cover by Chris Achilleos for September, which may not have made a big impression on me, but is pretty iconic:

I really liked the Debbie Harry dressed in an HR Giger bodysuit for December:

There was also a bit in the mag about this photo.

Over the rest of the mid-Eighties, the covers made less of an impression on me.  There was less enticing intrigue and more pretty pictures.  My general opinion is that the mag lost steam after popular interest peaked after the 1981 Heavy Metal movie came out.  (A reflection of this is in the figures noted on the Sales History page on the About page on Lostboy's Heavy Metal Magazine Fan Page, again, go look.) 

There were plenty to like, at least a little bit.  There were Corbens and Royos and Liberatores, Hildebrandts and Jim Burns and Jim Cherrys.  And a robot or two.

July 1982 by Thomas Wartenkin:

I was amused by March 1983 by Carol Donner:

And I found March 1984 by Andy Lackow funny as well:

(no, I don't know what they're saying.  maybe the internet can help.)

October 1985 by Olivia De Berardinis impressed me (there were a few of these zebra woman pieces):

And I've been a fan of December 1985 by Ajin:

The cut paper sculpture had a fiercely alluring image, and made me think "how did they do that?"  And it was also the last monthly issue, as the mag contracted and tried to find a place in the shifting culture landscape.  The late 80s were when I lost interest in the mag and quit buying it regularly, as did others apparently. 

There were a couple I recall liking, such as Winter 1986:

I think it's a photo, of Daryl Hannah in Clan of the Cave Bear, which had some popularity at the time.

Spring 1987 by Jim Warren was one of the more imaginative:

Summer 1988 by Oscar Chichoni seemed somewhat thoughtful, and this image is seen again later...

July 1991 by Olivia De Berardinis was kinda special:

Around this time the tagline on the cover changed to "The Illustrated Fantasy Magazine".  And then HM was bought by Kevin Eastman with some of his TMNT money, and posing babes became the norm.  To be sure, there was some nice work by some good creators, like Luis Royo, Oscar Chiconi, Simon Bisley, Julie Bell, to name a few, and the settings and outfits could be imaginative, but it was mostly variations on a theme, with depictions of Julie Strain being frequent.

A fine example is September 1997 by Simon Bisley:

Which also promoted the second Heavy Metal movie, F.A.K.K 2, which was in the works for years and finally materialized in 2000.

Of course there are exceptions that I liked for one reason or another.

March 1996 by Richard Corben:

November 1997 by Gaetano Liberatore:

There were also more "Special" issues around this time, often with nonsensical themes, such as "Arcane Special" and "Steampunk Special", that had nothing to do with the actual content.  The covers for these were still mostly babes, though some were not just so, like the Fall 2001 "Mind Melt Special" by Simon Bisley:

But it was usually babes for years to come.  A few years into this was when I rediscovered Heavy Metal Magazine, fueled by an early find of a nearly complete set at a resale shop, and gathering the rest with the newly invented internet.  I also started buying new issues in local bookstores.  For a good while it could be a little embarassing to carry it to the counter and put it down to pay.  Sometimes it would be shelved with porn.  Sometimes maybe it even should have been there (there were some issues that included free porn cards, that's another story...).  I bought them anyway.

There have been a few covers that I have actually disliked, like where the posing was especially pointless or even too cheesy for me, but I won't dwell on them here.

Along the way the tagline would change, to "The Mature Illustrated Fantasy Magazine" and to "The Adult Illustrated Fantasy Magazine" to the "World's Greatest Illustrated Magazine".

One I wanted to point out is January 2002 by Oscar Chiconi, with the same art as Summer 1998.  It made me wonder if they even knew they did that.

And the Fall 2007 "30th Anniversary Special" which was actually a full reprint of Mr Eastman's and Mr Bisley's Melting Pot story (I thought it was a bit self-indulgent of them at the time, but whatever), cover by Mr Bisley:

Another I liked was September 2009 by Nathan Fox and Jeromy Cox:

Not only a wraparound, but the Fluorescent Black stories were terrific.  (And by the way, you would probably wreck your mag if you really tried to do this, since the binding is glued on the edge instead of stapled like the old days.)

And I did actually like the Fall 2009 "Terror Special" cover by Claudio Aboy:

Since then there were a few that were a little interesting in one way or another, like the War of the Worlds Special for Summer 2011, by Studio Climb, a promotional issue for the War of the Worlds Goliath movie that Mr Eastman helped produce, the last Special issue, and one of the few Specials whose title was reflected in the content:

and September 2011 by Stanley "Artgerm" Lau was pretty stylish:

More recently, Mr Morrison's tenure is marked by a de-emphasis on babe-itude, which if fine by me.  Perhaps an increase in the Morrison-itude, which I am also ok with for the time being, as illustrated by the cover for issue #286 by David Stoupakis:

Issue #286 - Cover A - Stoupakis

(this image from the HM web store, since the HM website cover gallery only goes through #282 in 2016.  I do hope they can update the gallery and keep it current, it's my resource for anything after 2011 when Lostboy stopped updating his site.)

I'm not too excited though, by the increase in having multiple covers for mag issues.  Perhaps it's a thing in the world of regular comics.  For me it's just a bunch of stuff I will only see on the internet, and since being able hold the paper in my hands is the whole point (and perhaps spew letters into the void about it...) I have little interest.

Regardless of my crank-itude, it was fun to reflect and research and assemble this, so thanks BiLL for the suggestion.  Now to that issue #287 review...

Monday, August 28, 2017

Violence Becomes Tranquility

While I am slowly working on a post about covers, and on my review of #287, I want to to note that someone put up a Heavy Metal story from March 1980, Violence Becomes Tranquility, by Shinobu Kaze, and since it's such a wonderful example of the best work HM had to offer, I wanted to link it here:

Linked via The Bristol Board, a very nice and active collection of comic art through the years (apparently via a Morioh a few years back).

This has most everything I liked about HM in the early days, delightful art with terrific storytelling, that presented itself very well in comic form, and thought-provoking exploration of consciousness and reality.  Since most who have not seen this particular issue would not have seen this story, I thought I would promote it so others would have the chance.  Enjoy!

Saturday, August 12, 2017


Ferran Xalabarder actually emailed me again.  It's always nice when an actual creator contacts me, especially since it happens so rarely.

The fundraising effort to publish his ONIRIA:  GENESIS book had little response and poor results, but he was able to publish the book by "using more regular methods", so it's for sale at his website: 

So good for him and I hope he has better success with this.  I would certainly recommend that anyone with the interest and means to purchase this book, should do so.  I may, through "regular methods" or otherwise, and make a little review sometime.