Thursday, January 20, 2022


In recent issue reviews, I've had a problem with one of the big shots taking liberties with what I call the Tagline, the "The Adult Illustrated Fantasy Magazine" that appeared on the very first issue in April 1977.  While I don't care for the big shot perspective, I realized I was being whiny about it for no good reason.  A post over at the PorPor Books blog induced me to look at the January 1996 issue, and then further, to see that the tagline has varied much more than I recalled over the years of HM's existence.  I'm not helping by acting like some know-it-all, some unassailable authority, when there's always more to learn.  So sorry about that.  Yet another reminder for me to keep some humility in my fanboyhood, as in my personhood.

Flipping through my issues, I was interested by the variety and timing of the permutations of the tagline, so I made some notes and will list a chronology of how and when it's changed over time.  As all of my blog, it's for my own amusement, but join in if you wish:

April 1977 - the first issue that certainly set the tone, had what I consider the classic "The Adult Illustrated Fantasy Magazine".  It also had a little banner in the corner saying:  "From the People Who Bring You the National Lampoon".

The next two issues, May and June 1977, had "The Adult Illustrated Fantasy Magazine From the People Who Bring You the National Lampoon" for the tagline, all together.  After these, it was the classic tagline on every regular issue for years to come, through the monthly issues and into the period of quarterly publication that started in 1986.  

Most of the early Special issues had no such tagline, but a few had something.

"The Best of Heavy Metal" from 1982 had "From the World's Premier Illustrated Magazine".

The next early specials, "Even Heavier Metal" from 1983, "Son of Heavy Metal" from 1984, "Bride of Heavy Metal" from 1985, had no tagline, but "The Best of #2" from 1986, had the classic "The Adult Illustrated Magazine".  

In the Fall 1987 issue, the tagline became "The Illustrated Fantasy Magazine", and the regular issues carried that for several years.

The 1989 "Venus Interface" had no tagline, but the 1992 "15 Years Of" issue had "The World's Foremost Illustrated Fantasy Magazine".

The November 1992 issue had "The Adult Illustrated Fantasy Magazine" again, but it immediately went back to "The Illustrated Fantasy Magazine" on January 1993.  The regular issues had this for several years.

Most of the next early specials, "War Machine" and "Software" from 1993, "Pin-Up" and "Greatest Hits", "Overdrive" and "Havoc" from 1995, had no tagline, some had phrases that were more like promotional stickers.  "One Step Beyond" from 1996 had "Original Stories from the Film".  The Fall 1996 "Special Edition" had "Featuring the Multimedia Novel Sinkha".  

The 1997 "Horror Special" had no tagline.  The Fall 1997 "20 Years Special" had "All New Material".  "The Best of Richard Corben Special" from Fall 1998 had "Richard Corben from Creepy and Eerie" which is kind of funny since Mr Corben had been a fixture at Heavy Metal from the very first issue, 20 years earlier.

The Spring 1999 "Crossroads" special carried "The Illustrated Fantasy Magazine", and while the Summer 1999 "F.A.K.K.2 Movie Special" had no tagline, the regular mag tagline began varying a little more around this time.

The July 1999 issue and the Fall 1999 "Techno" special had "The Adult Illustrated Fantasy Magazine" again.  But the September 1999 issue went with "The Mature Illustrated Fantasy Magazine".

The January 2000 issue had no tagline, but March 2000 came right back with "The Mature Illustrated Fantasy Magazine".

The Summer 2001 "Taboo Special" had "The Adult Illustrated Fantasy Magazine, July 2001 had "The Mature Illustrated Fantasy Magazine", and Fall 2001 "Mind Melt Special" had "The Adult Illustrated Fantasy Magazine".

From then on, there was a period of several years with the regular issues and 3-a-year "themed" Specials all carrying the classic "The Adult Illustrated Fantasy Magazine".  Good Times.

The Fall 2006 "Halloween Special" had "World's Foremost Adult Illustrated Magazine".

The November 2006 issue had "The Adult Illustrated Fantasy Magazine", then January 2007 had "The World's Foremost Adult Illustrated Magazine" again.

That lasted until January and March 2007 said "The World's Formost Adult Illustrated Magazine", a typo for the HM ages.  But the Spring 2007 "Chaos Special" came back with "The World's Foremost Adult Illustrated Fantasy Magazine".  This stayed the tagline for a few years.

With the March 2011 issue, the tagline read "World's Foremost Adult Illustrated Magazine" for just over a year, through to the beginning of the numbered issue era, with #259.  

But for #260, it went with "The World's Greatest Illustrated Magazine".  This was the tagline for the succeeding issues, with some exceptions (the issue #298 in 2018 said "Sci-Fi Special", and the issue #292 also in 2018, had "Psychedelic Special", the singular "Soft Wood" issue in 2019 said "America's New Comedy and Parody Magazine", and also said "From The People That Bring You Heavy Metal Magazine" in a little note under the "Issue #1".  #300 in 2020 said "All Star Special" for some reason, but none of these otherwise had a version of the tagline).

Issue #301 from 2020, had "The World's Greatest Illustrated Magazine" again, but after #303 from 2021, there has not been anything resembling a tagline for the nine issues I've gotten since.  Perhaps it's finished.  

If so, I'll miss it, but I figure it's another one of those things that change, and it's up to me to decide how I feel about it.  At this point I feel amused with myself, that I noticed and thought about it, and went through my copies for this and put it together, and learned a couple things doing it.  And I'm glad I decided to ignore more subtle variations, like typefaces and placement and wordcounts and how obscured the text can be.  That would've been nuts.

Wednesday, January 5, 2022


I've noticed that I've been at this for over 10 years.  My first post was in October 2011.  By then I had been back into Heavy Metal Magazine for a few years, my collection was just about complete, and I'd been on the HM website forum for a couple years.  When the forum was shut down when they could not control the spam onslaught, I was annoyed enough to start this little blog (I accused them of destroying the village in order to save it, a throwback to a Vietnam War statement).  

Much has happened to the mag, and to my life, in this past decade.  Well into my seventh decade, with the mag into its fifth, it's been eventful, both good and bad, for us both, and with most of my life behind me instead of ahead of me now, I've been reflective.  Despite pain and annoyance, I am aware enough to be grateful for the good fortune I do have.  Despite the overwhelming greed and stupidity displayed by humanity's worst, I still try to emphasize to myself what good there is in this world of ours, and I hope for myself and others (including the few who actually read this) that the good will overcome the worst.  Take care all.

To celebrate, I made a copy of Lostboy's HM Checklist (it's a word doc near the bottom of the page) and modified it to reflect my collection:

Hey kids!  Try it at home!

Looking at it this way, it's pretty apparent to me how they landed on #259 when they went to numbered issues in 2012.  Not that I understand why Mr Eastman decided to not count the "Special" issues, as he was responsible for most of them.  With the last few years' issues checked off on the month I actually got my copy, it's also apparent that there have been problems publishing consistently in the recent years.  It concerns me about the mag's future, especially considering my opinions about the current big shots.

Anyway, I also recently decided to include the early "Heavy Metal Presents" special books on my list, per this list on Lostboy's fan page, since I already had some, and I can work to gather the others.  They can be pretty pricey these days, so I'll take my time.  One thing is that they're not the same size as the mag, so my bags don't fit.  Good thing the copy of Conquering Armies I recently got came with a bag, since it's an enormous 10" x 13.25":