Saturday, December 22, 2018

John Findley's Tex Arcana

John Findley's Tex Arcana has not indicated an update for over three years.  I thought to email to the link a few days ago, to ask about it.  I'd done it before.  The email generates an auto-reply, advising that there's a registration process to allow the message to get past spam blockage.  I've been actually lucky enough to get a response a few times over the years, and he was quite gracious about it (actually corresponding with actual HM creators is an actual thrill for me), but the last time was over three years ago.

While I wait, I thought to look on the internet, and was disappointed to learn that the Tex Arcana comic was no longer available on the site, but for one short story, and it's been like that for almost 2 years!  I felt really bad, not really checking for so long that the great story I've been pointing to wasn't there anymore.  The Book looks like it's still available, which is good, and I recommend to anyone reading this you should go buy it.  I did earlier and I'm glad I did.

So I certainly hope things are going well for Mr Findley, and that this might just mean he wants to encourage people to buy his book (do it) or something else constructive.  In any case I remain grateful for what he did and what he shared freely, and for the kindness he showed me in previous correspondence, and I wish only the best of what his life has to offer for him.

But I remembered double checking on a link on an earlier post before, and it worked.  And it does.  For some reason, the work on the fourth as-yet-unpublished book, is still out there.  Starting here, after the end of the still-up story, are over eighty pages of some really cool expansion of the Tex Arcana saga.  If you're still reading this, you should go take a look at it, while it's still there.  As we see, nothing lasts forever.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

some history

an article by R. M. Rhodes, who does the HM page-a-day tumblr, about the Eastman era.

I read it before, and I should have posted it then, but HM fbook linked to it, so I get another chance.  It has interesting perspectives, some of which I share, but it's informative to anyone who wants to know more about why Heavy Metal Magazine still exists.

Thanks for sharing

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Heavy Metal Documentary

Just announced on Variety via a post on HM Fbook, a Heavy Metal Magazine documentary is planned.  It may be interesting, and I'll look forward to hearing more.  But the article erroneously says HM led to the phrase Heavy Metal being used for Metal music.  And it mentions the 1981 movie, and the abortive effort for another movie in 2008, but ignores the Heavy Metal 2000 F.A.K.K. 2 movie. 

I kind of understand why no one wants to remember the second Heavy Metal movie, it was plenty bad.  But it had its moments, and Mr Eastman did manage to actually produce it.  I hope the documentary does happen, and they give Mr Eastman his due for keeping the mag alive, and making it his own for so many years, including the story of the 2nd HM movie. 

Honestly my favorite part of HM2000 was having Billy Idol in a lead voice role, because of this from Dossier in the mag in December 1982:

Which is something I've wanted an excuse to post for a while.  The recent meme joke on the HM Fbook recently almost did it, but my bringing up the HM2000 movie here gave me my opening.  I've thought it was funny that Mr Idol was in the HM2000 movie, remembering this snarky takedown, and how much I agreed with the sentiment at the time.  With his sneery poser-punk act all over the MTV cable-waves taunting me, I spent a whole year actively changing the station or shutting off the radio whenever he came on.  Now, as I approach senior-hood, I am much less offended than amused, I probably wouldn't want to punch his face anymore, and I understand Mr Idol is an ok guy with a sense of humor about it all.

So best of luck with the documentary guys.  I hope it actually gets done and it doesn't suck.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Outland by Jim Steranko

A very nice article about Jim Steranko's Outland, from Heavy Metal Magazine in '81 and '82, Inventing Sci-Fi Noir, is featured on We Are the Mutants.  I liked the direct HM reference, and I enjoyed the informative background of the context of the times, and how Mr Steranko took the gig. 

I'll note that the presentation by Mr Steranko of this adaptation as mostly double-page splashes, as the article notes, would be next to impossible these days, since the mag has been edge-glued ("perfect" binding) for years, rather than stapled ("saddle stitched") as it was in its first years.  My opinion is that the ability to really use double-page presentation, was one of the strengths of Heavy Metal Magazine's first era.  That and the monthly publication, and the large amount of work that made it able to present.

I also liked the rather bold choice of the article, to include an image from the story from the mag, which anticipates and depicts not only future widescreen tv but also widespread pornography.  Such transgressive content surely excited very young adult me, and this image of the future was also anticipated by a similar scene in the October 1980 "Special Rock Issue", in "Rock City" by Moebius.  Seeing these images then, and knowing that they now reflect our amazing sci-fi reality, is another example of how I'm actually living in the future.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Heavy Metal # 291

Heavy Metal #291, the Fetish Special.  I got the Cover A at a bookstore.

Image may contain: 2 people, people on stage and text

The Cover A art is a photograph "Pray for Me" by Nikki Sixx.  On the HM I-Gram, they say this is only the 4th photo cover, and asks if we can name the other 3.  One commentor said February 1986, with Darryl Hannah.

(it says Winter 1986, but whatever)

This was the first issue after HM stopped monthly publication.  Conveniently, the previous issue, December 1985, was the last monthly (and was also the first review I posted here on this blog, from something I wrote for Lostboy's Heavy Metal Magazine Fan Page forum, so many years ago.  Thanks again Lostboy for sending it back to me, and for the images I lifted from your site, which is where people can go to get a closer look at them), and appeared to be also a photograph, of some cut paper sculpture art.

There was also December 1981, with the lovely Debbie Harry in an H. R. Giger bodysuit.  One of the Great covers.

And then there was January 1979, with a photo of some fantasy rockinghorse sculpture.

You could consider October 1979, with a photographic image of H. P. Lovecraft inserted into the cover art (before photoshop of course) of a photograph.

So if you wanted to, you could argue Nikki Sixx's cover photo was the 6th HM cover with a photo (unless there are more I missed...).

So that was a fun digression, back to #291.  I'll give Mr Sixx's cover a 6, just because. 

It's not surprising that a Fetish issue would contain sex.  And I'm ok with that. 

The contents page illustration by Gabriele Pennacchioli is restrained but not subtle, and nice looking.  This artist has a Gallery entry later in this issue.

Mr Morrison seems to have fun phrasing his editorial as #291 as the target of a "seduction" by a wealthy perv.  It's more funny than disturbing, and one of the jokes is rather "clunky".

"Dark Dancefloor" by Hector Lima and Abel, and Pablo Casado and Bruna Dantas - 7 - A woman gets unjustly fired by her conniving boss from her marketing job and goes to the club to dance her anger away.  There she is confronted by a demon in disguise.  Warding him off with sorcery, her night ends with her job back and the conniver neutralized.  It reads better than I describe it.  The art is straightforward and supports the story well.

"The Door" Chapter 3 by Esau Escorza and Michael Moreci - 7 - The story takes another lap of a seemingly endless circle, spiraling through fantastic realities with our unlucky young protagonist.  The art is lovely to look at, with beauty inside and out, the pervy smell seems to be dissipating, and the story has some good things to say about truth and morality.  I wonder if it will ever wander from its circular track.

"Murky World" by Richard Corben - 7.5 - Having Corben back in HM is still a thrill.  This story is intriguing and perplexing, richly descriptive but I'm not always sure what it's describing.  The obtuse storytelling and dynamic artistic renderings add mystery to the already convoluted tale.  Our simpleminded protagonist Tugat, chained and dragged to the city, goes from being a slave for sale to being fodder for death in the arena.  What's next will surely be a surprise.

"Space Fuzz" by Ed Luce - 7 - From the same creator who brought us "Space Jizz" in HM #281 (review), a space explorer has a close encounter of the intimate kind.  This one is a bit more sophisticated than the previous, but still a sex joke.  But it's a joke I like, so I would be happy to see more of this character, hopefully more frequently than twice in a couple years.

"The Clairvoyant" by Leonie O'Moore - 5 - A woman goes to a vacation resort in space.  The activities are unexciting, but she's taken in by the fantasy world of passion provided in the "dream pods".  She leaves frustrated when her pod time runs out.  On the flight back, another passenger shows clues from her dream fantasy, but the story ends.  While the art is on the simplistic side, the story works so hard to show rather than tell that it left me wanting to know more.

Gallery with Johanna Stickland - 7 - An handful of stylized sexualized paint work.  An interview by the ever-present Rantz Hoseley.  I found it evocative.  The artist has more paintings and photos on the website which links to an IGram and Tmblr, but oddly doesn't appear to link to the sales site at (though the Tmblr does...).

"Her Collection" by Coey Kuhn - 7 - A girls' night in, if you will...  Three women are able to conjur a demon sex partner from a stuffed animal toy.  I was impressed by the nearly explicit depictions, and the pointed display of what could be called body-positivity.  Yep, I'm ok with that.

"A Life Without Ennui..." by Rodrigo Lucio, Carlos Dearmas, Omar Estévez - 6 - What appears to be an aimless wealthy woman, contemplates her humanity, and boredom, as the outside world crumbles, with her butler and her harem of mindless servant androids.  Moderately philosophical, and even less sexy, with a slightly ironic joke at the end.  It actually captures feelings of boredom pretty well.

"Dotty's Inferno:  Vegas" by Bob Fingerman - 7 - Delightful Dotty's dreary day in Hell, where we learn her name is Dot Dasche, and the story of her demise, and where her living life intersects with her death life. I enjoy these, with various characters with various states of nudity and humanity, and clever storytelling.  I'll be happy to see more, I hope.

Gallery with Gabriele Pennacchioli - 7 - Again with Mr Hosely doing the interview, which describes the artist's background in animation, which shows in the art here if you ask me.  But what it may lack in intricacy, it exceeds in expression.  While it's not a huge range, different body types, and boob types, are seen, and it's intentional if you ask me.  And the surroundings of the central figures can be simple or worth a second look, but they're certainly complementary.

"The Color of Air" Part 8 by Enki Bilal - 8 - Characters stir from their stupor.  The garbage zeppelin approaches the floating city.  The airwhales arrive.  A familiar feeling of a story coalescing to an unknowable end.  An end I anticipate and fear.  Love it.

"Nihilophilia" by Grant Morrison and Tula Lotay - 6 - An immortal has tried and has tired of all life and lust has to offer.  Beautiful imagery and obtuse storytelling.  You'd think this would remind me of early classic Heavy Metal.  Instead I only find bits of cleverness.  My loss I suppose.

An ad for the Taarna #3 comic book.  Maybe if I actually went to a comic shop I might see one of these.

"Awake Walker" by Hector Lima, Rodrigo Urbano, Camila Torrano, Pablo Casado, Alberto Calvo - 6.5 - A near-future tale of emotional infidelity.  Interesting ideas of visophone viruses and virtual reality self-hypnotism.  Some more bits of cleverness, but I had a hard time putting a cohesive story together, unfortunately not in the thought-provoking mysterious way I like.

"Need" by Rantz Hoseley & Menton3 - 6.5 - Existential anguish in suburbia.  The art presents the contrasts nicely.  Reads like a guy's fantasy of a woman's fantasy, but the pain of feeling trapped in your life despite comfort and ease, can really mess you up.

An ad for the Heavy Metal coffee from Dark Matter Coffee again.  They haven't had this available for many months, even before this issue came out.  And I never got one.

Gallery with Ulorin Vex - 7 - Of course with an interview by Mr Hoseley.  Not the usual pinup fare.  This may have less technical sophistication than other Gallery entries, but I saw some compelling and intriguing imagery.  One was a particularly sharp line drawing, notably including skin folds and stretch marks.  I can admire that kind of radical approach to a sexist art style.

"Frills and Folds" by Jennie Gyllblad - 7 - With a subtitle "Jenitales" in a script that could have the "J" a "G" so it could be a moderately successful pun.  A young woman enjoys a fantasy in pearly and frilly finery.  But then she realizes she's in a checkout lane.  A rather silly story, colorfully depicted, with more explicit digital penetration than I think I've ever seen in the mag.  I'm ok with that.

Gallery with COOP! - 6 - Mr Hoseley's interview is brief but informative.  To me it's notable that HM gets artists for these galleries with a wide range of experience, from formal art school education to picking up crayons as a child to experience in other art forms, in any combination.  Results may vary.  Here, COOP shows an affection for a 50s-ish retro Devil Girl styling, with the naughty dialed up to raunchy.  Perhaps I don't share the same affection, but it can be fun.

"A Tribute to Harlan Ellison" by Patton Oswalt, Peter David, Kevin J Anderson, Mark Waid, Colleen Doran, & Bill Sienkiewicz - 7.5 - Starting with "From A to Z in the Harlan Ellison Alphabet" by Patton Oswalt, and with illustrations by Mr Sienkiewicz.  An interesting approach to a tribute piece in HM.  The alphabet list of factoids isn't a new way to do it, but it's effective.  Followed by some testimonials of how Mr Ellison affected the contributors' lives, likewise not a unique method.  I did learn some things, but that's not hard since I didn't know so much to start with.  But I'm a bit curious about why this Tribute is in HM.  But for Mr Sienkiewicz I'm not sure that the contributors have been in HM before.  Harlan Ellison has, seven times in the mag's first five years that I could see (notably for one of my favorite stories, Shattered Like a Glass Goblin in October 1978, reviewed here).  And Patton Oswalt is in Mr Morrison's TV show Happy! so there's some connection there.  It's a nice piece so I won't complain too much.

An ad with the four covers for this issue follows, which is nice.  The inside back cover has an ad for the Iron Maiden Legacy of the Beast game, that's getting a lot of promotion, and the back cover is another ad for The Heroin Diaries 10th Anniversary Edition, likewise thoroughly promoted.  There's a lot good going on with the mag now, and I hope that keeps up.  But there are some reasons for concern, like how this is only the third issue this year.  Maybe a 4th will appear before the end of the year, but it's good I don't have a subscription, since I'd be pretty annoyed if I did.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Kranburn's back

It took me a while to find out, since I'm bad at the internet, but Ben Michael Byrne has rejuvenated Kranburn:

Terrific news for those of us who were saddened by its disappearance years ago.

Thanks to Mr Bryne from me, and all the others who really liked this, for making this available again.

I haven't seen anything about new work, but I'll hope the alarmingly prolific Mr Byrne will find the time to do the work, and that somehow Brand survives the leap off the burning building at the end of #10.  There was so much going on in this story that could be explored, and I hope we get to see some of it. 

I also hope he finds a way to sell those reprints, and with luck some new ones, in a way that I can find and get sent halfway across this modern world.  When you find out how, go buy his stuff.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

The Heart

The Heart is a story by Attila Kiss, and Marie Philippova, and Greg Woronchak (with "German Assistance" by The4thPip), published by Scattered Comics in Movie Massacre #2.  Link:


As I've mentioned, I knew Attila Kiss as Intone Flux from the old HM website forum, and I have reviewed his Blues Ratz #1, Blues Ratz #2, and Blue Ratz #3 previously.

I saved The Heart for a review until now.  Not only because it takes me forever to do anything, but also because it was the one that felt more like a Heavy Metal magazine story, with compelling, sometimes gruesome art, and a dark and murky fantastical story, more on the adult side of the comic spectrum.

The Heart is a story of two stories, one of medieval-times bandits and one of twentieth century nazi occultism.  They are tied together loosely by the narrative, and they also use two different artists, so there is contrast as well as continuity.  A cave serves as hideout for murderous highwaymen in the first part, and later as the site of Moloch-worshipping ritual sacrifice, which (spoiler) is undone by the frail strength of its victims' humanity.

Greg Woronchak, who also did the art for Blues Ratz, shows a different style for the first portion of The Heart, and it suits the story well, straightforward but dynamic.  The "vignette" page layout (I think that's the right word) frames the images and adds to the storytelling.  Marie Philippova did colors for this first part, and also does the second part, in a different but complementary style, likewise engaging and enhancing the storytelling, showing the terrible attraction of arcane ritual in the service of evil.  The art is the most enjoyable part of this work to me.

Followed closely by the story.  Attila Kiss' style comes through, rich and descriptive, sometimes florid, sometimes clever, keeping the reader on their toes by making them work to keep up.  The leap between the parts is broad, with little apparent to connect them, but enough to make this a whole story.  The story of evil across generations and a brief triumph of compassion, finds disparate points in humans' broad capacity for experience.

If you're like me, with a fondness for exploration of humanity's extremes, with exciting and stomach-turning (and sexy! even) graphic art depictions, The Heart is for you.  Go do yourself and Attila Kiss and his cronies a favor and check this out.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Nash the Slash

Nash the Slash was a musician in the late 70s & 80s, who played electronically enhanced violin or mandolin or maybe something else, with lots of effects and synthy things, solo or with others.  He played wrapped with bandages and in dark shades.

He passed away a few years ago.  But his music lives on:

I first learned of Nash the Slash, in Heavy Metal Magazine.  In the February 1980 issue, which had what is certainly one of the coolest HM magazine covers of all time:

Just a few years into its existence, the mag was trying to elbow its way into a place in the popular culture, and was just starting to put out a group of articles about music and movies and books and art etc.  It wasn't Dossier yet, that was about a year later, but Ted White started his time as editor in January and the articles are something he brought on.  Lou Stathis and Jay Kinney and Bhob Stewart are some of the names that would become familiar to readers in the coming issues.

Ted White wrote this about Nash the Slash:

It caught my eye, enough so that about a year later, I saw this in the record store (where one had to go to buy music back in those days):

It must have meant something to me to spend $2.75 on a single, at a time I'd spend just a few bucks on a record from the cutout box, and even HM magazine was $2 (it went from the original $1.50 cover price just by then).  I kept it all this time, I've even played it a couple times within the past decade.  I liked it a lot, the funny and rippin' cover of Dead Man's Curve, and the driving noises of Reactor No. 2.  I got a bit of influence on my musical tastes from the music reviews in HM, but Nash the Slash was the one time I actually bought some music directly because of reading about it in the mag.  It was cool and obscure, but I didn't seek out any more, and I didn't hear anything else about Nash the Slash after then.

But more recently, I came across a slew of Nash the Slash CDs in a resale shop.  I gleefully snapped them up:

It was a lot of fun finding one, then the others, on that bottom shelf.  There's lots of cool stuff on them.  "Children" has Dead Man's Curve and Reactor No. 2 on it, yay I can play it in my car.  There's a soundtrack for Nosferatu, the silent horror movie, and I enjoyed that.  I liked a lot of the other stuff, some more than others of course.  I'm good with metallic fuzzy noises and Mr Slash showed some ability and creativity in this pile of work.  There a few tracks that are replayed at different speeds for different effect, kinda neat.  I won't play music critic, but it's been great to find some tunes that are right up my alley, as well as great to chance upon this from a Heavy Metal Personal History perspective.

So I really enjoyed finding these CDs, and finding the article in my old mag, and putting together this post.  So much fun.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018


So, being about a bazillion years old, of course I'm bad at the internet.  I got to do computer work in school in the mid and late 70s (meaning carrying around paper rolls and cards with holes punched in them, and printouts of results), played Amiga video games in the 80s (DeathSword!) and had home computers from the late 90s (dial up internet anyone?), and have been doing this blog for almost 10 years.  But none of that ever helps me keep up with where the cool kids hang out.

Actually getting up off my lazy butt and looking, helped me find that Heavy Metal still has an active internet prescence, on Igram, and is also more active on Tmblr.  That's a bit more encouraging than the dormant state of the HM website and the relatively low activity at their Fbook or Twiddler.  By the way, the youtube linked on the HM website exists, though nothing new has been added since the Eastman era, but the older one with the Eyebrow Tuna videos is still up too (that I noted here).  I bet there's other stuff out there I don't know about.

All this takes me back to the early days of Heavy Metal on the internet, and the forum that led to my little blog, full of Eastman promises and early troll dumbfuckery, as well as adding depth and breadth to my HM worldviews.

So it's nice to know someone is still trying to keep HM on the internet, and I hope they get some help soon.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Blues Ratz #3

Blues Ratz #3 written by Attila Kiss and with art by Greg Woronchak, and the cover coloring credited to Matheus Bronca, is the ending installment of the story of the Gekimo brothers, and their struggles with the Blues.  I previously reviewed the preceding stories, Blues Ratz #1 and Blues Ratz #2.

#2 ended with the brothers and their cousin pledging war against the mob.  #3 starts with Bob the elder waking from the dream of his life, alone aboard a landed plane, which he promptly falls out of.  His brothers and cousin meanwhile, proceed with their plans, first in a flashback with their partners in the botched drug deal, where the cousin uses his Canadian-ness to win a bet.  Then the other brothers execute the other parts of the plan, taking on mob bosses in London and Italy, almost single-handedly I might add.  Then follows Bob's wedding to the madam, and they could all live happily ever after, but instead they get back to their band, rocketing to the charts and playing Wembley, with help from their cousin, who brings in relatives from the old country to bring scandal and publicity.  Finally the cousin is shipped back to Canada, less than willingly, for a humorous conclusion.

Like #s 1 and 2, Blues Ratz #3 is quite fanciful, taking leaps in logic and storytelling, flying through without stopping to catch your breath, dropping clever bits here and there.  The art continues to hold up its end of the bargain, even picking up the pace with action and some rather gruesome scenes during the mob battles.  If I had to choose, I might say I enjoyed #2 the most, as far as its cohesiveness seemed a bit stronger, but they are all comparable and work well to tell their tales in a similar manner, making up a story with plenty to offer and lots of fun in the telling.

Again, while I would not have sought this out on my own, thanks to Attila Kiss for bringing these to me and for the opportunity to look at something new and click out some words about it.  Best of luck to Attila Kiss and Greg Woronchak on success with this and their future endeavours.  Soon I'll review The Heart by Mr Kiss and others, something that was a bit closer to my HM interests, and at least as fun as reading about The Blues Ratz.  Be sure to look these up and by all means spend a few bucks on them to support independent comics.

Here's Attila Kiss's store:

And here's Scattered Comics':