Sunday, June 16, 2024

Illustration Art

Considering my interest in illustration, from kids drawings and reading newspaper funnies years ago, to some comic books and MAD Magazine, to undergrounds then Heavy Metal Magazine, and my interest in the historical rise and fall of technologies, I think it's valuable to see this article that refers to the beginnings of illustration as we knew it:

https://illustrationart.blogspot.com/2024/06/at-starting-line-when-gun-went-off.html

(I've not seen Heavy Metal Magazine referred to over at illustrationart.blogspot.com, but I've visited via theporporbooksblog.blogspot.com/ site, and enjoyed seeing and learning more about illustration from it.)

I thought it was cool to think about how printing technology could develop to make printing illustrations cheap enough to foster an artistic flowering that benefited artists and the consumers of their art, and influencing the social landscapes as well, from around the mid-19th century.  And how digital technology has developed enough to now supersede printing on paper as the dominant media tool.  

And how Heavy Metal Magazine can be considered to have come into being near the end of print's dominance, and lived until the beginning of digital's ascendance.  

I'm interested in groundbreaking technologies, that are surpassed in the fields they birth, like film for photography, like cathode ray tubes for TV, like VHS or Beta for home video recording.  Like wired telephones.  (Like Heavy Metal Magazine for Adult Illustrated Fantasy Magazines?  Maybe not so much, I don't know of anything close.)

With this interest, and with my interest in illustration sustained by my enjoyment of Heavy Metal Magazine, I have enjoyed looking at illustrationart.blogspot.com for many bits of historical knowledge, and this post more than many.  I hope you can gain some enjoyment as well.


Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Heavy Metal Movie Music Ads

I forgot one of the amusing parts about the Heavy Metal 1981 Movie Music.  The only ad I came across in the magazine from the time, was in the September 1981 issue, with the now-iconic Chris Achilleos Taarna art used for the movie and music:

Inside the front cover is this ad for the Heavy Metal Movie Music:

Interesting for the lack of detail on the music itself, with little mention of songs and formats etc, soundtrack nor score.  

And amusing for referring to Taarna's mount as their "pet Edaphosaurid".  Not only is the edaphosaurid not a flying type dinosaur (more of a dimetrodon), as I was surmising in my review of HM #302, but this ad is the most attention given to Taarna's mount in the entire production and time since.  (I purposely ignore the ill-advised attempt to give it a name as was tried in the recent disastrous regime.  Medney and Erwin?  Yeah fuck those guys.)  And it's like they just picked a funny dinosaur name.  At least they got a lot of use out of Achilleos's artwork (hope he got paid for it).

I also came across an ad in the January 1996 issue, for the Movie Soundtrack on CD, which reinforces my idea that it was released at the same time the Movie was released on video.


Hard to believe this is coming up on 30 years ago.  How about writing in a card number on a piece of paper and mailing it in to order something?  Online shopping wasn't quite a thing in 1996.

Crap I'm old.  Such fun, finding amusement in these old magazines.


Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Heavy Metal Rumors

I learned from Lostboy over on the HM Discord, that a Bleeding Cool article is spreading rumors that Heavy Metal Magazine will live again.  And that Frank Forte will be the Editor.  Huge news if true.  Rumors can be fun too I suppose.  We could do worse than Mr Forte.  Lostboy also posted an update on his excellent site, with links including Frank Forte's blog.

Bleeding Cool had the most regular info on Heavy Metal Magazine during the End Times.  There may be something to these rumors, but I shudder to think of the challenge to re-birth Heavy Metal Magazine.  With so many burned bridges and all the vaporized money, and the shredded reputation, how could it possibly succeed?  I will wish with faint hope.  But I won't hold my breath.


Sunday, May 19, 2024

Heavy Metal Movie Music

I recently took the leap and purchased a copy of the Heavy Metal 1981 Movie LP off ebay.  It fills out my Heavy Metal Movie music collection greatly.



The LP came with the 45rpm record as well.  I've had the CD copies for years, I used to listen to them in my car.  

The Score LP by Elmer Bernstein, I came across in a resale shop last year.  I was dimly aware it existed, but it was the first time I ever saw one, so I grabbed it.  (Years earlier, I had passed up a copy of the Heavy Metal 1981 Movie on Laserdisc, since I didn't have a laserdisc player.  I later regretted it, just since it was a unique HM artifact, so it was easy to make the decision to get the Score LP.  I never had a laserdisc player, and I maybe I never will, but I have a turntable dammit (it's almost as old as the LPs) so at least I can play these).  The Score LP is nice since it really has the orchestral pieces that played during many of the movie scenes, so in a way it's more reminiscent of the movie itself than the soundtrack.

Since then I'd had my eyes open for the Soundtrack LP in resale shops, but I started to lose patience, so when saw one on the ebay for a pretty good deal, I ordered it.  The cover's a bit worn, but the discs are fine.  I don't mind if any of my Heavy Metal Things show signs of wear after the decades, I sure as heck do.  The 45 was a bonus, and I learned later on the terrific heavymetalmagazinefanpage.com that there were several 45s issued with the movie soundtrack.

There are a number of amusing quirks about these.  Both albums are cutouts, which was the bargain bin back in the day of records stores and radio stations.  The albums were notched near the corners, "cut out" it seems, to indicate they weren't full price.

The 45 has the Devo tune "Working in the Coal Mine" on the A side, and "Planet Earth" on the B side, which was not in the movie.  From www.heavymetalmagazinefanpage.com/musichm.html, it appears there were six 45rpm singles released for the movie.  This one and another have music that was not in the movie.

Unfortunately, and humorously, the Score LP misspells "Taarna" on the back, three times:


It's really too bad, some communication breakdown I suppose.  So many typos in Heavy Metal's history.

The Heavy Metal 2000 movie soundtrack CD came out with the movie.  It came in cassette too, not vinyl apparently.  This CD also came with a HyperCD, with art and interviews and other extras.  The Summer 2000 issue of the Magazine was the "CD" Special, that also came with a HyperCD with much of the same content.

The Heavy Metal 1981 Movie Soundtrack and Score came out with the movie in 1981 in vinyl.  It was also available in cassette and 8-track, released around the same time.  I believe that the 1981 Movie Soundtrack CD appeared around the same time the movie was released publicly, first in 1996 on VHS then in 1999 on DVD, and it's my understanding it took Mr Eastman wrangling the myriad music rights after the many years since the movie first came out.

My opinions of the music, are that they fit the purposes of the movies.  The soundtrack for the 1981 movie wasn't really in my favorite music categories from around then, though Devo was getting close.  The HM2000 movie soundtrack was even less of a fit for my tastes.  But in both cases they did the job.  Really I should think about writing about my opinions about both of the movies, I've got some.

But for now, I got what I wanted in my Heavy Metal Music collection.  And I finally made a post about it.  I'll leave the cassette versions and CD of the soundtracks, and the other 45s from the first movie, to stumble across in a resale shops.


Thursday, April 18, 2024

Heavy Metal Magazine youtubes

This is as good a time as any to remind everyone that there are three different youtubes for Heavy Metal Magazine (that I've come across):

 

the one with Eyebrow Tuna is the oldest out there, from 2007 when it was still www.metaltv.com:

https://www.youtube.com/@HeavyMetalMagazine/videos

Just nuts.  This was never in the magazine.  I was tickled to dig up a wayback machine scan of the metaltv.com Eyebrow Tuna web page.  It's just like I remembered (but for the lack of photos).


one from later in the Eastman era, early 2010s, just a few, with a mention of the Heavy Metal Pulp books:

https://www.youtube.com/@HeavyMetalMag/videos


the most recent one, with the most videos, from the unfortunate Medney era:

https://www.youtube.com/@HeavyMetalent/videos

 

Interesting to see the differing approaches to using the medium, over years and regimes, and to consider how the internet hit the fan 18 years after Heavy Metal Magazine hit the markets, and that Heavy Metal survived 27 years more, on and off the internet, and what a changing landscape it was over those times.  Heavy Metal's web presence likewise evolved over the times, from the early days of www.metaltv.com (seen on the spines of some issues) to "The Hottest Channel on the Internet", to the more recent attempts at podcasts and virtual (virtually worthless) art, to its current cadaverous state.  To see the end of Heavy Metal, after so many decades, as my end looms nearer and nearer in the distance, is at once sobering and exhilarating.  What fun.


Thursday, April 4, 2024

Some Heavy Metal Internet Things

A few HM-related Internet Things from recent months.

I mentioned that Lostboy's heavymetalmagazinefanpage.com was updated recently.  I think this is a Big Deal for Heavy Metal Magazine fans, especially those who, like me, enjoy looking through the information about the magazine and its contents to understand some of the connections over the mag's long history.  I've searched through the Magazine List for info for posts and just learning many many times.  I'm encouraged by the implication Lostboy is getting more active with HM and may continue updating the site, which would be awesome.

I recently signed up for the Heavy Metal Discord.  It still exists since The End, and it's apparently just mostly fans and hangers-on like myself.  Kinda quiet, but I'm trying it out.  It seems similar to how the old internet forums used to work, with people writing things and others responding.  I see things, learn things, speak up a bit.  Indeed, I learned that some people (like Lostboy) have ordered items from the HM website, and received some of them!  For some it seems an acceptable risk to get some of the issues that they somehow still have available.  I still don't recommend ordering from HM, but it's interesting to hear that it's operating on some level.

The Heavy Metal web presence still lurches on, frozen in its deathly grimace (the horrid motion comic on the main page, and the We Are Back on the shop page, are more than ironic), social media still ending with Mr Lees' vomitous discharge from over a year ago.  Will any Heavy Metal miracles happen, or will the plugs be pulled when no one touches them over years?  A sad end.

Perhaps worse, I was dismayed to see Philippe Druillet releasing eNn-eFf-Tees of some art on the new druillet-digital page.  I was hoping for something more ... substantial ... than costly vaporware.  Who could possibly have thought that was a good idea?

More happily, the excellent Hydrogenesis by Caza from Heavy Metal Magazine February 1979 was featured on the SciFiArt tumblr page.  Great site for cool images, with Heavy Metal seen frequently.  Certainly this mid-70s work of Caza is worth a mention as one of the finest examples of great stuff in the mag's early years. 

Here?  I'm especially slow making posts these days, for all the ideas I've got.  More updates to the blog are overdue, but they are mere thoughts at this point.  No matter.  No hurry.  I've got some time left of my brief existence, and only myself to amuse.  Traffic is up, though 70-80% of it is from that bot from "Singapore" (sometimes "Hong Kong").  They seem to like that Bits post.  Still, a few more humans seem to come along these days.

More to come, until then, thanks


Sunday, March 10, 2024

heavymetalmagazinefanpage.com updated!

I was very happy to see that heavymetalmagazinefanpage.com was recently updated.  It's been several years.  It's not very different, but Lostboy updated the Magazine List somewhat, and produced an updated copy of the checklist (in Downloads).  There's also updates to the History page, and I thought the updates were concise and informative.  I was flattered that this tiny blog was mentioned.

I've often credited Lostboy with helping me back into my Heavy Metal Magazine fanboyhood, and I'll continue to do that.  Back around 2005, heavymetalmagazinefanpage.com was The Best independent HM resource out on the still rather new internet, and I still feel that way, even more now that the mag's come to its ignominious end.  I'm very grateful for finding Lostboy's fan page and for the effort put into it, and how it's been there all this time.  Thanks for keeping it up.

fred


Monday, January 29, 2024

Peter Kleinman

Peter Kleinman came up with the now-iconic Heavy Metal logo, back at the beginning, while he was employed by National Lampoon. The very first issue, Number 1, April 1977:

(Image lifted from heavymetalmagazinefanpage.com, cuz it's The Best)

(Also from heavymetalmagazinefanpage.com, more detail on Mr Kleinman and his time with Heavy Metal Magazine)

During the last few years, Mr Kleinman had been credited on the masthead for the logo, and I thought was nice to have his name in the credits again, mostly absent since the magazine's earliest years.  He was even credited with Logo Enhancement in issue #320 and issue #318, which made me wonder if he was actually involved in those end days.

I was curious about Mr Kleinman, and a bit of internet searching was rewarding.  First I came across an interesting blog entry by Todd Klein, another famous comics guy I wasn't familiar with, discussing and speculating about the Heavy Metal logo.  The blog entry contains a reminiscence from his friend John Workman, also Heavy Metal Magazine's Art Director in early years (1978-1984), which was fun.  

Even more fun on this blog entry, was a reply in the comments by Mr Kleinman himself, six years later.  I'll take the liberty to copy/paste the text of his reply below:

Peter Kleinman here. yes I designed the Heavy Metal logo. The story above is close to the truth. I don’t remember Len grabbing it off my drafting table. I was assigned to be the creative director of the new Heavy Metal magazine while also doing my fulltime job as Creative Director of the National Lampoon. I set the type in the heaviest font I could find. ….. Coated the back of The repro with 1 coat rubber cement, sliced the characters apart with my trusty exacto, and fashioned a pretty cool little visual pun. Then I traced over the design and comped it up to see how it would work over various illustrations, and how it would look with cover lines, dates, UPC codes, etc. I presented the pencil sketch, which I still have, to the editorial board and the publishers. They loved it. ……. to date I have yet to receive one penny in royalties though it has been used on countless covers, tee shirts, web pages, posters, movies, etc. It is one of the most recognizable icons of the fantasy universe….. And it took me about ten minutes to create. I also designed the Animal House logo and the ad campaign, for which I was paid 350$ for by Universal Studios……. ahhhhhh, the good old days. its been 40 years since i was hired by Doug Kenney and Michael Gross to take on the best job in the world with the smartest, funniest, most incredible people ever assembled. I’m still at it and I love going to work every day. Creating great communication is still the same challenge…. except for the fact that its all electronic and we get more done with less. I wouldnt change a thing, wouldn’t do one thing differently….. All is as it was meant to be…… And as they say, now, you know the rest of the story. – Thanks to all – Peter

I thought it was really cool for Peter Kleinman to comment on someone's blog like that, with some first-hand narrative about how the logo for my favorite magazine came about.  And that I found it almost 10 years later, still out there on the internet.

Even cooler, Mr Kleinman has a website, which even has a page for Heavy Metal.  And a few other things like National Lampoon covers (I recall the Fat Elvis cover, and there's even the March 1977 cover announcing a sampler of the "forthcoming illustrated fantasy magazine, Heavy Metal") and some other cartoons.  

But the coolest yet, is when I whimsically wrote in on the contact form, to say I was a HM fan and thanks for the cool logo.  And he actually wrote back!  We sent a few emails back and forth.  He was happy enough with how I built the PHFMEH from the Summer 1987 issue, that he sent me an image of a connect-the-dots Picasso he did for Esquire magazine in 1974:


Wow.  I accepted the challenge so enthusiastically, that I actually procured a copy of the July 1974 Esquire magazine, to get the intended resolution, greatly improving my chances of completing my quest:


 


Someday, I may actually do it.  And if so, it will show up here.

After the holidays, I reached out to Mr Kleinman, to perhaps continue our conversation, but no word.  Oh well, I enjoyed a friendly interaction with someone from Heavy Metal Magazine's very beginning.  It was a rare treat, so thanks.  He certainly owes me nothing more.

Well, that was fun, and I'll look forward to more fun working on the connect-the-dot puzzle, and posting it when I get there.  I've got a few more bits of things to write about too, so see ya next time.


Monday, January 15, 2024

DON'T BUY FROM THE HEAVY METAL ROBOT KIDS!

DON'T BUY FROM THE HEAVY METAL ROBOT KIDS!  The Robot is lying to you!

Almost a year after Heavy Metal Magazine collapsed, the HM websites are still up, though with no activity or updates of any kind I can see.

However, it turns out that the HM shop site is still "operating", zombie-like, enough to make people think they are still selling and shipping merchandise.  They are not.  Heavy Metal Magazine is dead.  I actually tried to place an order, and got to a credit card entry page.  No, I did not complete the order, I didn't want to join the unfortunates who got screwed by HM, ordering and paying for items that never shipped, which was a widespread problem well before the Heavy Metal ship sank.

It's appalling.  I even got a "you left items in your cart" email from the robot.  It's disgusting and funny that the email indicated a physical address, which appears to be in Long Island NY, and seems to be an auto repair shop.  It's another sad commentary on the clowns and jokers that ran Heavy Metal to its demise.  Medney and Erwin?  Yeah, fuck those guys.

I suppose eventually the site will die, if no one pays to keep it up.  Just as well, considering the mag's ignominious end.  But until then,

DON'T BUY FROM THE HEAVY METAL ROBOT KIDS!

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Tripwire 30

I went and ordered a copy of the Tripwire 30th Anniversary book, since it was published by Heavy Metal, and I found it for $12 on ebay (vs the $40 original price, which it's still being sold for) including shipping.  HM advertised it in the mag right up to the final issue #320.


I'm not familiar with Tripwire, apparently it's a long-standing comic magazine from UK, and I'm not a comic book guy, but I decided to get it to see if there was anything about why Heavy Metal published it.  No one reason was indicated, and besides a couple words in the Editor's introduction and the publishing notes, there's a several page article about Heavy Metal Magazine at 45, which is about the most HM made of a 45th anniversary.


(I'm stumped by the last image, apparently a woman's portrait.  I know I've seen it, I thought it was in a gallery in a mag issue.  I recall thinking it was very different in style from the rest of the images.  I couldn't find it.  I paged through the last fifty issues, twice, and tried some internet searching.  I didn't see it.  If anyone has a clue I'd love to hear it.)

The article is unfortunate.  The handful of images are nice enough, mostly covers.  The text starts with some good early history, including more detail with names about how National Lampoon brought in stuff from Metal Hurlant to start Heavy Metal Magazine.  But then there's a very brief description of ownership transitions, so brief as to be misleading.  Some talk about their big plans.  There are a few paragraphs about the 1981 Heavy Metal movie, and the Magazine's influence on some creators.  It ends with a dumb quote from Mr Coriale, including an amusingly censored "- Buckle the f--k up, Heavy Metal has arrived."

Reading this article, and considering the recent past as I flipped through pages looking for that portrait, made me think of how much has happened with my favorite mag over the years, and how poorly this article reflects what happened.

The best I can figure, this was an opportunity for Tripwire to get their book published, and an opportunity for Heavy Metal to promote their future plans.  We all know how that turned out.  Heavy Metal Magazine didn't last a year after this came out.  (Medney and Erwin?  Yeah, fuck those guys.)

The rest of the book is outside my range.  There are a couple familiar names, Moebius, Corben, some Morrison and Bisley, but lots of superheroes on which I am clueless.  More power to them to enjoy their long history.

The worst part of it, is the egregious HM logo treatment, on the spine and the barcode on the back:



Never have I seen anyone try to separate the Heavy from the Metal with the HM logo, and for good reason I think.  It detracts terribly from the logo's visual impact, and it's an unfortunate commentary on the magazine falling apart immediately following this publication.  I'd bet Peter Kleinman had nothing to do with this.

So I'm glad enough I got this, for its small bits of Heavy Metal-ness, how it fills in some gaps, and adds gaps of its own, to Heavy Metal Magazine's history, and that I could share it like this.