Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Man, it took forever to get this issue. The local bookstore never got it. I never found it in a mainstream bookstore. I went to a comic store I’d never been to for it. They only had one of the covers. Fortunately, it was the Tariq Raheem, which is the one I’d decided to get, if I didn’t get the original Nicollet. Then, it took me forever to write this.
The four covers idea might have been a good one, but I didn’t like the result. The new ones didn’t approach the energy of the original, and reprinting the original seemed to lessen the impact that is its legacy.
The original cover set the tone for what HM meant to me. “wow, it’s two robots, fighting … man, that’s one’s beatin’ the crap out of the other one … and it’s a girl! whoa.” (C’mon, I was a teenager.) It promised wild action-packed fantasy and in the early days the mag kept that promise. Using this cover reprint for a 35th anniversary cover version, while using it as a template (sort of) for the other versions, hinted at not having many new ideas to choose from.
I suppose printing the original cover gives more people the opportunity to have this one in print.
The other three new covers disappointed me. The Sperlonga, the outfits, the posing, the composition, none of it worked for me. He’s a really good artist, but I don’t care for this. The Stanley at least was slick, and the obvious stiff posing and gazing at the viewer gave me some intrigue as well as boredom. The Raheem shows the most imagination and mystery of the bunch, she might be getting put back together instead of taken apart, and is the robot head going on or off? The giant monkeywrench and falling sparks were just goofy.
Moving on, the content has much to recommend it. Excellent use of the early editorial.
Burton and Cyb, and Sataka, were unique as these were not reprints, though some of the Sataka looked familiar (interesting that Sataka appeared first in the mag in the late 00s though these are from the mid 80s ( some of these pages are even on http://www.royo-royo.com/luis-royo/bio/ ). I like them, though they are dated. 7s for them both.
H – 8, just cause it’s nuts. I like a good descent to madness.
Daymares/Nightdreams – 8 - because it’s old and tells a story I like.
Fragments – 7 – A strong story about fear of the unknown, from the early days, and it looks nice. Things may not be what they seem.
Little Ego – 7 – yeah, well, good thing for that Green Sheik anyway…. These were always nice to see if not at all deep.
Willy’s Garage – 7 – nice looking and some drama. And that was that…
The Last Century – 7 – nothing surprising but still compelling. A very different future view than the later Children of the Future.
Sax Blues – 8 – A classic, not because of the fantasy (tho this would be a fantasy for my life) but for the telling. Of course now he’d be checking his farcebook page instead of looking at a paper letter…
Pilatoriam – 7 – Ooops, that rebellion against society didn’t work out too well for you. Better luck next life.
Children of the Future – 8 – Love this story, with some nice characterizations, and a real range of emotion, and a quick telling of a good story. I’m sure I reviewed it once (but didn’t find it) and said something about a mixture of tenderness and disgust that you don’t see often, unless it’s Serpieri.
Dear Enemy – 7 – There’s a lot to like about this, all the futuristic gizmos and wearable technology, pretty cool for ’88. There’s a nice story too, if you look for it, it took me a few times through. I didn’t recognize this as a Frezzato right away either.
The Warrior’s Repose – 7 – An interesting story, all the trouble he goes through to cheat on his wife, cunning and cruel, even evil. There are some inconsistencies but the storytelling and the art are busy enough to keep my interest.
A smattering of ads and a few old cover reprints fill in some space. The Snail Factory ad was intriguing enough for me to look it up, but a quick view didn’t show me much. While I’ve liked how the mag has looked for the past months, clean and concise, there’s some uncertainty of what the future holds for the print magazine. I remain hopeful for its continued existence.