Sunday, January 26, 2014

Heavy Metal #266

Cover by Dave Seeley - 6 - The art is pretty nice looking and well-composed, the jetbike is pretty cool even though the windshield placement and some proportion issues are annoying to a nerd like me.  The sidebar list of contents is interesting but detracts from the art's impact on the cover.

Animal'z by Enki Bilal - 7 - The art may be getting a bit more refined, and the story might be getting a bit more wordy, and I am getting more confused by the number of guys in wide-brimmed hats.  More story details about what may have happened and what might be for lunch are provided.  This may already be the kind of convoluted tale that will never get all the loose ends neatly tied up by the end, if it ever even ends.  I'm still interested to find out.

The Pugilist by Greg-Michael Follender, Rick J. Bryant, and Wilson Ramos Jr - 7 - A story that brings an ancient myth of a golem to a dystopian future with exploitation video.  Art that is mostly good and sometimes spectacular, with furious action scenes putting great expressions together with some neat digital type effects.  The story is quite horrifying, holding only the slightest hope.  This appears to be the first story in a series, with no indication of it showing up in HM again.

Gallery by Dave Seeley - 6 - While certainly miles better that I could ever do, the art is only sometimes interesting to me.  Often stiff poses over fuzzy backgrounds, there are a few points that I like, and more I don't care for.  It looks like he has more on his website but I didn't look.

Space Rats by Gonzalo Ruggieri - 4 - Not bad but not so good.

Fate by Homero Rios, Joe Sanchez, and Renato Guerra - 5 - Art and story both ambitious and underachieving, though I do like lines like "We've taken control of the Mega-Arc and destroyed its Patriarchate."

The Age by Tayyar Ozkan - 5 - At least this remake of a story he's already done is different enough to generate a bit more interest.

Artist's Studio by Alicia Hollinger - 6 - For CG pinups, there's a fair amount of personality in these.  There's some unfortunate photoshopping and some figures seem hollow, but there's much to like about her work.

Heaven's Inferno by Scott O. Brown and Ferran Xalabarder - 7 - Much of this is merely good, and some of it is quite fantastic, especially near the end.  I often enjoy Xalabarder's art and its ability to inspire imagination, and the story is able to put this ability to use once the character enters another world.  This installment appears to be in the middle of a story, but at least it says "to be continued."

Water Hat by Spyros Verykios - 8 - A very well-told story of the fate of a Conquistador, with a fine twist and some very nice looking art.  It may even be actually painted.  I think this is my favorite in the whole issue.

in the end was the word by Mauro Balloni - 6 - Short with simple art. It tries to ask what would happen if all the letters left, but doesn't come up with much of an answer.

A couple ads that weren't selling HM mags, were for a resin cast bust of the 60s TV series Batman (seriously?  someone makes this and someone might actually buy it?  Does Adam West know about this?), and a public service spot for trying to keep kids in school (nice gesture).

Overall getting and reading this issue was nice and not too difficult, and a few stories I quite liked made it enjoyable.  Advance notices about #'s 267 and 268 on make me think there will be more of the same coming, for the next couple issues anyway.

Some interesting news about Mr Eastman selling HM and staying the publisher appeared on Variety a while ago:

(comments about this on CBR are amusing: )

I get the feeling Mr Eastman got some guys to pay him to make HM into the mega-media conglomerate he always wanted.  But what do I know.

I do hope the future plans of continuing the print magazine, albeit quarterly, will hold true.  I won't hold my breath for movies or anything, so much has been said before that didn't happen  to get hopes up (Fistful of Blood movie anyone?  and what ever happened to War of the Worlds - Goliath anyway?).  I will wait to see what really happens.

Monday, January 13, 2014

You Are Not Alone

You Are Not Alone is a comic anthology from GrayHaven Comics.  GrayHaven Comics gives budding creators an avenue to publishing with its The Gathering anthologies and other comics.  You Are Not Alone was created in a response to the recent mass shootings in Colorado and Connecticut, as a way to address bullying and alienation experienced by kids.  It was presented as a Kickstarter project in 2012 to generate funds to publish copies to distribute in schools.  Advance copies were made available late last year, and it's planned to be published soon.

It's a noble and worthwhile effort.  With over 40 stories by dozens of creators, I won't try to review them all.  As a contribution based anthology, there is a wide range of style, content, and quality.  They are grouped in topics of Depression/Suicide, Homophobia, Racism, Abuse, Violence, and Bullying.  Each section is followed by a list of support resources.

The stories and art vary widely, from simplistic or incomprehensible, to rich and evocative, but it covers so much ground in topics that growing kids can relate to, and use to integrate their experiences into their growing lives, that I must recommend it.  I have high hopes that this will be a continuing effort to raise consciousness of people to the needs of young people, and indeed all people.

A couple stories I liked stand out.  Elaine's Story by Elaine Will is a deeply personal account of the author's struggles with depression, and her success.  Story from the Desert by Ronald Montgomery and illustrated by Lars Kramhoft was a frightening story of flight from abuse, with barely a happy ending.  Here's Looking at You by Ebersole/Gable was nice to see and read, with a more nuanced look at its topic than many others.  Forward was a well-crafted story spanning decades linking good deeds.

Many more stories are good, and all of them have valuable qualities.  This deserves more attention than I give it.  I hope my simple words can encourage others to seek this out and use it to help themselves and others to grow as individuals and societies.  We have come so far and have so far to go.

YANA was brought to my attention by Intone Flux, like myself a former denizen of the departed HM website message boards.  Thanks for the tip IF.