Sunday, October 26, 2014

Heavy Metal #270

Figured I'd better get the review in before the next one comes out, scheduled for next week but I probably won't see it until mid-November.  Here goes...

Cover by Pascal Blanche - 7.5 - A more imaginative take on the chick-in-some-getup.  The woman's form, and the coloring and lighting, do evoke a Corben feeling.  It's quite lovely.  The getup is so ridiculous it's amusing, the cross-head screws are just goofy, and the weapon is silly, the sight looks setup for a left hand shooter, but that's not how she's wearing it.  There's a slight interference in the model, the sight on the belly, but mostly it's very well done.  There's detail in the paper cover, the screws and the giant nips for instance, that I just didn't see on the screen in preview images.

An ad for TMNT Minimates?  Ugh.  I wonder how long they'll let him get away with pimping the kid stuff.

The new owners are each credited as "Co-CEO", and this issue's cover as well as last issue's are credited on the contents pages.

Animal'z by Bilal - 8 - And so the story concludes, as obtuse and ethereal as ever.  A polar bear honor guard, the last nihilistic duel, riding or swimming or flying off into the sunset, if there was a sunset.  I won't pretend this had deep emotional meaning to me, or that it was spectacular or action-packed, but I've enjoyed it tremendously.  Seeing Bilal in the pages of Heavy Metal, 37 years after I first did, has been a delight.  And what do you know, there are previews saying another Bilal, Julia and Roem, will start in #272.  Looks like the same art style, I wonder if I'll like it as much.  Something to look forward to.

Surefire Means by Brandon Barrow - 6 - Pretty nice looking art, and a somewhat interesting, though not necessarily original, premise of being lost on an alien planet, but the ending just struck me as dumb.

Artist's Studio by Chris Compston - 6 - I can't say that guitar art interests me much, but he does have some nice ability.

Brom Kah by McCleary, Garret, and Bolt - 6 - Another story with nice looking art, arcane but ponderous storytelling, and a less than inspiring ending.

Sexy World by Enrique Pilozo - 6 - I didn't like it much, but I can appreciate how the sentiment of loneliness in a superficially sex-crazed society, can appeal to the pimply-faced basement dweller, typing alone in a darkened room, in all of us.

Vampire Vixens of the Wehrmacht by Emperor and/or Lex and Campbell - 7 - Despite my relative disinterest in vampire stories, and some really dumb things, like 6 year old Hitler has a toothbrush mustache (I mean, I get ya have ta show it's him, but c'mon), I was able to find some things to like.  Some of the photo-copy/realistic art was enjoyable enough, some of the compositions were really nice, and parts of the often over-the-top story were humorous enough.  There's a promo at the end, promising another story called "Arses High".   I'll try not to get my hopes up too much.

Biological Warfare by Jeff Dyer and Mauro Balloni - 3 - I actually disliked this one.  Even the pedestrian art is better than the clumsy character stereotypes and stupid execution of a simplistic premise.  Sorry guys, but the bad Middle Eastern Terrorist bit really struck a nerve with me, that kind of shit pisses me off.  Better luck next time.

Two Peas in a Pod by Wren - 6 - Y'know, at least these clumsy character stereotypes (nice muttonchops) are in a bit more fanciful story, and are more funny and less offensive.  The story is sparse, a spaceship captain looking to release her ship from an asteroid, discovers a hidden world and sparks upheaval.  I enjoyed the art, though sometimes it's less than precise, it's nice to look at.  And speaking of coincidences, of course the giant space suit can hold two women, who of course take a fancy to each other, supporting another slightly less offensive clumsy stereotype.

Just One Feeling by Christian Endres and Christian Krank - 7 - Just one page but it has a story.  I like the art style, and there is a feeling.  Would you feel sympathy for orphaned alien zombie kids?

A full page ad for Heavy Metal dot com, with art someone actually worked on, another HM logo treatment with slotted screws, and a dorky-on-purpose tagline.  The cosmic confluence of meaning and superficiality, of brilliance and stupidity, of the incredibly crappy mess the HM website is now, and the paper in my hands, blows my mind.

Close Call by Sytse S. Algera and Apri Kusbiantoro - 5 - a somewhat interesting premise, of disease-fighting nanobots rescuing beach-goers, enhances the ok storytelling and art.

Oskar Ed by Branko Jelinek - 6 - I really liked the animal, it's drawn well.  The story tries for mysterious and imaginative, almost gets there.

Saskatchewan by Lee Nielsen - 6 - I think I know the despairing self-awareness that I think this is trying to convey, but I think I'm missing some of what it's trying to say too.  The art's pretty cool, I like the writing, but there seems to be more put into it than what I get from it.

Autopsy by Gonzalo Ruggieri - 7 - simple but funny, "no sign of intelligence" indeed.

Gallery by Pascal Blanche - 7 - A lot of this looks really nice, very well executed digitally composed portraits.  Some of them look very much like digital models, rather than an actual character, but I suppose that's ok.  There's not a lot of personality or emotion available, but they look nice.

M19:  Secret Agent Daphne in "An Awesome Weekend" by JD and JMB - 6 - Nice looking one-page spy story.  A "See you in sixty days, metalheads!" suggests this will be a recurring entry.

Back Cover by Pascal Blanche - 7 - nice looking and radiantly colored, it looks better on the cover than in the Gallery.

So, there were a few good things to recommend this issue, and a couple not so much.  My sentiment is on the positive side, I've seen a lot worse.  Next up is an Asylum Press issue, so we'll see what that brings.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Job Dun

A while back, Mark Hobby contacted me, and asked if I would review Job Dun, Fat Assassin, which he did with Ben Michael Byrne, of Kranburn fame, as well as Noelle Criminova and Dave Evans.  I was quite flattered to be asked to review an actual comic on my meager blog.  Despite my warnings of infrequent posts and tiny audience, he sent it to me anyway.  After having it a number of weeks, I'm finally putting up a review.

Now, I'm not the first nor only one to be asked, and of course others responded in a more timely manner:

Clearly these are regular comics readers with broader interest and experience than mine.  Their blogs are cooler too.  My interest is mostly limited to Heavy Metal magazine and related items, but since I got hooked on BMB's Kranburn when he shared the beginnings on the departed HM website forums, I'm interested enough in Job Dun to actually write about it.

Basically, I liked Job Dun.  It's got cool drawing, a fun and wacky storytelling style, and a crazy futuristic setting.  It's thought-provoking but doesn't take itself too seriously.  In fact it's so nutty, it has its incomprehensible moments.  In some of the other reviews, it evokes references to Heavy Metal magazine, I suppose I can see it.

This one seems to be titled "Body Shitta."  The fat assassin, in a grimy urban jungle, plugged in and hopped up on Khem-Kola and pineal implants, takes an assignment from a red-head black-clad bombshell.  Perhaps letting his infatuation get the better of his judgement, such as it is.  "Spray" addled hilarity and some fantastical violence ensues.  Jokes are made, imaginations are tested, and social norms are disdained.  An ending with more than a couple loose ends.  A "Next, Whut is 2B Dun?"  So perhaps there will be more.

I hope so.  I like Mr Byrne's work, I liked Mr Hobby's story, and the bright colors and lettering added up to make a fun read.  Job Dun appears to be available on the same bigcartel site that offers Kranburn from FEC Comics, so I'll suggest seeking it out and spending less than a buck (AUS) for a digital copy.  They have print for $6 as well ( ), though getting Kranburn shipped to me was a challenge, I hope it would be easier for you for Job Dun.

thanks again to Mr Hobby for the kind offer of a free comic and letting me write about it.