Sunday, June 21, 2015

Heavy Metal #274

My life of luxury allows me to be leisurely about my reviews.  I got #274 a number of weeks ago, and read it soon enough, and I'm taking my sweet time reviewing it.  It's taken weeks.  Here goes nuthin'.

Cover by Michael Penn - 5 - Credited as "Steampunk Pirates".  I'm not into steampunk.  Some of it seems like it could be cool, but buckles and gizmos for style rather than purpose aren't interesting to me.  Plus the pose is so contrived, it's an action shot, but of course the boot is right there as the skirt opens while she swings past.  Still way better than I could do.

An ad for a Goblin Vinyl Figure Bank?

Julia and Roem by Enki Bilal - 7 - Some exposition and serious angst going on here.  Pretty busy for a wasteland.  I don't know Romeo and Juliet enough to get all the nuances I think the story is trying to tell me.

The 49th Key by Erika Lewis, J.K. Woodward, and Deron Bennett - 5 - There's a story that's trying to be told in there.  Then suddenly, a bullet in its casing flies through the window.  Who threw that?

Things in Real Life by Daniel Suarez Perez - 7 - I liked the art a lot, it looks like it's drawn from photos and that reminds me of Rock Opera.  Nice story for two pages too.

Gallery with Diana Knight - 6 - totally fine babe into some serious dressup cosplay.  Not really my thing, but good for her.  I did like how the Vampirella bodypaint and the metal corset with the long dress looked.

Homo Bonum Est? by Tessandro and R.J. Lages - 5 - In ancient Rome, a woman seeks to avenge her father.  Consisting of little more than two fight scenes, it looks ok, but has miserable storytelling.  It barely tells what's going on, let alone shows us.

the ad for Heavy Metal Dot Com is not snarky or ironic at all, dull maybe.

The Aftermath:  The Big Clean Part Two by Matt and Kevin Molen - 7 - The thrill ride ends, new lives begin.  More murky and perhaps a bit less engrossing than the last entry, it still makes good with the commentary and detail.  It says continued in #276, I hope so.

Matryoshka S.A by Emilio Balcarce and Gonzalo Ruggieri - 7 - A new miniturization technology becomes a plaything for the rich, and a tool for the corrupt.  An interesting idea turned into a nice little story.  Mr Ruggieri's art suits the story and supports its telling well.

The Last Laugh by Hannu Kesola and Steven Bagatzky - 6 - and the moral of the story is that the tin foil hat people are right, and they (and the ones barricaded with lots of ammunition maybe) will be who survive to repopulate the world after the zombie apocalypse.  (Not too inspiring).  That part of the story is pretty funny.  The rest of this entry is adequate if not too exciting.

Miss Necro by Damascus Mincemeyer - 6 - I'm not as interested in zombies as it seems others are, and flying body parts is the lowest form of zombie humor, but this one tells the joke well in two pages, and it looks like it was a lot of fun to do.

Artist's Studio by Kari Christensen - 6 - it's nice that the artist illustrates her lifelong impulse to draw with a drawing done when she was 6.  She likes to draw monsters, and that's my favorite part of what is shared with us in this feature.

Oskar Ed by Branko Jelinek - 7 - I like how our noseless protagonist takes us through his richly detailed imagination, it's almost Moebius-ian.  He finds his dad, but which one is it?

Initiation by Estevez, Rivero, and Sobreiro - 6 - Looks nice, and it does a good job of telling its story.  I kind of get the part about the oppressive society stifling our true selves, but I'm not convinced by the premise this constructs.  It's hard for me to imagine how a culture could survive by routinely maiming or killing its maturing youth, just to instill loyalty.  Maybe it's not enough of a war metaphor for me to grasp it.

The Sadmen - Water Hell by Victor D. Cantu - 7 - With what looks like actually painted art (watercolor?  or not, I could be wrong) with some great imagination, and a story that was incomprehensible but drew me nearer still.  Some of my favorite HM stories feel like this.  Yet I was more frustrated than moved, unsatisfied.  I didn't get to where I thought I got it enough.

Mia by Fabio Ruotolo - 7 - A traveling merchant is observed abusing his pack animal, and an enormous-haired woodland spirit helps him see the error of his ways.  This looks nice while it takes a few pages to tell its little story.

MI9:  Secret Agents Daphne & Mildred by JD & JMB - 6 - Not one but two sexy secret agents this time.  Dumb but funny.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Tex Arcana

Some new Tex Arcana pages appeared a few days ago.  A bit more than a year after the last new entries.  This time I'll let you go to and find it yourself, it's easy.  Enter the site, proceed to the book listings and go the the fourth one (click on the stars), the new pages start at 352, and there are eight of them.  There are now over 80 pages to the fourth book.

It's terrific to see this new work from Mr Findley.  It continues with the fine line work and hatch shading, and gruesome mortifaction and horrifying mystery, that I so enjoy.  The story continues, near and far in time and space from Hangman's Corners.  I don't know that there's anything comparable out there.  I can't express enough gratitude to Mr Findley for continuing with this decades-long project and sharing it with us.

I still think HM should engage Mr Findley to serialize Tex Arcana in the magazine.  It would be at least as cool as having new work from Bilal.  I can only hope that I, and the paper mag, live long enough for it to happen.

thanks again Mr Findley.