Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Rock Opera news

The Heavy Metal website has a feature about a Rock Opera episode by Rod Kierkegaard Jr in the March 1985 issue.  It's a Star Wars and Beatles parody.  This was the kind of wit and humor, insightful and timely and weird, that interested me about Mr Kierkegaard's Rock Opera and helped keep me buying the mag at the time.  There's been nothing like it since.

The feature not only has some text and scans of the story (and tries to sell back issues they still have of this one!), there are also videos, from Rolling Stone's youtube, of the story, and a brief interview with Rod Kierkegaard Jr himself!  (at least I think so, never heard him speak before.)

This is so neat.  I was a big fan of Rock Opera back in the day, one of the few, judging by the Chain Mail letters that were printed at the time, that were pretty negative.  I'm also a fan of Mr Kierkegaard and his other more recent writing.  I enjoyed a brief period of correspondence with him a few years ago, one of the pinnacles of my meager fanboyhood.

I hope this means Mr Kierkegaard gets a bit of recognition from HM fans who may not be so familiar with him, and some further interest in his more current work.  (buy his stuff on Amazon.)

So go look at the HM website in the news/features section to see this feature and watch the videos.  They are on Rolling Stone's youtube too, but I didn't see anything on their main website.  I'd love to hear the rest of the interview with Mr Kierkegaard.

This was so fun, it almost puts me in the Xmas spirit.  So happy holidays everyone, every damn one of them.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Heavy Metal #277

Billed as a "Horror Special" this issue is guest edited by Frank Forte.  In the credits, in addition to the co-CEOs and Dan Berger as Managing Editor listed, there are a President and a VP Marketing as well.  Here's hoping there is increased success to support the added overhead of these executive positions.

Cover by Luis Royo - 7 - If you're going to have a pinup cover, it might as well be a Royo.  While his depictions are second to none in ridiculous getups, they can always be counted on for a pretty girl and fantastic execution.  The hair, the beads, the frayed fabric details, always fun to look at.  There was even a news feature on the HM website featuring Royo covers through the years.  There is also a special edition cover available somewhere by Skinner, whose work is otherwise featured in this issue.

Inside, an ad for a Court of the Dead statue collection.  Someone must buy this stuff, but I wouldn't.  I don't get it.

There's also a cover spread painting of a witch by Aly Fell at the contents page, looks nice.

Next, an ad for Frank Forte Fine Art limited edition silk screen and giclee prints.  I guess if you're the guest editor you get to have an ad.

The Transaction by Frank Forte and Silvester Song - 6 - A slightly interesting premise of an intergalactic con, and cool graphic style (it's a bit Giger-ish) are muddied by some overly busy scenes that obscure rather than enhance the action.  I also wonder why this was credited as translated by Chris Song, did Mr Forte originally write it in something other than English?

Dirt by Steve Mannion and Liezl Buenaventura - 7 - Space dirt prospectors with an old-school HM look, not too much for a story but I liked looking at it.  The stubby spaceships made me think of Sunpot by Vaughn Bode from the first editions of HM in the 70s.  Credited as a Fearless Dawn story, Mr Mannion also had an entry in HM#271, though oddly his name is misspelled in the HM website cover gallery for that one so it was hard to find.

A Halloween Wedding by Ben Olson - 6 - a knob crashes a mutant wedding.  The artwork is quite nice, and there's funny writing, that made me wish I liked it more.  The creator shows some good ability and technique.  As it is, the busy layout and word balloons and *sword sounds* were kind of distracting.

Ship of Ghouls by Dwayne Harris - 7 -  While this one also has a busy layout and word balloons all over, and the art is perhaps less refined than the previous story, though really good, I liked this one a bit more.  A more interesting premise to the story, even if it is another zombies in space yarn.  The unlikely spacesuit undergarment was fun, but I really thought the headset was cool.  It looked like a design that could actually work.  I won't be too surprised if I see something like that in a number of years.

The 49th Key Part 5 by Erika Lewis, J.K. Woodward, Deron Bennett - 5 - I still have a hard time enjoying reading this screenplay, and the art has just a couple glints of excitement in its otherwise bland execution, but at least there's something developing in the story.  A museum heist with disguises and inside help?  What could go wrong?

Thirst by Katrina Kuntsmann - 5 - A one-pager with a walk in the desert.  Maybe it doesn't have a lot to say, but it says what it says, dammit.

Artist's Gallery by Skinner - 8 - Skinner also did an alternate cover for this issue, which I will likely only seen on the internet.  I like the meticulous execution and striking coloration in most of this stuff.  The "Wretched Whole" has Boschian hints, and there are some thought-provoking posters.

DTOX by Frank Forte and Nenad Gucunja - 7 - Fighting mutant perverts in a toxic wasteland, the title character picks up a fellow traveler.  The story's pretty simple, but with some fun, and it's nice to look at and read.  I recalled an entry of DTOX in the mag, so I looked it up, December 2009, same creators.  I was very interested to see that the story here in #277 appears to precede the entry in 2009!  (inasmuch as there's any storyline anyway).  Six years, eight if you count that the 2009 entry is dated 2007!  I'm quite amused by this, even though any kind of creative license by Mr Forte and Mr Gucunja, or me completely missing the point, could easily explain it.  Likewise the panel of a view of DTOX in the DTank in #277 here on the 4th page of the story, is identical to the second panel of the 2009 story (unless it's one of those "find the difference" comics).  So I didn't add any points to my rating, but looking this up and finding this out was the most fun I had with this whole issue.

Mary Lou by Craig Wilson - 5 - It says from 2012.  A couple thugs assault a farmstead, but get more than they expected from the farm girls.  The art looked ok, and there's some pretty good action.  I didn't care for the storytelling so much, its look at sexual assault and family secrets gave me the creeps.

Caveat Emptor by Kevin Colden - 5 - A girl makes a deal with the devil, no idea why.  Here the art is less precise but expressive, but in this one the way the story depicts extreme abuse is so extreme, that it's easier to see it artistically.  But I really didn't get the ending....

Beware of Dog by Rebnor - 6 - a two pager of a girl and her dog.  Another girl threatened by mutants in a urban wasteland.  The best part is the contrast in styles of the two pages, first busy and wordy, second a single image.

Monkey Business by R.S. Rhine and David Hartman - 3 - A carnival monkey grinder is an excuse for more gore-filled victimization, and little else.

Zombie Chef by Jason Paulos - 5 - ok looking black and white art, the story has humans in a cooking contest to please a zombie chief, for their lives.  A couple bits of wit, like a cooking contest to please a zombie chief, who has slave girls by the way, enhance my interest.  Slightly.

Brutalitie' by Daniel Bradford and Owen Mackinder - 6 - Nicely composed and executed, this looks good.  A man's tortured dreams drive him to action. The story is insightful in its depiction of madness, though it uses it for shock value rather than edification.

Artist's Studio by Christopher Ulrich - 7 - Well executed portraits and scenes in a classical style.  Some western mythology, and a sprinkle of eastern, add to the artist's imaginative depictions.  Indeed there looks like more Bosch inspiration here than even in Mr Skinner's entries in this issue.

Ascension of the Black Death by David Zuzelo and William Broad - 7 - The story of a seeker revealing her true, monstrous form, gaining her muse's faith and an army of the undead, is satisfying enough to enhance the otherwise serviceable art.  Otherwise it would be just another zombie story.

A final ad for Lord of Light posters is followed by a back cover by Steve Seeley titled Krampus.  A three eyed goat with a satyr-ette is cool enough, but one of the goat's horns is wonked up with the shadows and earring, and my annoyance diminishes my appreciation.

So another Forte entry is again an ok issue, though there's a touch more depth and substance overall here.  I'm looking forward to the next issue, pretty soon here, since I again took weeks to put this review together.