Friday, April 29, 2016

Heavy Metal # 279

Again, it takes weeks for me to write up a review.  I've had the issue, read through it a couple times, and just now putting letters on a screen in front of me at a snail's pace.  I think my lack of enthusiasm has more to do with my real life, such as it is, being more important to me than my interest in HM, than my lack of interest in the non-HM-mag items they're promoting.  Things like Interceptor and The Doorman are just more comics I won't seek out.  My interest is also dulled by the diffusion of HM info across their various social media platforms; I'm not too interested in combing through their twiddler, farcebook, tumblorg, etc, feeds for new tidbits, and the main website that I do check often, is probably the lightest in info.  Oh well, that's part of what I get for being an old fart.

There's not too much on the non-HM part of my recent interests lately.  Especially Kranburn, which ghosted itself.  The webcomic just disappeared, even FEC Comics had nothing to tell me, though it was nice of them to actually reply when I asked.  While there's no activity on Ben Michael Byrne's various other projects, Gutter and NSEW, for weeks, it looks like he's participating in a "100 panels in 100 days" Fbook thing.  Tex Arcana is approaching a year since the last new pages, but I'm not complaining.  Rod Kierkegaard Jr hasn't updated his blog for years, though sometimes his twitter is fun, and he's still writing and selling on Amazon, and that bit about Prince on the HM website was amusing.  I did see that Jeremy Ray is restarting XTIN, XTIN Reincarrion, so that might be interesting, though he's going for color painting rather than the black and white of the first book.

As well, I can't be surprised by lack of traffic to my little blog here, if I don't put up anything new for weeks.  But for the occasional spambot irruption, single digit view numbers are common.  I don't even get spam emails anymore.  Maybe I'll get a bit of an uptick from actually posting something.  Here goes....

I got the bird cover from the bookstore, Bird King by Mike Mitchell and Aaron Horkey.  I actually like it, fanciful and unique, call it a 7.  Interesting to give the HM logo a treatment similar to the feather pattern.  Mike Mitchell is also featured in the Artist's Gallery inside the mag, the style is quite different.

Julia and Roem by Enki Bilal - 8 - High marks for my enjoyment of the texturing of the art.  I seem to like thinking about Enki Bilal actually putting pencils to paper or board or whatever, and I liked some of the really pretty highlights.  The story has a bit of fun with translations ("just assume stay...") and brings on the drama and deaths, but then brings "End of Part Two".  Turns out I didn't bother to notice the "End of Part One" at the third installment in #274, so I hope "Part Three" will resume shortly.

The 49th Key by Erika Lewis, J.K. Woodward, Deron Bennet - 5 - Maybe they should put this after some other less-beautiful feature than Julia and Roem, the art here is a real come-down.  I haven't liked this story much, the whole seems to be less than the sum of its parts.  Here the story seems to be building towards some resolution, taking Bodi "home".  And then another car chase.  I sure hope the movie this was written to be is more enjoyable.

Children of Russia by Ryan Ferrier and Hugo Petrus - 7 - A dying criminal confesses his sins to a priest, blaming his torment by demons in his youth in a Russian orphanage.  Strong implications of abuse.  Rather nicely put together and powerful storytelling.

Dream & Pills by Diego Agrimbau and Juan Manuel Tumburus - 7 - Street punks steal back the pills robbed from them, chased by the robbers, to deliver to an S&M madam.  Except they're all robots.  I thought the premise that robots don't feel pain, so they don't feel pleasure either, so they need some other ways to get themselves off, was pretty good.  As was the idea that some wanted one thing (S&M) and some wanted another (to dream).  The "gritty urban" setting was less inspiring to me for some reason.

Morf by Steve Mannion - 6 - with colors by Frank Forte it says.  Another Fearless Dawn, with the HM-ish babe explorer riding her tortoise that says "morf".  She finds a book again, and is accosted by giant skeletal demons, who are then vanquished by a giant warrior, who sets her and her tortoise on their way in a bubble.  Fairly thin but I liked it.

The Artist's Gallery by Mark Mitchell - 6 - a handful of images in a pop-art style with a dark and gloomy feel.  It appears he's got a thing with his Skully images, but I liked the last one "OK" the most, I think it had the most to offer.

Gene Kong by Pepe Moreno - 9 - The conclusion of the story of Gene the rogue biochemist, who transforms into a raging mutant beast when provoked, due to his genetic self-experimentation.  I really enjoyed how this story takes a bunch of panels dated '85 with some apparently new ones, to craft this story of mid-80s New York squalor, part Subway Vigilante and part King Kong.  Our hero fights crime, finds love, and is consumed by his uncontrollable mutant rage, until his dramatic end.  The art is brightly colored and action packed, in my opinion better than Rebel, which Moreno did in the mid-80s for HM, and I liked how the story wove together a bunch of one-dimensional bits and characters into a tale of excitement and woe.  In my opinion this is one of the finer additions to the Heavy Metal legacy in recent years.

Masters of Emptiness by Pahek - 6 - The agony of workbots tasked with rowing a topheavy ship of state.  A dramatically told parable on unsustainable growth and stratification of society, with some fun sound effects ("yam yam", "guttl guttl", "bhomi").  I think I should like this more, but I thought the art was a bit cluttered.

The Antidote by Frank Forte, Fabio Nahon, Jethro Morales, Liezl Buenaventura - 5 - Diseased rouge soldiers find an "immune" and make a serum from her blood, with unplanned consequences.  It looks like this was fun to do, but I didn't have as much fun reading it.  I guess I need more than just another mutant encounter in a post-apoc urban wasteland to trip my trigger.

Die and Let Live by Inaki Aragon and Partricio Delpeche - 6 - A couple parents fight through zombies to retrieve their young son from school.  But too late, he's already zombified.  But for the mother's inability to smash her zombie son's skull to save her life, this would be another pointless zombie excursion.  As it is, the slight exploration of human emotion makes me wonder more about why zombies are so popular, and when will it stop.

So an ok issue with a couple parts I really liked, and two full page Deadpool ads.  I'll probably pick up #280 this weekend, let's see if I can get the review out before #281.

Monday, April 25, 2016


So put up a feature to honor the departed Prince.  It was nice of them to do, and it had a cool Metal Hurlant cover with him, and a couple comic references.  It also had a link to the hideous "Bat Dance" music video that I had blocked from memory, until now.  Ugh.

In any case, also included was an image by Rod Kierkegaard of Prince as a Frankenstein monster.  It's very cool, but the image is from Mr Kierkegaard's "Shooting Stars" from 1987, I don't think it ever appeared in Heavy Metal.  I kinda wonder how they came across this and decided to put in in this feature.  There was also a "more on this later" and a link to the two Rolling Stone videos about Mr Kierkegaard and the Star Wars parody that was in Rock Opera in HM.  So maybe there will be more on this story.

By the way, Shooting Stars was an anthology by Mr Kierkegaard of Rock Opera - like parodies of pop culture icons, like Boy George, Madonna, and Prince.  For fun, here's another image snip from the Shooting Stars story "Prance":

While I'm at it, another recently departed rock star was seen in a Rock Opera, a snap from October 1980: