Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Heavy Metal #281

Sex Special.  Breaking with past tradition, this Special is named appropriately.

Issue #281 - Chris Achilleos Cover

Cover - 5 - The Bunny Girl cover by Chris Achilleos was in the bookstore.  I wish I liked it more, since Mr Achilleos also did the iconic Heavy Metal Movie Taarna poster, used for the cover of the September 1981 issue:

(unless I'm wrong and it's a different Chris Achilleos)

I just found the puffy-and-leather getup silly, and the cartoony depiction uninteresting, and the crosshatched treatment of the HM logo that's maybe supposed to look like torn fishnet stockings, but it doesn't, annoying.  At least Mr Achilleos did a better job contouring the fishnets on the bunny girl's legs.  And it's dated '99, so it's nice of HM to bring this well-aged work into the 21st century.

It occurs to me that the multiple covers might be an issue for the HM website cover gallery, though for #277 they only show the one "Cover - A" by Royo, and credit the "Cover - B" by Skinner without showing an image.  So I will wonder how they will decide which cover they will have on the listing, assuming they maintain the cover gallery (which I hope they do).

I liked the inside front cover, by Philippe Caza dated '83, a great deal more.

The staff credits grew more, now including Kristan Morrison as Coordinating Editor.  Maybe Mr Morrison will find jobs for his cousins too.

Mr Morrison mocks my disbelief by producing an only-slightly-less-wordy editorial for this issue, reinforcing an ambitious precedent.  If we really get an imaginatively wordcrafted rant every issue, it will be fun.  The picture has some pretty neat effects too.

Option 3 by Grant Morrison, Simeon Ashton, Adam Wollet - 6 - An imprisoned space stud is offered release in return for fucking in the service of the Firmament.  It's enjoyably silly and sometimes clever and often nice to look at.  I found myself wanting more from this than I felt I got.  I think I managed to have elevated expectations when I gained a bit more insight from taking in some of the details in the art and storytelling, but then wasn't able to raise my impression of the whole of the story much higher than the first.

Luv U by Edgar Roggenbau and Patricio Delpeche - 4 - A somewhat modernized telling of the boy-and-his-sexbot story.  There's a couple nice artistic touches, but I liked this one less the more I thought about it.  I sort of get the desire for different sexual experiences, but the implications of crass objectification grew more annoying as I considered this one.

The Last Romantic Antihero by Dean Haspiel - 7 - An anti-apocalyptic love story, lovers fight the power over the years.  This had much more emotional depth than the preceding, and I liked some of the artistic and storytelling techniques, such as different color themes for different time periods.  I liked the story, and I even liked getting confused at the end (Amgod, wait, Billy Amgod?).

Frog Wife by Heshka - 7 - A funny and weird one-pager, a day in the life of the frog wife everyone wants to be.

The 49th Key by Erika Lewis, J.K. Woodward, Andworld Design (?) - 4 - Thank Heavens, it's the last installment.  The second best thing about this one, besides being the last entry, is that in the first panel it looks like the guy's fly is open.  I really had a hard time finding something to like in this story.  The good news is, if it ever does become a movie, chances are good it will be better than this comic.

Her First Time by Jamaica Dyer - 7 - This starts as just another lesbian space lover story with unrefined art, but I thought it ended up very successful as it pursued its depiction of their passion fueling interstellar rule.  Some of the line art with watercolor images are quite fantastical.

Zentropa by John Mahoney - 7 - Noted as "A wordless comic", it is that and more.  Terrificly detailed drawing of undiscernable features, and maybe a hint of a sequential story being told.  I simultaneously enjoyed and felt frustration with this one, it was fun exploring the sometimes suggestive detail, and odd not being sure of what I found (is that a .... nearing a .... or ?).  This is noted as Part 1 and ends with a "To be continued..." so I'll look forward to where, if anywhere, this one goes.

Art Gallery by Corey Helford - 6 - a promo for an art gallery in LA.  Some interesting images.

Julia & Roem by Enki Bilal, letters by Adam Wollet - 7 - Perhaps because it's sort of trying to tell a sort of coherent story now, I'm a bit less awestruck by this lovely depiction of Mr Bilal's talent, than I have been for previous installments.  But just a bit.

One Such Partner by Stoya and Dean Haspiel - 5 - A short story of a bad girl's first love.  With some nicely crafted and sometimes explicit dialog, and colorful and lively art, this was mostly likable.  But I got rather annoyed when the last word is a quoted "just", but "just" appears nowhere else in the story (I think I know where it would go, but still).

Artist's Studio:  Matthew Bone - 7 - with an interview by Frank Forte.  Also with a title:  Aphrodesia of the Explicitly Bizarre.  Some very nicely, sometimes amazingly, photo-realistic paintings.  There's boobs, so it fits in the Sex issue.  There's also actual artistic expression, which I am less qualified to evaluate.  But they do look cool.

Space Jizz by Ed Luce - 6 - A space explorer gets totally fucked.  So it fits in the Sex issue.  It's silly and crude but it has a lot of fun.  It appears to suffer from some unfortunate censorship, it's too bad they think this is necessary. 

Beachhead by Grant Morrison, Benjamin Marra, Tom Forget, Adam Wollet - 5 - The second of this two-parter with Mr Morrison, this keeps trying to have fun with the bloodthirsty alien conqueror thing.

Salsa Invertebraxa by Mozchops - 6 - the bright and colorful pages are nice to look at, when this finally emerges from the shadows, but the "story" lost me already.  With four more parts to go, maybe it will pick things back up somehow.

Red Beaver Bandit by Heshka - 6 - an interesting oval "cameo" panel, showing a nearly naked redhead babe with a mask and bag, and a red beaver, exiting a window, with a red beaver.  A bit of a pun, and I enjoyed it.

A handful of ads follow, including one for The Aftermath:  Big Clean by the Molen brothers, which was in the mag for a few installments, but disappeared before completion.  There's also a couple page preview of Heathen by Natasha Alterici.  The most likely way I'll ever get these is if I come across any in a resale shop in the future.


  1. Entertaining examination. One of your best.

  2. (Bill) Fred congratulations great analysis I liked the cover #281