Saturday, December 22, 2018

John Findley's Tex Arcana

John Findley's Tex Arcana has not indicated an update for over three years.  I thought to email to the link a few days ago, to ask about it.  I'd done it before.  The email generates an auto-reply, advising that there's a registration process to allow the message to get past spam blockage.  I've been actually lucky enough to get a response a few times over the years, and he was quite gracious about it (actually corresponding with actual HM creators is an actual thrill for me), but the last time was over three years ago.

While I wait, I thought to look on the internet, and was disappointed to learn that the Tex Arcana comic was no longer available on the site, but for one short story, and it's been like that for almost 2 years!  I felt really bad, not really checking for so long that the great story I've been pointing to wasn't there anymore.  The Book looks like it's still available, which is good, and I recommend to anyone reading this you should go buy it.  I did earlier and I'm glad I did.

So I certainly hope things are going well for Mr Findley, and that this might just mean he wants to encourage people to buy his book (do it) or something else constructive.  In any case I remain grateful for what he did and what he shared freely, and for the kindness he showed me in previous correspondence, and I wish only the best of what his life has to offer for him.

But I remembered double checking on a link on an earlier post before, and it worked.  And it does.  For some reason, the work on the fourth as-yet-unpublished book, is still out there.  Starting here, after the end of the still-up story, are over eighty pages of some really cool expansion of the Tex Arcana saga.  If you're still reading this, you should go take a look at it, while it's still there.  As we see, nothing lasts forever.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

some history

an article by R. M. Rhodes, who does the HM page-a-day tumblr, about the Eastman era.

I read it before, and I should have posted it then, but HM fbook linked to it, so I get another chance.  It has interesting perspectives, some of which I share, but it's informative to anyone who wants to know more about why Heavy Metal Magazine still exists.

Thanks for sharing

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Heavy Metal Documentary

Just announced on Variety via a post on HM Fbook, a Heavy Metal Magazine documentary is planned.  It may be interesting, and I'll look forward to hearing more.  But the article erroneously says HM led to the phrase Heavy Metal being used for Metal music.  And it mentions the 1981 movie, and the abortive effort for another movie in 2008, but ignores the Heavy Metal 2000 F.A.K.K. 2 movie. 

I kind of understand why no one wants to remember the second Heavy Metal movie, it was plenty bad.  But it had its moments, and Mr Eastman did manage to actually produce it.  I hope the documentary does happen, and they give Mr Eastman his due for keeping the mag alive, and making it his own for so many years, including the story of the 2nd HM movie. 

Honestly my favorite part of HM2000 was having Billy Idol in a lead voice role, because of this from Dossier in the mag in December 1982:

Which is something I've wanted an excuse to post for a while.  The recent meme joke on the HM Fbook recently almost did it, but my bringing up the HM2000 movie here gave me my opening.  I've thought it was funny that Mr Idol was in the HM2000 movie, remembering this snarky takedown, and how much I agreed with the sentiment at the time.  With his sneery poser-punk act all over the MTV cable-waves taunting me, I spent a whole year actively changing the station or shutting off the radio whenever he came on.  Now, as I approach senior-hood, I am much less offended than amused, I probably wouldn't want to punch his face anymore, and I understand Mr Idol is an ok guy with a sense of humor about it all.

So best of luck with the documentary guys.  I hope it actually gets done and it doesn't suck.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Outland by Jim Steranko

A very nice article about Jim Steranko's Outland, from Heavy Metal Magazine in '81 and '82, Inventing Sci-Fi Noir, is featured on We Are the Mutants.  I liked the direct HM reference, and I enjoyed the informative background of the context of the times, and how Mr Steranko took the gig. 

I'll note that the presentation by Mr Steranko of this adaptation as mostly double-page splashes, as the article notes, would be next to impossible these days, since the mag has been edge-glued ("perfect" binding) for years, rather than stapled ("saddle stitched") as it was in its first years.  My opinion is that the ability to really use double-page presentation, was one of the strengths of Heavy Metal Magazine's first era.  That and the monthly publication, and the large amount of work that made it able to present.

I also liked the rather bold choice of the article, to include an image from the story from the mag, which anticipates and depicts not only future widescreen tv but also widespread pornography.  Such transgressive content surely excited very young adult me, and this image of the future was also anticipated by a similar scene in the October 1980 "Special Rock Issue", in "Rock City" by Moebius.  Seeing these images then, and knowing that they now reflect our amazing sci-fi reality, is another example of how I'm actually living in the future.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Heavy Metal # 291

Heavy Metal #291, the Fetish Special.  I got the Cover A at a bookstore.

Issue #291 Cover A - Nikki Sixx

The Cover A art is a photograph "Pray for Me" by Nikki Sixx.  On the HM I-Gram, they say this is only the 4th photo cover, and asks if we can name the other 3.  One commentor said February 1986, with Darryl Hannah.

(it says Winter 1986, but whatever)

This was the first issue after HM stopped monthly publication.  Conveniently, the previous issue, December 1985, was the last monthly (and was also the first review I posted here on this blog, from something I wrote for Lostboy's Heavy Metal Magazine Fan Page forum, so many years ago.  Thanks again Lostboy for sending it back to me, and for the images I lifted from your site, which is where people can go to get a closer look at them), and appeared to be also a photograph, of some cut paper sculpture art.

There was also December 1981, with the lovely Debbie Harry in an H. R. Giger bodysuit.  One of the Great covers.

And then there was January 1979, with a photo of some fantasy rockinghorse sculpture.

You could consider October 1979, with a photographic image of H. P. Lovecraft inserted into the cover art (before photoshop of course) of a photograph.

So if you wanted to, you could argue Nikki Sixx's cover photo was the 6th HM cover with a photo (unless there are more I missed...).

So that was a fun digression, back to #291.  I'll give Mr Sixx's cover a 6, just because. 

It's not surprising that a Fetish issue would contain sex.  And I'm ok with that. 

The contents page illustration by Gabriele Pennacchioli is restrained but not subtle, and nice looking.  This artist has a Gallery entry later in this issue.

Mr Morrison seems to have fun phrasing his editorial as #291 as the target of a "seduction" by a wealthy perv.  It's more funny than disturbing, and one of the jokes is rather "clunky".

"Dark Dancefloor" by Hector Lima and Abel, and Pablo Casado and Bruna Dantas - 7 - A woman gets unjustly fired by her conniving boss from her marketing job and goes to the club to dance her anger away.  There she is confronted by a demon in disguise.  Warding him off with sorcery, her night ends with her job back and the conniver neutralized.  It reads better than I describe it.  The art is straightforward and supports the story well.

"The Door" Chapter 3 by Esau Escorza and Michael Moreci - 7 - The story takes another lap of a seemingly endless circle, spiraling through fantastic realities with our unlucky young protagonist.  The art is lovely to look at, with beauty inside and out, the pervy smell seems to be dissipating, and the story has some good things to say about truth and morality.  I wonder if it will ever wander from its circular track.

"Murky World" by Richard Corben - 7.5 - Having Corben back in HM is still a thrill.  This story is intriguing and perplexing, richly descriptive but I'm not always sure what it's describing.  The obtuse storytelling and dynamic artistic renderings add mystery to the already convoluted tale.  Our simpleminded protagonist Tugat, chained and dragged to the city, goes from being a slave for sale to being fodder for death in the arena.  What's next will surely be a surprise.

"Space Fuzz" by Ed Luce - 7 - From the same creator who brought us "Space Jizz" in HM #281 (review), a space explorer has a close encounter of the intimate kind.  This one is a bit more sophisticated than the previous, but still a sex joke.  But it's a joke I like, so I would be happy to see more of this character, hopefully more frequently than twice in a couple years.

"The Clairvoyant" by Leonie O'Moore - 5 - A woman goes to a vacation resort in space.  The activities are unexciting, but she's taken in by the fantasy world of passion provided in the "dream pods".  She leaves frustrated when her pod time runs out.  On the flight back, another passenger shows clues from her dream fantasy, but the story ends.  While the art is on the simplistic side, the story works so hard to show rather than tell that it left me wanting to know more.

Gallery with Johanna Stickland - 7 - An handful of stylized sexualized paint work.  An interview by the ever-present Rantz Hoseley.  I found it evocative.  The artist has more paintings and photos on the website which links to an IGram and Tmblr, but oddly doesn't appear to link to the sales site at (though the Tmblr does...).

"Her Collection" by Coey Kuhn - 7 - A girls' night in, if you will...  Three women are able to conjur a demon sex partner from a stuffed animal toy.  I was impressed by the nearly explicit depictions, and the pointed display of what could be called body-positivity.  Yep, I'm ok with that.

"A Life Without Ennui..." by Rodrigo Lucio, Carlos Dearmas, Omar Estévez - 6 - What appears to be an aimless wealthy woman, contemplates her humanity, and boredom, as the outside world crumbles, with her butler and her harem of mindless servant androids.  Moderately philosophical, and even less sexy, with a slightly ironic joke at the end.  It actually captures feelings of boredom pretty well.

"Dotty's Inferno:  Vegas" by Bob Fingerman - 7 - Delightful Dotty's dreary day in Hell, where we learn her name is Dot Dasche, and the story of her demise, and where her living life intersects with her death life. I enjoy these, with various characters with various states of nudity and humanity, and clever storytelling.  I'll be happy to see more, I hope.

Gallery with Gabriele Pennacchioli - 7 - Again with Mr Hosely doing the interview, which describes the artist's background in animation, which shows in the art here if you ask me.  But what it may lack in intricacy, it exceeds in expression.  While it's not a huge range, different body types, and boob types, are seen, and it's intentional if you ask me.  And the surroundings of the central figures can be simple or worth a second look, but they're certainly complementary.

"The Color of Air" Part 8 by Enki Bilal - 8 - Characters stir from their stupor.  The garbage zeppelin approaches the floating city.  The airwhales arrive.  A familiar feeling of a story coalescing to an unknowable end.  An end I anticipate and fear.  Love it.

"Nihilophilia" by Grant Morrison and Tula Lotay - 6 - An immortal has tried and has tired of all life and lust has to offer.  Beautiful imagery and obtuse storytelling.  You'd think this would remind me of early classic Heavy Metal.  Instead I only find bits of cleverness.  My loss I suppose.

An ad for the Taarna #3 comic book.  Maybe if I actually went to a comic shop I might see one of these.

"Awake Walker" by Hector Lima, Rodrigo Urbano, Camila Torrano, Pablo Casado, Alberto Calvo - 6.5 - A near-future tale of emotional infidelity.  Interesting ideas of visophone viruses and virtual reality self-hypnotism.  Some more bits of cleverness, but I had a hard time putting a cohesive story together, unfortunately not in the thought-provoking mysterious way I like.

"Need" by Rantz Hoseley & Menton3 - 6.5 - Existential anguish in suburbia.  The art presents the contrasts nicely.  Reads like a guy's fantasy of a woman's fantasy, but the pain of feeling trapped in your life despite comfort and ease, can really mess you up.

An ad for the Heavy Metal coffee from Dark Matter Coffee again.  They haven't had this available for many months, even before this issue came out.  And I never got one.

Gallery with Ulorin Vex - 7 - Of course with an interview by Mr Hoseley.  Not the usual pinup fare.  This may have less technical sophistication than other Gallery entries, but I saw some compelling and intriguing imagery.  One was a particularly sharp line drawing, notably including skin folds and stretch marks.  I can admire that kind of radical approach to a sexist art style.

"Frills and Folds" by Jennie Gyllblad - 7 - With a subtitle "Jenitales" in a script that could have the "J" a "G" so it could be a moderately successful pun.  A young woman enjoys a fantasy in pearly and frilly finery.  But then she realizes she's in a checkout lane.  A rather silly story, colorfully depicted, with more explicit digital penetration than I think I've ever seen in the mag.  I'm ok with that.

Gallery with COOP! - 6 - Mr Hoseley's interview is brief but informative.  To me it's notable that HM gets artists for these galleries with a wide range of experience, from formal art school education to picking up crayons as a child to experience in other art forms, in any combination.  Results may vary.  Here, COOP shows an affection for a 50s-ish retro Devil Girl styling, with the naughty dialed up to raunchy.  Perhaps I don't share the same affection, but it can be fun.

"A Tribute to Harlan Ellison" by Patton Oswalt, Peter David, Kevin J Anderson, Mark Waid, Colleen Doran, & Bill Sienkiewicz - 7.5 - Starting with "From A to Z in the Harlan Ellison Alphabet" by Patton Oswalt, and with illustrations by Mr Sienkiewicz.  An interesting approach to a tribute piece in HM.  The alphabet list of factoids isn't a new way to do it, but it's effective.  Followed by some testimonials of how Mr Ellison affected the contributors' lives, likewise not a unique method.  I did learn some things, but that's not hard since I didn't know so much to start with.  But I'm a bit curious about why this Tribute is in HM.  But for Mr Sienkiewicz I'm not sure that the contributors have been in HM before.  Harlan Ellison has, seven times in the mag's first five years that I could see (notably for one of my favorite stories, Shattered Like a Glass Goblin in October 1978, reviewed here).  And Patton Oswalt is in Mr Morrison's TV show Happy! so there's some connection there.  It's a nice piece so I won't complain too much.

An ad with the four covers for this issue follows, which is nice.  The inside back cover has an ad for the Iron Maiden Legacy of the Beast game, that's getting a lot of promotion, and the back cover is another ad for The Heroin Diaries 10th Anniversary Edition, likewise thoroughly promoted.  There's a lot good going on with the mag now, and I hope that keeps up.  But there are some reasons for concern, like how this is only the third issue this year.  Maybe a 4th will appear before the end of the year, but it's good I don't have a subscription, since I'd be pretty annoyed if I did.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Kranburn's back

It took me a while to find out, since I'm bad at the internet, but Ben Michael Byrne has rejuvenated Kranburn:

Terrific news for those of us who were saddened by its disappearance years ago.

Thanks to Mr Bryne from me, and all the others who really liked this, for making this available again.

I haven't seen anything about new work, but I'll hope the alarmingly prolific Mr Byrne will find the time to do the work, and that somehow Brand survives the leap off the burning building at the end of #10.  There was so much going on in this story that could be explored, and I hope we get to see some of it. 

I also hope he finds a way to sell those reprints, and with luck some new ones, in a way that I can find and get sent halfway across this modern world.  When you find out how, go buy his stuff.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

The Heart

The Heart is a story by Attila Kiss, and Marie Philippova, and Greg Woronchak (with "German Assistance" by The4thPip), published by Scattered Comics in Movie Massacre #2.  Link:


As I've mentioned, I knew Attila Kiss as Intone Flux from the old HM website forum, and I have reviewed his Blues Ratz #1, Blues Ratz #2, and Blue Ratz #3 previously.

I saved The Heart for a review until now.  Not only because it takes me forever to do anything, but also because it was the one that felt more like a Heavy Metal magazine story, with compelling, sometimes gruesome art, and a dark and murky fantastical story, more on the adult side of the comic spectrum.

The Heart is a story of two stories, one of medieval-times bandits and one of twentieth century nazi occultism.  They are tied together loosely by the narrative, and they also use two different artists, so there is contrast as well as continuity.  A cave serves as hideout for murderous highwaymen in the first part, and later as the site of Moloch-worshipping ritual sacrifice, which (spoiler) is undone by the frail strength of its victims' humanity.

Greg Woronchak, who also did the art for Blues Ratz, shows a different style for the first portion of The Heart, and it suits the story well, straightforward but dynamic.  The "vignette" page layout (I think that's the right word) frames the images and adds to the storytelling.  Marie Philippova did colors for this first part, and also does the second part, in a different but complementary style, likewise engaging and enhancing the storytelling, showing the terrible attraction of arcane ritual in the service of evil.  The art is the most enjoyable part of this work to me.

Followed closely by the story.  Attila Kiss' style comes through, rich and descriptive, sometimes florid, sometimes clever, keeping the reader on their toes by making them work to keep up.  The leap between the parts is broad, with little apparent to connect them, but enough to make this a whole story.  The story of evil across generations and a brief triumph of compassion, finds disparate points in humans' broad capacity for experience.

If you're like me, with a fondness for exploration of humanity's extremes, with exciting and stomach-turning (and sexy! even) graphic art depictions, The Heart is for you.  Go do yourself and Attila Kiss and his cronies a favor and check this out.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Nash the Slash

Nash the Slash was a musician in the late 70s & 80s, who played electronically enhanced violin or mandolin or maybe something else, with lots of effects and synthy things, solo or with others.  He played wrapped with bandages and in dark shades.

He passed away a few years ago.  But his music lives on:

I first learned of Nash the Slash, in Heavy Metal Magazine.  In the February 1980 issue, which had what is certainly one of the coolest HM magazine covers of all time:

Just a few years into its existence, the mag was trying to elbow its way into a place in the popular culture, and was just starting to put out a group of articles about music and movies and books and art etc.  It wasn't Dossier yet, that was about a year later, but Ted White started his time as editor in January and the articles are something he brought on.  Lou Stathis and Jay Kinney and Bhob Stewart are some of the names that would become familiar to readers in the coming issues.

Ted White wrote this about Nash the Slash:

It caught my eye, enough so that about a year later, I saw this in the record store (where one had to go to buy music back in those days):

It must have meant something to me to spend $2.75 on a single, at a time I'd spend just a few bucks on a record from the cutout box, and even HM magazine was $2 (it went from the original $1.50 cover price just by then).  I kept it all this time, I've even played it a couple times within the past decade.  I liked it a lot, the funny and rippin' cover of Dead Man's Curve, and the driving noises of Reactor No. 2.  I got a bit of influence on my musical tastes from the music reviews in HM, but Nash the Slash was the one time I actually bought some music directly because of reading about it in the mag.  It was cool and obscure, but I didn't seek out any more, and I didn't hear anything else about Nash the Slash after then.

But more recently, I came across a slew of Nash the Slash CDs in a resale shop.  I gleefully snapped them up:

It was a lot of fun finding one, then the others, on that bottom shelf.  There's lots of cool stuff on them.  "Children" has Dead Man's Curve and Reactor No. 2 on it, yay I can play it in my car.  There's a soundtrack for Nosferatu, the silent horror movie, and I enjoyed that.  I liked a lot of the other stuff, some more than others of course.  I'm good with metallic fuzzy noises and Mr Slash showed some ability and creativity in this pile of work.  There a few tracks that are replayed at different speeds for different effect, kinda neat.  I won't play music critic, but it's been great to find some tunes that are right up my alley, as well as great to chance upon this from a Heavy Metal Personal History perspective.

So I really enjoyed finding these CDs, and finding the article in my old mag, and putting together this post.  So much fun.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018


So, being about a bazillion years old, of course I'm bad at the internet.  I got to do computer work in school in the mid and late 70s (meaning carrying around paper rolls and cards with holes punched in them, and printouts of results), played Amiga video games in the 80s (DeathSword!) and had home computers from the late 90s (dial up internet anyone?), and have been doing this blog for almost 10 years.  But none of that ever helps me keep up with where the cool kids hang out.

Actually getting up off my lazy butt and looking, helped me find that Heavy Metal still has an active internet prescence, on Igram, and is also more active on Tmblr.  That's a bit more encouraging than the dormant state of the HM website and the relatively low activity at their Fbook or Twiddler.  By the way, the youtube linked on the HM website exists, though nothing new has been added since the Eastman era, but the older one with the Eyebrow Tuna videos is still up too (that I noted here).  I bet there's other stuff out there I don't know about.

All this takes me back to the early days of Heavy Metal on the internet, and the forum that led to my little blog, full of Eastman promises and early troll dumbfuckery, as well as adding depth and breadth to my HM worldviews.

So it's nice to know someone is still trying to keep HM on the internet, and I hope they get some help soon.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Blues Ratz #3

Blues Ratz #3 written by Attila Kiss and with art by Greg Woronchak, and the cover coloring credited to Matheus Bronca, is the ending installment of the story of the Gekimo brothers, and their struggles with the Blues.  I previously reviewed the preceding stories, Blues Ratz #1 and Blues Ratz #2.

#2 ended with the brothers and their cousin pledging war against the mob.  #3 starts with Bob the elder waking from the dream of his life, alone aboard a landed plane, which he promptly falls out of.  His brothers and cousin meanwhile, proceed with their plans, first in a flashback with their partners in the botched drug deal, where the cousin uses his Canadian-ness to win a bet.  Then the other brothers execute the other parts of the plan, taking on mob bosses in London and Italy, almost single-handedly I might add.  Then follows Bob's wedding to the madam, and they could all live happily ever after, but instead they get back to their band, rocketing to the charts and playing Wembley, with help from their cousin, who brings in relatives from the old country to bring scandal and publicity.  Finally the cousin is shipped back to Canada, less than willingly, for a humorous conclusion.

Like #s 1 and 2, Blues Ratz #3 is quite fanciful, taking leaps in logic and storytelling, flying through without stopping to catch your breath, dropping clever bits here and there.  The art continues to hold up its end of the bargain, even picking up the pace with action and some rather gruesome scenes during the mob battles.  If I had to choose, I might say I enjoyed #2 the most, as far as its cohesiveness seemed a bit stronger, but they are all comparable and work well to tell their tales in a similar manner, making up a story with plenty to offer and lots of fun in the telling.

Again, while I would not have sought this out on my own, thanks to Attila Kiss for bringing these to me and for the opportunity to look at something new and click out some words about it.  Best of luck to Attila Kiss and Greg Woronchak on success with this and their future endeavours.  Soon I'll review The Heart by Mr Kiss and others, something that was a bit closer to my HM interests, and at least as fun as reading about The Blues Ratz.  Be sure to look these up and by all means spend a few bucks on them to support independent comics.

Here's Attila Kiss's store:

And here's Scattered Comics':

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Blues Ratz #2

After a couple other things I wrote about (and my usual slackitude, sorry) it's back to Attila Kiss' Blues Ratz.  I described how I know Attila Kiss from the old HM website forums and how he alerted me to his recent work in this post, and I reviewed the first installment of Blues Ratz here.  Now I'll review the second installment Blues Ratz #2, and he's already sent Blues Ratz #3 to me, so that will follow.

To recap, in Blues Ratz #1, the three Gekimo brothers are seeking help for their oldest brother who has the "Blues", a debilitating obsession, with the help of their Canadian cousin.  After multiple mishaps and incarcerations, and the other brothers catching their versions of the Blues, they are offered help by the thug who killed their father. 

Here in #2, we find the "help" involves running contraband across Europe for the thug.  Given a car and its contents and instructions, they immediately proceed to screw it all up.  Ditching their Canadian cousin, the obsessed brothers careen from lewd behavior to drug deals gone bad to bribery, with their cousin trying desparately to follow, to end up at a brothel.  During which they address their Blues, and get back to "normal", which involves declaring war on the mob...

Blues Ratz #2 plows along the same path blazed by Blues Ratz #1.  The storytelling takes a convoluted but direct line, running, juking, stumbling sometimes, but always moving ahead.  Some jokes work better than others, and some are really funny, but it never stops.  The art is energetic and demonstrative, informative and often entertaining.  There are some interesting effects, like the yellow voice balloons with the not-so-pale blue shading for most of it, that can be dark but lets unshaded parts contrast, and the weird metallic shading on the last panel.  It's not what I usually seek out, but thanks to Mr Kiss for helping me look out from beneath the rock I live under.

I like it.  There's more enjoyment of a neat expression, or panel execution, or clever phrase, than annoyment or perplexed head-scratching.  It's a fun read, made more fun for me by my acquaintance with one of the creators.

He has Blue Ratz #2, and the other Blues Ratz stories right here:

Blue Ratz #3 is out as well, and my review is coming right up (umm, when I get around to it, like usual).  Stay tuned for the exciting conclusion!

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Heavy Metal # 290

This is the Deadly Special.  I got the cover "A" at the bookstore, with "Hydra" by Dan Quintana, which I liked, with the three faces similar but unique, and the wrinkled gold look of the logo, so I'll give it a 7. 

Issue #290 Cover A - Dan Quintana

The other covers are noted on the contents page, but not shown, so I would have had to see them on one of their media feeds, but I don't remember that.  I looked at the HM shopping page, (where I got the image for "A") and saw the covers "B" and "C", but not the "D".  I'm not much of a fan of the multiple covers thing anyway.

I'll pause here for a moment to moan about the HM website.  I've had snarky complaint about it before, but it existed and made improvements and helped me out over time, even through the transition across the Eastman to Morrison eras.  But it's been months since it's been touched, anywhere I could see, and I lament the stagnation of the Cover Gallery for the last couple years.  The Cover Gallery is especially missed.  For me it complemented Lostboy's Heavy Metal Magazine Fanpage and its Magazine List as a reference, and it picked up the slack for a while when Lostboy stopped doing updates (and thanks Lostboy for keeping your site up still), to help me enjoy my little HM thing of reading all of them and the growing endless chances of connections of stories and creators.

But it's been a while.  I know the media landscape is dynamic, and nothing lasts forever in this world, and stuff happens.  For me it's worrisome to think how much this reflects on the status of the operation, along with the paltry nature of their media feeds, and this being only the second issue this year.  It makes me think "what's going on?"  Fortunately it's not about me (except for this blog, this is about me) and maybe things are just cruising merrily along as one does in these times, producing a mag that I have quite enjoyed for the most part for the past few years.

So, done with whining for now, on to the mag.  Inside the front cover is an ad for the Taarna books, which may be interesting if I ever come across them.  They should really have more of this in the mag to promote it.  The contents page has a novel bit of art, with a collage of scenes from inside the mag in a skull motif, that seems uncredited.  There's a Justin Mohlman listed as a Contributing Editor, and that Jett Lucas guy is still there as Creative Executive.  Mr Morrison's editorial finds the humorous path meandering among the stories in no particular order, describing their miserable and/or fanciful deaths.

"Queen of the Crawlers" by Vincent Kings - 6 - prefaced as "an atomic fairy tale".  Starting "In the end, there was no one but the woman..." she is shown burying a skeleton with a bashed-in skull.  We are left to speculate the cause of her solitude with only few clues, but she soon takes to training the Crawlers, insects that resemble giant hissing cockroaches, building their short-lived generations into powerful civilizations in their own right, until her own end.  While I thought the concept could possibly been told as a more engaging story, there are several aspects that impress.  Painting the pages must have been time-consuming, and left me with less detail than I may have liked, but it had some really nice effects, like mottled shadows through her tattered shawl, and the radiant glow fitting the sentiment when "She felt a parent's pride in beng surpassed by her children."  Overall much to like.

"The Savage Sword of Jesus Christ" Part 2 by Grant Morrison & the Molen Brothers - 6 - There's some sophomoric sarcastic fun to be had, and I am curious how the Jesus Christ - Superhero movie concept by and for Hitler, will turn out, since it is "to be continued."

"Murky World" Part 3 by Richard Corben - 7 - Our dimwitted hero Tugat stumbles from saving an escaped slave to mourning his master's death to being enslaved himself.  The story seems to imply nefarious doings beneath the surface, and the strangely morphing proportions in the art, make me even more confused than usual.  But I am still enjoying the lovely Corben-ness of the thing, and the mere fact of having more of his stuff in the mag at this time in its history.

"The Door" Chapter 2 by Esau Escorza & Michael Moreci - 7 - Our young protagonist keeps up her search for herself in the confusing world not of her making.  Some introspective dialog and nice looking and perhaps a bit less pervy, this may go somewhere, or may just go in more circles.

"Edbook" by Irvine Welsh & Dan McDaid - 7 - A killer reminisces.  The story is mostly about how his childhood survival of an attempted murder-suicide made him the man he is today.  A big feature that is maybe even noir, the art is stark but not detailed, and the story considers human nature and mental illness, in a similar fashion.  Are they not the same?

"Near Death Experience" by John Bivens - 6 - An addict wakes up in what must be a seedy drug den, since there's a poster peeling off the wall that says "Heavy Metal" on it.  She flees a hallucination, only to see more, little green anthropods, that seem attracted to death.  Death that surrounds her. 

Dotty's Inferno "The Ex" by Bob Fingerman - 7 - Love and romance and fascism in the 2nd Circle of Hell.  Actually pretty fun, and maybe part of a series.  And I'll admit I like seeing some dicks hanging around with the tits and butts, a whiff of the old days of the mag, and a bit more equal opportunity exploitation.  Though erections are still hard to come by...

Artist Spotlight:  Matt Bailey - 7 - with an interview by Rantz Hoseley.  Some nice looking woodcut-like art, with skulls.

"The Color of Air" Part 7 by Enki Bilal - 8 - The characters come together, confused and disoriented.  I feel the same way, I'm hardly making a bit of sense of it, and I'm so enjoying it.  Compelling use of light and dark and color.

"Murder House" by James Harvey - 7 - After a murder is done in her house, woman builds an empire selling tours.  Told briskly with lots of exposition, I enjoyed all the words and fine lines.

"Tohko" by Peach MoMoKo - 7 - Gruesome death, fantastic rebirth, ironic death.  Pretty.  Arty.

Gallery with Dan Quintana - 6 - With a brief interview by Rantz Hoseley.  Some obviously nice work that doesn't excite me much.

"Lead Feet" by Tómas Wortley and Rodrigo Lujan - 7 - A guy jumps off cliffs, for fun.  To try to fly.  He's the last one that didn't fly away during "The Ascension".  The art and storytelling are ok, and work well together, though I have misgivings about logical gaps and the somewhat gratuitous upskirt.  Despite that there's enough emotional weight to be satisfying.

Gallery with Rob Prior - 6.5 - With an interview by the busy Rantz Hoseley.  More obviously nice work that is maybe a little more exciting for me, with all the blood and/or fire.  Though sometimes splattery or drippy paint seems to add the effect of literal gravity, when maybe it's trying be more kinetic?  Hmmm.  But it was amusing to see the first image titled "Jeff Krelitz's Dream".  Hmmm again.

Inside the back cover is an ad for The 49th Key in a trade paperback, which I didn't enjoy when it was in the mag.  The back cover is an ad for the Iron Maiden Legacy of the Beast games, which I will likely never see.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

One Such Partner

One Such Partner is a story by Stoya and Dean Haspiel that was in #281, the Sex Issue.  It fit the theme and I liked it mostly, but a little thing annoyed me about it.  My review is here. 

I found out that a guy says it's based on a true story about him.  I have no reason to not believe it.  He's known as Rev. Mitcz and the story is in two parts, and  They're pretty fun reads.

Now before you start clicking on things, get to a safe place since they're pretty NSFW.  I admit that's part of the fun, in a prurient way, but they descibe life in a world I'll never be, in a place that I mostly avoid.  Kinda like HM, sometimes I like to pretend, but it ain't me.  Seems to be him though, and her, and more power to them.  Rev. Mitcz appears to be a comedian with an attitude I would have called punk in the 80s, and his writing evokes actual feelings in the midst of the mayhem.  Similarly Stoya writes and speaks, as well as performs and acts, with what seems awareness and purpose.  In fact they collaborate,  I can find things to admire in both of them.

While the stories themselves have much to find interesting, the bigger picture for me is finding stories about a story in Heavy Metal, and how it informs and even improves my view of the one in HM.  That was fun.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Blues Ratz #1

Blues Ratz #1 is a story about three brothers in a punk rock band, who live with their mom.  It's by Attila Kiss and Greg Woronchak, and published by Scattered Comics.  The band, the Punk Bratz, is struggling, as their drummer has "lost his rhythm", and the story gets complicated fast.  The mom has recruited their Canadian cousin to manage the band, and bringing him up to speed is used to tell some backstory.  She explains that her two older sons have the same name since their father was so drunk he forgot he used the second's name on the first.  The oldest son, the rhythm-less drummer, has the "Hungarian Blues", an obsession that consumes the mind until it's satisfied.  Their father had the "blues" too, his obsession was to see the Hungary soccer team beat England.  And when it happened, he was killed for celebrating by his banned hooligan neighbor.  And then it gets complicated....

Now, like I said, I'm not a big comics fan, and this isn't something I would normally review.  But Attila Kiss, known to me as Intone Flux from the old HM forums, asked me to, and he sent me something else I'll get to later that I liked a bit more, so I agreed.  While I found this work uneven, with some parts not very interesting to me, there were some things that I did like.
The characters are anthromorphic rats, and there's a reference to cats in their world, but otherwise it doesn't seem to have much relevance in the story.  The art is nicely appropriate for a comic, and there are some flashback parts where the images are grayer and softer focus, which is effective but can be kind of murky and hinder the storytelling.  The story itself has several interesting aspects, like past experiences defining characters' present actions, and some funky names, and it has an energetic pace that can be at once engaging and dizzying.  The setting of a London punk band living with their mom, and the subtitle "Never mind the puberty, here's mid life crisis" is both a bit clever and sadly ironic.  The gang tries several ways to cure "the blues" which don't work as intended, and require getting bailed out of jail more than once.  This story ends with a surprise offer of help from someone in their past, and it's to be continued in #s 2 and 3.

So it was fun to read this, and nice of Attila Kiss to think of me and send it.  I'm sure there are plenty of people who would enjoy it, and that may include some who come by here.  So here's where to get it:

Here is the publishers link to Blues Ratz:

Issue #1 available at:

Blues Ratz #2 Trailer:

Issue #2 available (for now only) at:

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Attila Kiss

Back in the late 00's when the Heavy Metal magazine web site had a forum, there was a participant who went by Intone Flux, who was active and prone to frequent comments and long posts on HM, and other topics that could be somewhat related (some were impressively long and supplemented with images and research), and who also started the idea of rating issues and their stories on a 1-10 scale.  I joined in with some regularity, and some others also added to the mix.  When they shut down the forums in 2011 (They suffered from inadequate moderation and multiple spam attacks, and pulled the plug instead of trying to save it.) I was so saddened and annoyed I started this little blog.

I liked IF's forum comments for the insights that were displayed, and despite the use of language that made me think English was not learned first, the fearless enthusiasm for the topics, related to HM or not.  I enjoyed participating in a public opinion forum, and IF's reviews were a chance to join a conversation.  Being a part of something like that, and missing it when it was gone, is why I do this now, so in some part I owe it to Intone Flux.

Since then, Intone Flux has commented here a few times, and contacted me about some other things, including work on actual comics.  Indeed, he's outed himself as Attila Kiss, a contributor to a handful of published comic works.  He's even asked me to review some of them, and I have once, it was in You Are Not Alone in January 2014.  At the time, I hesitated to include a review of YANA, since it wasn't really HM related at all, but because it was such an important topic of resisting and surviving abuse, I agreed, and the post got a good deal of traffic for being on my puny and insignificant blog.  I declined another time ("It's All in the Moon" in Grayhaven Comics "The Gathering"), but, undaunted, he's contacted me again, and this time I agreed to review a couple stories, since I quite liked one, and since I'm impressed enough with his determination and success of actually being published, to show him the respect of an honest review of the work.

So shortly I will put up reviews of The Heart, and Blues Ratz #1, from Scattered Comics, for your interpreting pleasure, and thank IF for thinking of me from those early days of the new millenium, so long ago.  Until then, Attila Kiss exists elsewhere in cyberspace and beyond:

Attila Kiss Fbk

Attila Kiss Twtr

Scattered Comics Profile

Monday, April 30, 2018

Heavy Metal # 289

After excess putzin' around on other topics and things, I'm finally getting to this review.  I noted there were almost three months between this and the previous issue.

Noted as the "Sci-Fi Special", I got the newsstand cover A, "Frontier 2600" by Jonathan La Mantia, a sort of western landscape with a bunch of vector-graphic elements, reminding me of the cover A for # 287, Mass Ritual by Kilian Eng, with some similar elements (as well as a console video game that I think was Battle Zone from the early 80s).  Some interesting features and not embarrasing to take to the store counter.  I'll give it a 6.

This issue is tied to the Heavy Metal AR app, advertised on the inside front cover, where an app-enabled device will bring up "augmented reality" versions of select images in the mag.  I did not get the app, I don't feel like being tracked that way, but there was a short video on the HM Fbook.  As someone who grew up when the phone had a rotary dial and you had to get up to change the channel on the tv, today's tech is astounding, and walking around with hand-held supercomputers is the coolest.  And the graphic techniques available now, compared to the previously mentioned video game for example, are amazing.  But an app that grabs pre-set imagery when it recognizes a picture, isn't too exciting to me.

Mr Morrison's editorial embarks on an intergalactic journey of reworn references and aggressively asserted happiness.  His capacity for word extrusion is astounding, as is his persistence.

"The Door" Chapter 1 by Esau Escorza and Mickael Moreci - 7 - also with Adam Woller and R.G. Llarena.  My impression is mostly favorable, with pretty and technical renderings of a post-something-or-other urban jungle, and a dynamic-reality plotline and a young protagonist who brings to mind some Alice in Wonderland feelings.  In this time of evolved/improved gender and power awareness, the frequent teasing of an up-skirt perspective of the young girl is uncomfortable, especially in the context of her getting misdirection from and misled by the supporting cast of characters.  Her willful resourcefulness may redeem the story, so we'll see if and when Chapter 2 comes around.

"Ten Sounds that Represent a Kind of Person" a Historical Parody by Grant Morrison and Ben Marra - 7 - Ambitious and fanciful, the deification of Bowie continues apace.  Referenced as a mashup of Bowie material in Mr Morrison's editorial, I enjoyed the fuzzy awareness I gained from the transgressive presentation of snippets of Mr Bowie's life and work.

"Neon Wasteland:  An Abstract Manga" by Rob Shields - 6 - I liked the whiffs of Blade Runner and Ghost in the Shell, and the pizza delivery car plopped in the middle was fun to examine.  Overall the digital imagery looked simplistic to me, even unfinished.  This is noted as one of the HM-app-able stories, so I'm missing out on some of its intent.  It's "to be continued" so I'll be interested to see if it's still app-licable in future installments.

"Murky World" Part 2 by Richard Corben - 7 - our protagonist's misadventures continue, in a world where things aren't as they seem.  Which seems ... familiar.  Still great fun to look at, and to look forward to more.

"The Color of Air" Part 6 by Enki Bilal - 8 - The characters inch closer together as their world keeps transforming itself, and the story flirts with parable and allegory, and with more color.  Having Corben and Bilal together seems to add artistic and historical weight to this issue.

Artist Spotlight - Beeple - 7 - With an interview by Rantz Hoseley.  I liked how the art showed various styles and settings with consistently strong execution.  Beeple refers to making a picture a day, which sounds like a lot of work.  Some are pretty dark, I bet those are faster, but I can imagine he's done all kinds of stuff.

"The Chimeran" by Paul Goodenough and Ben Oliver, with Simon Furman and Annie Parkhouse - 7 - I liked the art enough, on the sketchy side for me perhaps, but it was nicely composed and succeeded in showing action and introspection.  The premise is kinda out there, an experimental community of man and chimeran, where a chimeran appears to be a humanoid-canine hybrid or such.  The chimeran we see is charged as a child's companion, but suffers abuse from others, as well as from feelings of inadequacy.  The storytelling is painfully compelling.  It's impressive how well it conveys emotions from the view of a creature whose humanity is perhaps less than ours?  Or is it?  This installment finishes with "The Start of the End", so perhaps there's more?

"The Womb" by Tony Leonard - 7 - Near as I can tell, this is about some space-future-time proto-human transdimensional birthing facility.  With art that looks hand-drawn and made me think of Druillet sometimes, lines like "proto-embryonic flux, maintained!" and an abundance of sound effects, it puts on a frenzied pace.  Pretty fun though.  And it ends, "A new adventure, in the psycho-verse.." and I can't tell if we'll see more or not.

Gallery with Rob Shields - 6 - More app-fodder here apparently.  There's much to like, some imagination, some retro-future street-punk aesthetic, certainly some neon colors.  I think the rather static style of the digital art works better here in a gallery than in the creator's previous story.

An ad for the Taarna comic.  Don't know if I'll ever see this one.  Maybe I should actually go look.  Did you see the Frank Cho "Arzach meets Taarna" on HM twitter?  Now that was funny, on several levels.

Happy!  An interview with Grant Morrison by Rantz Hoseley.  Mr Morrison talks about a tv show he wrote.  I haven't seen it and may not ever, and essentially interviewing himself in "his" mag about "his" tv show is kinda self-serving, but I guess I won't let it bother me.

An ad for a "49th Key" book is followed by an inside the back cover ad for the Iron Maiden video game, followed by a back cover ad for Mr Morrison's Happy!  None of this interests me, but I suppose more ads is better if you run a magazine.

I see I'm mostly staying in my lane as far as my ratings of this issue.  I mostly liked most of the stuff, every now and then something stands out that I enjoy more.  I think that goes to the relative consistency of the mag and its content over these couple years of the Morrison era.  Hoping the future brings us more like it.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Richard Corben's Neverwhere

I saw this on Rod Kierkegaard's twitter.  I had heard of this early Corben work but here I got to see the actual short film for the first time:

Richard Corben's Neverwhere

It's certainly remarkable.  I can marvel at the look back almost 50 years ago, and imagine what it took him to make this at the time, be amazed by the amazing hand drawn animation, and see where his Den came from.  I can also find amusement in things that were uneven or clunky or silly, and overlook things that weren't even funny.  That, and that it's come to my attention in my advanced years, right when there's Corben in the mag again.  Wow man.

Mr. Corben is still around too.  Check him out and buy his stuff whenever possible.


Sunday, February 25, 2018

Dean Haspiel

So you may know, as I do, that Dean Haspiel is a creator who's been in a few HM issues recently, #281, #284, #285.  Perhaps you know, which I didn't right away, that he's a busy NYC based award winning artist, with a great deal of work out there, including some free web series about New Brooklyn, The Red Hook and War Cry (it looks like The Red Hook is getting printed too). 

But did you know he's also a playwright?  Late last year Haspiel's "Harakiri Kane" was produced at the Brick Theater in Brooklyn, he's called it an "existential gore noir".  This year, his "Last Bar at the End of the World", "with a twist of metaphysical, and is about troubled people reckoning with lost love and the sages in their lives" is coming to life this spring.  This info and a good deal more is on his website

It's notable that in both plays, Stoya is featured.  She and Mr Haspiel collaborated on "One Such Partner" in HM #281, apparently they were introduced by one of the HM execs.  Ms Stoya is an accomplished performer and creator as well, with much of her work of an adult variety.

It sounds kinda interesting, I might even see it if it wasn't in effin' NYC.  But there's an indiegogo fundraising page, so one could throw money that way for a piece of the action  But for now I'll just enjoy these and other flimsy connections to HM magazine as they touch the little world around me.