Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Heavy Metal # 291

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


Image may contain: 2 people, people on stage and text


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 johannastickland.com which links to an IGram and Tmblr, but oddly doesn't appear to link to the sales site at johannastickland.bigcartel.com (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.



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