Mar 17, 2017

The 40 Years of Comics Project Friday Magazine 5: Heavy Metal v.31 #4, September 2007

Much like Creepy, Heavy Metal lurks on the periphery of my comics reading consciousness, though perhaps a little more prevalently. In this I mean I'm far more familiar with the magazine and its content than I was with Creepy, though I could probably count on...well, perhaps both hands and feet the number of issues I've read. The film from the early 80s was one of my formative pieces of movie watching, and perhaps one of the first things I ever watched that was explicitly sexual. I still have fond memories, though it's been ages since I've seen it and I'm not sure if it holds up.

Today's magazine was pretty good. I chose it at random from a huge collection of the magazine that I was fortunate enough to pick up a few years back. This collection ranges all the way back to the second issue printed of the magazine, back in 1977, and finishes up around 2008. It's by no means complete, but it offers a lovely selection of the kinds of European comics that were finding their way into North America over the last 3 decades. I have to say, despite having admitted to having read little of the magazine previously, that this issue was pretty standard Heavy Metal fare. The feature story, "The Golden Age," was okay, though I found the artwork a little muddy for my tastes. There were panels in there within which I simply could not identify what was going on. "Fragments from the Encyclopedia Of Dolphins" was a bit more "Euro," written and drawn by Prado, and offered some commentary on the perils of intolerance that is more relevant that is comfortable in our current, perilous times.

The story that stood out the most to me was "He Only Rides By Night," a Western-Horror story taking up a scant few pages in the magazine. It had a lovely atmosphere to it, and told a tale much in the tradition of Gaiman's Sandman stories in which Morpheus was simply a background character, as much setting as the environments themselves. I'm going to keep an eye our for more from Adrian Sibar and Josef Rother.

What's exciting about delving into this collection, and the Creepy magazines that were also a part of that purchase, is finding a corner of the comics universe that I've never really explored before. I had worried that trying to maintain a weekly magazine, as well as the graphic novel, as well as the daily comic, as well as other features, as well as, you know, stuff I actually have to do for work, would be too much. But discovery is reward in and of itself sometimes.


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