Jun 30, 2017

The 40 Years of Comics Project Friday Magazine 14: Heavy Metal v.9 #6, September 1985


What I'm going to have to do with these Heavy Metal magazines is read the earlier ones, such as this one, in some kind of order. Before taking on the format that the magazine has now, it was a far more serially-driven publication. Thus one of today's stories is "Tex Arcana" part 23. While the individual pieces of each story do tell some kind of semi-complete narrative, without the context of the surrounding parts of the narrative, it's hard to say whether the story was good or bad.

I'm also going to state outright, as I don't think I have before, that I'll only be reading the comics pieces in Heavy Metal. While the text articles are interesting, I'm not sure I need to be reading reviews of 30-year old video games and films, at least not for this particular project. It also allows me to actually get a magazine read in the time I set aside for it each week.

Some bizarre bits and pieces in today's issue, many of which I didn't really understand (that whole context thing), and others that were obtuse, but intentionally so. The thing that always strikes me about Heavy Metal is the variety of art styles. There's no such thing, as far as I can tell, as a "house style" for HM, in the same way that we might think about such a style for Marvel or DC at particular times in their histories. While the artists within the magazine all come from particular traditions of comics, those traditions don't seem to dictate a particular illustrative style, but rather a series of technical guides within which an artist can experiment. Just like a sonnet, the comic is a very structured creative mode (page, panel, speech bubble, etc.), and the key to innovation is to push at the boundaries of those structures. The Heavy Metal artists are very, very good at this.


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