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Heavy Metal

Entry updated 10 November 2021. Tagged: Comics, Film, Publication.

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Glossy letter-size US colour Comic-strip magazine inspired by the French magazine Métal Hurlant and initially reprinting English-language versions of mainly sf and fantasy material from this and other French, Italian and Spanish sources alongside similar matter by select US contributors. Published monthly April 1977-December 1985, quarterly from the Winter (i.e., January) 1986 issue and then bimonthly from March 1989, Heavy Metal built a reputation for high quality in both presentation and content; in an editorial during 1985 it claimed a readership of over two million. Monthly issues carried serialized material in episodes of varying length, causing an often uncomfortable segmentation of some stories; the change to quarterly publication introduced a policy of presenting only complete stories and full-length Graphic Novels.

Heavy Metal's list of contributors reads like a roster of the world's best artists and writers of comic-strip sf, and the following is only a selection: Julie Bell (who made her sf cover art debut in the January 1992 issue), Enki Bilal, Vaughn Bodé, Caza, Howard V Chaykin, Richard Corben, Guido Crepax, Philippe Druillet, Fernando Fernandez, Juan Giminez, Jean Giraud (Moebius), Matt Howarth, Jeff Jones, Rod Kierkegaard, Tanino Liberatore, Milo Manara, Georges Pichard, José Ribera, Aleuteri Serpieri, Jacques Tardi, Daniel Torres and Bernie Wrightson. In addition to the regular issues there have been several dozen "Specials", including Son of Heavy Metal (1983), Heavy Metal's Even Heavier Metal (1984), Bride of Heavy Metal (1986) and Best of Heavy Metal (1986). The specials continue on a twice-a-year schedule. Heavy Metal has also published a line of Graphic Novels, most of which previously appeared as serials in the magazine, and has more recently started selling digital downloads of a few of its art books. In 1992, the magazine was acquired by Kevin Eastman, co-creator of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles; he remains its editor and publisher.

The animated film Heavy Metal (1981) directed by Gerald Potterton displayed animated improvisations on themes and characters featured in Heavy Metal. A second animated film, Heavy Metal 2000 (2000), was based on a graphic novel by Eastman and artist Simon Bisley. A live-action sequel, Heavy Metal's Burning Chrome, was planned but never realized. [RT/JP]


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