I’ve been going through the 80’s Heavy Metal issues one storyline at a time instead of digesting the whole issue at once. I find I lose track of some storylines, or skip some episodes because I get really into another storyline and rush through the issue to read more of it.
On this re-read, I’m reminded that I really like the Den II Dramite storyline.
A lot of early Heavy Metal storylines that really stuck with me over the years were about transformations and weird malleable otherwordly things, and the body horror of alien “pregnancy” (the last of which which is the heart of Den II). The alien pregnancy theme comes up often, which isn’t that surprising as this is the same era as the original “Alien” movie. Corben’s obsession with drawing tiddies is strong here too, but I expect that from Heavy Metal.
A lot of the artists and stories in early Heavy Metal are about out of control metamorphosis. I need to keep this stuff in mind when bringing up mutation in Warhammer – I fail to do this when dealing with the violent and somehow “structured” forms of mutation in the game.
I want to make an effort to put a lot of these storylines, at least in concept, into my games (much how Zzarchov brings in a lot of pop culture elements and other games into his home campaigns).
The “Conquering Armies” from the first year or two of Heavy Metal; the weird pregnancies and armies of Dramites from Den II, and of course Corben’s weird nightmares manifest in “Bloodstar” (a rewrite of a Robert E Howard story and probably the world’s first graphic novel to actually call itself such – although my discovery of it was through the episodic version that appeared later in Heavy Metal); the weird and yet somehow peaceful horrific transformations in some of Moebius’ work from the same era (which then leads me into the Incal storyline illustrated by Moebius and written by Alejandro Jodorowsky).
In short, there’s not enough Heavy Metal in my games.
As a footnote, last time I did a big dig through Heavy Metal, I wrote up a series of posts for using the Heavy Metal movie as the setting for a Mutant Future campaign. You can find those posts here:
I was a subscriber from Issue One. I’m not a fan of Corben’s art, but there was plenty of other stuff for me to enjoy. (Although I scanned through Airtight Garage every time eagerly anticipating JC appearances that never materialized.)
If you haven’t heard of it, Ultraviolet Grasslands should fit right into your urge to game Heavy Metal magazine. Dibs on a player slot if you decide to run it!
The playlist for Ultraviolet Grasslands, from the author: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL1CCI2wbN8ijD92aRHs_RyyRDV9NKr0G7
For what it’s worth, the first use of the phrase “graphic novel” was as a marketing term to describe Will Eisner’s Contract With God.
P.D. Magnus said:
Although I guess Bloodstar was earlier?
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