Heavy Metal

Unearthed: Heavy Metal #1

Continuing on with our look at comics that we WON’T mock, we come to the infamous French comics collection Metal Hurlant, or as it came to be known in the United States, Heavy Metal!

I guarantee you, nobody in the US had ever seen anything like this when it hit the stands in 1977. And while it may have been surpassed in the intervening years by stories that were more graphic and extreme, really nothing can capture the extreme weirdness of these early tales.

And just as a feel for the times, here’s an ad for a science fiction book club. Herbert’s in there, Asimov, Niven, Pohl… hell, I’d join this book club NOW.

And then THIS bit of psychedelia hits your eyeballs, and you know you’re not in Kansas anymore.

And THEN… FULL FRONTAL MALE NUDITY! Dammit, I love the French. Welcome to the meaty art of Richard Corben. He always draws the THICKEST people.

But also, look at this amazing panel. Despite its solidity, it still communicates emptiness. Not going to go into more of the story… you’ll have to find a collection somewhere and just dissolve into it.

Following Den would be difficult for any story, so why not just give readers this bit of nonsense?

… yeah. From the sublime to the stupid in .5 seconds. That’s Heavy Metal.

And just when you think you’ve figured out the tone this magazine’s trying to go for, you get this hyper-realistic rendering style.

I mean, holy crap, it’s gorgeous.

Seriously. LOOK AT IT.

The textures, the chiaroscuro, the linework… just amazing.

But hey, you wanna talk about TEXTURE, give it up for Moebius (or Jean Giraud, as his mother knows him). This is jaw-droppingly wonderful stuff.

Over the course of his career he slid easily between drama and humor, realism and fantasy, and it all looked just incredible.

Also, and I’m not certain of this, I believe he’s using watercolors most of the time, which is a whole other level of mastery.

I’d put this on my wall.

And it’s not just crosshatching or stippling, either; there’s variance of line weight in there too. It’s just so subtle you might not consciously notice it.

And then he hits you with the absurd. And that’s Moebius. This won’t be the last time we get to see his work, trust me.

Let’s throw in one last ridiculously detailed robot, and call it a day.

Join us on Friday for Heavy Metal #2!