Tuesday, April 7, 2009
May 09 - Perfect 10?
I've boarded the plane back to the states after my visit with Stefano Cardoselli and his beautiful wife Rita Gorgoni. You may know them better as Azurek Studios, who (along with the rest of their staff) are multiple contributors to Heavy Metal. Although I've learned a great deal about the couple and their work, my visit was not business. As a vacation this was not so bad. Stefano and Rita are not only partners in business but in music as well. I'll be reporting later about their band, for which Stefano is the drummer and Rita sings. As a drummer myself it thrilled me to no end and I had a great visit.
On the extensive flight I seem to be alone. My Italian is no good. I appreciate and have a great respect and love for the culture, but my language skills are not the best. So on the trip back home it's a good thing I've plenty to keep me busy.
One very important bit of business for me is the launch of the website for the magazine ROCKnROLL GraphiX, which I've promoted like crazy and people are probably sick of hearing about. The work was left to the site's designer, R. Douglas Ezell and after some delays it was uploaded to the web on April 1st. Truth is there are still a few kinks to work out here and there but overall reception has been positive.
I don't want to work right now. Isn't a flight considered part of a vacation? Good thing I happen to have a copy of the May 2009 HM issue to help me escape the lure of work.
Let me say this right now: I sincerely hope this issue will be in the running for the ranking of a perfect 10 at the end of the year. May 2009 is quite possibly one of the best issues I've read in a long time. It's as close to perfect as an adult fantasy magazine can get. Starting with the cover by Michael Calandra we know this is classic Metal for the new century. For the second time this year I am reminded of Wolf Mother - Rumina, the mother of Romulus and Remus. Yet this image evokes the power of a witch with a strong wolf as her familiar. And these thoughts are what the cover of a copy of Heavy Metal are all about. Fantasy to fuel the imagination.
Did I mention perfect art? Turning the cover and entering the hefty mag I'm struck with a fantastic gallery from Ural Ukyuz, an artist who reminds me just a bit of Dave Stevens. I'm sure some won't see it. But I do. Right off the bat, from the turn of the cover, I know this issue is going to feature some of the best and most imaginative art HM has published in its long history. And Ukyuz is a good start.
I'm a fan of Dossier by S.C. Ringgenberg and I hope to write about him here. I'd like to bring you an exclusive someday. Dossier was close to my heart this issue. Ringgenberg was the man who reminded me that the above mentioned Dave Stevens gave us back Bettie Page. Here he brings to our attention an important book on the artist's life and works. Brush With Passion: The Life and Art of Dave Stevens. But it's his commentary on Bettie Page and her own admiration for Stevens that got to me most. Page said of Stevens, "My best friend, bar none." High praise from the Queen of Hearts.
False Gods by Santiago Casares and Miguel Mora is something you might have seen in the original Heavy Metal movie. An adventurer lands on an alien world and claims himself a god before the insectoid lifeforms. His claim is a boastful invitation to dinner.
But it's Requiem, the big graphic novel by the creative team of Pat Mills, Olivier Ledroit, Jacques Collin and Anne Drano that is the star of this issue. If you've never seen Requiem you may not get its humor or even what it's all about. I assure you this is not your run of the mill indie comic that you would see here in the states. This is graphic violence, sexual situations, irony and sarcasm. Requiem, the Vampire Knight, is searching for his beloved and nothing will get in his way. Not even death! Just when you think the story is complete you turn the page and the story itself takes a turn. Excellent story-telling from Pat Mills. And Ledroit's art once again spills off the pages and threatens to sink into your soul and demand a confession. Just the way I like my heresy.
A perfect edition of Heavy Metal would not be complete without a contribution from Stefano Cardoselli. Killer Ball is an intergalactic game of death. Imagine Death Race as football and you may get the idea. Killer Ball is the Superbowl of comic book violence. Something only Maestro Cardoselli and the staff at Azurek Studios could bring us.
There is so much more that makes May 2009 a near perfect issue. I'm talking "classic" Metal. I don't want to ruin it for you. If you have not picked up a copy in a long time, claiming you've lost faith in Kevin Eastman; if you've never read HM before; if you've only glanced at previous issues; if you don't have a subscription but would like to - I'm telling you, THIS is the issue to renew your love and restore your faith. This is the issue to start your life long obsession with. And this is certainly the issue to justify buying a subscription. No excuses!