Once upon a time there was a French comics magazine named Heavy Metal. It was an anthology title filled with beautiful art, often incomprehensible stories, graphic violence, and lots and lots of naked men and women. It went away in the good old U.S.A.
Then there was a French and American comics magazine named Metal Hurlant. It was also filled with beautiful art, but most stories were understandable and enjoyable, and the violence and sex was toned down a bit. It went away as well.
The eighth issue explored an American icon resurrected in the future only to be doomed by uselessness, a world where zombies are a commonplace nuisance, and a knight intent on slaying a dragon that is a little less and a little more than he appears.
Yes, there are three incomprehensible stories; all are possibly chapters in continued stories. Intriguing art does not save them from obscurity. A simple summary of what had gone before sure would have helped otherwise befuddled readers.
The art, wildly divergent from story to story, is all excellent.
Although Metal Hurlant is again extinct, there is much to recommend past issues to adult readers who aren't offended by crass language, nudity, and blood. This series, however, was never for children.
R. A. Jones is one of the writers in this issue of Metal Hurlant. He is a member of the Oklahoma Cartoonists Hall of Fame.
Editor's note: Métal Hurlant was the original name of the French anthology published in the 1970s. The publishers of the American editon, Heavy Metal had a license to publish the material in Métal Hurlant. The latest version of Heavy Metal/Métal hurlant was published as a joint venture in bothe Europe and North America. The volume reviewed above is part of that venture.