Today’s Favorite Magazine From The V1N1 Collection: Heavy Metal

Another “blast” from my personal  past and another happy discovery on the newsstand (and another magazine I purchased 2 copies of – because the news seller only had two on the stand).

Let me share a little bit of my process back then.  1977 was my HS graduation year and, given the month of publication, I was still working on getting out of HS and into college.  I had had a driver’s license for almost two years, but still had to ask permission to use one of the family cars.  (My nickname among my mother’s bridge club members was “Crash” Davidson, because a year before I’d nearly totalled one of the cars while delivering fanzines, so that will give you some clue.)

There was a fine news and tobacco shop within a couple of miles of my home – I could bike there fairly easily if I had to (and I did when necessary), but I liked taking the car because –

The routine, about once a month, was to gather up all savings (I think I was working as a busboy at that stage) a hitting the news shop for the latest issues and a box of chocolate covered cherries.  Then I’d sit in the car, magazines and cherries beside me, happily waiting for the chocolate domes to melt as I flipped pages to see what I was going to read first.

Purchases typically included Galaxy, Analog, Amazing, F&SF, Fantastic, maybe the latest Asimov’s, maybe one or two of those media-tie in titles.  Generally, every genre title that budget permitted.

And on that particular day of 1977, whatever day it was, Heavy Metal –

Naturally, the tagline “The Adult Illustrated Fantasy Magazine” was enticing as well, especially as I was a relatively newly-minted “adult”.

The tie-in here is, of course, that Ted White (still editing Amazing and Fantastic at the time) would eventually become editor of Heavy Metal.

That cover, by Jean-Michel Nicollet, was, I think, the first time we’d seen robots depicted in this fashion, at least on the cover of a magazine.  I find the attention to detail to be excellent.  The female “demon” bot even comes equipped with stiletto heels!

I’d come to learn that “Heavy Metal” was the chosen translation from the French magazine it was patterned on – “Metal Hurlant”, which I think would be more accurately translated as “Howling/Screaming Metal”, “Hurtling Metal”, “Flying Metal”, Shrapnel, if you will, but Heavy Metal works and perhaps offered some tie in to the world of rock-n-roll at the time.

The first issue of Metal Hurlant, from 1974. (Not in the V1N1 collection.)

It was promoted as being “from the people who brought you National Lampoon”, so you knew you were in for an interesting, irreverent ride.

The first issues largely featured translated stories from the French editions, with artwork from artists that had not received a lot of attention in the US.  The illustrations were eye-opening.

Eventually it would see stories and adaptations by English-language authors, introduce us to the artwork of Moebius and Richard Corben.

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