Tag: HEAVY METAL

With Further Ado #96: Heavy Metal – Your One Way Ticket To Midnight

With Further Ado #96: Heavy Metal – Your One Way Ticket To Midnight

Way back in the 80s, when I was in college, it wasn’t really cool to read comics. Of course, I didn’t stop reading them. Occasionally, I’d lend my comics to my classmates so they could read them, but for the most parts, Marvel-type superheroes were viewed as silly or childish by many college students.

It’s funny, but I still remember having to scold Brian Winke (he lived down the hallway of dormitory) when he bent back the cover of my copy of Avengers #217.  I gave him a friendly lesson on the tragedy of spine roll and how it destroyed the condition of comic.   Clearly, comics were important to me, cool or not.

The one comic that I was never paused to read ‘in public’ was Heavy Metal. It was filled with strong art and adult themes.  Although, to be fair, “adult themes” often translated simply to excessive violence and topless robot girls.

The story I really enjoyed back then was Jim Steranko’s adaptation of Outland. That was a science fiction movie starring Sean Connery that was essentially High Noon in space.  It was serialized over a few issues, and Steranko was delivering stunning top-of-his-game pages each and every time.

But I inevitably drifted away from Heavy Metal over the years. Somehow, I’d categorize it as something adjacent to comics, but not really include it as part of my core comics purchases.

Now, in 2020, that might all change.  There’s a new sheriff in town.  Matt Medney is the new Chief Executive Officer of Heavy Metal. I caught up with him and he pulled back the curtain to share his vision and his plans for Heavy Metal. Continue reading “With Further Ado #96: Heavy Metal – Your One Way Ticket To Midnight”

Spotlight Interview with Comic Writer Stephanie Phillips

Spotlight Interview with Comic Writer Stephanie Phillips

Hey Folks!

Welcome back to another spotlight interview.

During our practice of social distancing, we are still able to talk to comic pros and bring those conversations to you. The discussion we are bringing you this time is with comic writer Stephanie Phillips.

Stephanie has burst on the comics scene in the last few years. She wrote an original graphic novel that was backed on Kickstarter called Kicking Ice. From there she has written Devil Within at Black Mask Studios, Descendant and Artemis and the Assassin at Aftershock Comics, and The Butcher of Paris at Dark Horse Comics. She also had a story in the DC Comics anthology Crimes of Passion.

She has a few of new series that have been announced, including A Man Among Ye from Image Comics , Red Atlantis from Aftershock, and a new comic starring Taarna from Heavy Metal.

We had an entertaining conversation ranging from dealing with life in the world of coronavirus to her career and writing process.

The completed audio recording is below, but we transcribed some of the most important parts for you as well.

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Pop Culture Squad:  Thanks for being here. I want to say to the listeners that this interview was supposed to happen in person at ITHACON45 where we were both going to be guests, but obviously that and all other cons have been cancelled for the foreseeable, but hopefully not too distant, future.

On that topic, before we get to your amazing comic books, what can you share about how the coronavirus pandemic has impacted your life, both in comics or not if you want?

Stephanie Phillips:  Yeah, I mean I think it’s a really weird time for everyone, in most industries, but I think we are just going to see a lot of different changes to the way comics work. Thankfully, I know that we are all going to keep making comics, I have had some hopeful calls with publishers; people are willing to just kind of forge ahead and work things out. Make new trails if we have to, but those of us in the industry, I know we are kind of here to stay. However we keep making comics, I know we will keep making those. I know things are really messy and frustrating right now, but we are going to keep kind of making stuff, creating things because it’s kind of what we do. I think at the end we will have at least really good content to share with the world. Continue reading “Spotlight Interview with Comic Writer Stephanie Phillips”

What the heck is happening at Heavy Metal? Or Deadspin or media in general?

On Tuesday, a week after CEO Jeff Krelitz’s departure was announced, an editor at Heavy Metal made public her reasons for leaving the company and we learned that Heavy Metal doesn’t have an HR Department.

The spectres Hannah Means-Shannon raises with naming her reasons for leaving are troubling. The idea that a company is trying to lockdown materials they do not own is a questionable practice in and of itself, but the additional pressure that was brought to bear creating a toxic work environment for Ms. Means-Shannon may belie an even more worrisome corporate culture at work at the Heavy Metal offices…

Continue reading “What the heck is happening at Heavy Metal? Or Deadspin or media in general?”

Continued After the Next Page #009: Conversation with John Workman – An Oral History of Comics

Last summer, as we were getting this site up and going, one of the first things that I did was reach out to legendary comic letterer and artist John Workman. I had met him at a couple of conventions in the past, and he had told me some interesting stories about how comics were made in the 1970’s and 1980’s. I felt that the stories were amazing insights into the world of comic making, and I wanted to get all the details so that we could share those incredible stories with all of you.

My intent for our initial interview was to clarify some details he had told me about making Thor in the 80’s with Walter Simonson. What ended up happening was an almost two-hour conversation and a truly life changing event for me. I clipped out a little bit of our conversation for a column last year called When Thor Road the Bus.

Before I get too far along, I must say that John Workman is one of the nicest people that I have ever met. He is thoughtful, considerate, inquisitive, and incredibly talented. Since our initial phone conversation, John and I have spoken a couple of more times over the phone, and my wife and I spent a lovely afternoon with John and his wife Cathy at their home last November. He has become a regular email pen pal of mine. I consider John a friend, and I am lucky for it.

The purpose of this article is to share with the world some of the amazing things that we spoke about. The topics range from the page counts for comics in the 70’s to his time at Heavy Metal. There are some funny stories about Harlan Ellison and Wally Wood. There is the tale of the “Lost Mignola Batman Story”, and much more. So hang on and I will try my best to navigate all this history and bring it into the world so that we can all share in its wonder.

Jeannette Kahn and Dollar Comics

I had mentioned to John that the title to my column on PCS would be called “Continued After the Next Page” as a throwback to comic days of yesteryear. He broke out into some pretty cool comics production history.

John Workman: I worked at DC from 1975 to 1977 before I went to work at Heavy Metal. During that time, as had been true since the early 1950s, there were thirty-six pages [thirty- two interior and four for the front and back covers] in a regular comic book. Of those pages, somewhere over 20 (27 in the ’60s) were devoted to actual comics material with the rest being made up of a combination of paid ads and “house ads” that let readers know about other DC publications. Shortly after I arrived at DC, the number of comics pages dropped to seventeen, and I remember two things that we had to do. We [the production department] had to white-out all the pages numbers down in the corner so people would be a little less aware that they were only getting seventeen pages of comics, and we had to go in a lot and put in “Continued After Next” or “Second Page” or whatever, because the seventeen pages of comic material was broken up by more ads. There were a lot of in-house ads to fill out the issue because seventeen pages was only one more than the total number of pages in a book.

I was shocked at this and felt the need to clarify Continue reading “Continued After the Next Page #009: Conversation with John Workman – An Oral History of Comics”