Sunday, September 9, 2012

'Heavy Metal' magazine September 1982

It’s September 1982, and on FM radio, Pete Townshend’s solo album ‘All the Best Cowboys Have Chinese Eyes’ is in heavy rotation.

The single ‘Slit Skirts’, still one of Townshend’s best songs, gets the video treatment on MTV. It’s a welcome relief from all the Joan Jett and Toni Basil videos…..and it's a great video, with plenty of New Wave visual style, including the noir-ish lighting effects, and the tee shirts with Asian ideographs printed on them worn by some of the band members. 

Also noteworthy is the video from another 'Chinese Eyes' track, 'Face Dances Part 2'. The crude animatronics featured in the video are genuinely........ disturbing....

The September issue of Heavy Metal is on the stands, featuring a front cover by Michael Gross, and a back cover by Berni Wrightson.

This is one of the better HM issues of the year.

The Dossier features the usual opinionated content…. Lou Stathis, in his ‘Rok Music’ review, takes aim at guitar-centered performers, with some praise for Tom Verlaine, Ritchie Blackmore, Phil Manzanera, and the San Francisco band ‘Toiling Midgets’. There are some Midgets songs available at YouTube; standard-issue L.A. region punk tunes.

Other Rok critics in the Dossier: Jon Tiven castigates Van Halen, declaring them already washed up with the release of Diver Down. And Merle Ginsberg waxes enthusiastic over 'dissonant' art-rock, typified by newcomers Sonic Youth, and their '...urban mutant sound', and a group called Red Decade, founded by an artiste named Jules Baptiste. 

HM editorial staffer Brad Balfour demonstrates he can write as badly as Stathis, Tiven, and Ginsberg, declaring that the group Material " more assiduously steeped in a proto-apocalyptic ethos." What exactly this means, is not at all clear, but hey, it sounds very knowledgeable......

There is a brief but very readable interview with sf author Thomas M Disch, who looks suspiciously similar to Robin Leach.

And a laudatory examination of the artwork of the video game ‘Tempest’: my favorite game of the arcade era, in fact. 

The comics section of the September issue provides continuing installments of Corben’s ‘Den II’, Wrightson and Jones’s ‘Freak Show’, Duillet’s ‘Yragael’, ‘Zora’ by Fernandez, and ‘The Voyage of Those Forgotten’ by Christin and Bilal.

Richard Lupoff contributes an essay, ‘Barsoom !’ that examines the continued success of Burroughs’s ‘Mars’ novels on the pop culture consciousness. Ably illustrated by Clyde Caldwell, whose artwork verges on just the right note of self-parody, this essay is enjoyable reading.

There is also another installment of Jeff Jones’s ‘I’m Age’, a strange, one-page-at-a-time series that features a nude woman talking to herself, as well as to the flowers. Why editor Julie Simmons-Lynch persists in running this strip is not at all clear; ‘I’m Age’ is too creepy to be titillating fodder for the stoners making up most of the Readership. Revelations about the underlying psychology of ‘I’m Age’ came later, in the late 90s, when Jones decided to undergo a sex change operation to become a woman (‘Catherine Jones’)… !

Perhaps the best piece in the September issue is ‘Object’, a black and white contribution from New Zealand’s Mike Hinge (1931 – 2003). I’ve posted it below.

I have previously posted one of Hinge’s amazing color comics, ‘….Rears Its Ugly Green Head’, a collaboration with Neal Adams, from the July 1979 issue of HM. ‘Objects’ is just as distinctive and imaginative.

Unfortunately, the bulk of Hinge’s graphics work has never been compiled, save for the 1973 volume ‘1 Hinge: The Mike Hinge Experience’, copies of which sell for a starting price of $75. A new book, compiling his entire corpus, would be ideal….. 

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