Thursday, December 3, 2015

Epic Illustrated December 1985

Epic Illustrated
December, 1985 No. 33

Issue 33 of Epic Illustrated, released in December 1985, was the next-to-last issue of the magazine, which had debuted in the Spring of 1980. 

In his answers to letter-writers aggrieved over the cancellation, Editor Archie Goodwin was cryptic about the reason for the magazine's ending, but it was quite evident that Epic, which was birthed as an effort by Marvel to capture some of the readership of Heavy Metal, had never really succeeded as an alternative to that magazine. This was due to Goodwin's less than inspired editorship, and to the fact that Marvel's management was reluctant to run the explicit t-n-a and violent content that so engaged the stoner fans of Heavy Metal.

Indeed, looking at the contents of the December 1985 issue of Epic, one is struck by the presence of too much material  that tries to achieve either a kind of offbeat, kooky humor ( 'Dr. Watchstop','Snicker's - That's Entertainment'), or instead a faux-profound Sense of Artistry ('Ein Heldenstraum') that, either way, comes across as insipid and trite.

There are, however, some good stories in this issue of Epic Illustrated, and one of them is 'Fish Story', by Mike Baron (plot) and John Totleben (art). I've posted it below.


fred said...

Interesting how the end of Epic nearly coincided with the end of Heavy Metal's run as a monthly magazine with the December 1985 issue. I thought Heavy Metal was losing steam since the 1981 movie was released, and it's amazing it survived until Kevin Eastman bought it in 1992, and that he kept it alive, for better or worse, when it probably should have gone the way of shag haircuts and cassette walkmans.

Edo Bosnar said...

Hard to judge now, as I haven't gone back and read any issues of Heavy Metal or Epic, but I do recall that I had the opposite opinion about these two magazines at the time. Back in the early '80s I was a pre-teen and then early teen, and the few times I picked up either of these magazines I usually preferred Epic to HM. Also, Epic generally lacked the pretentious, Rolling Stone-wannabe text pieces that seemed to be a mainstay of HM back then.

malarts said...

I remember being blown away by the giant octopus splash page. I was young when I left regular monthlies behind for Epic Illustrated, Heavy Metal, Fantagraphics books...Savage Tales..
Thanks for posting this, quick afternoon trip down memory lane