Tuesday, January 6, 2015

40th Anniversary of Metal Hurlant!

My fav cover from Druillet
At a loss for material to review after the holidays, I thought I would do something a bit different. As some may know, Humanoids has been conducting a little countdown to the Metal Hurlant 40th Anniversary Cover. However not everyone knows the story behind Metal Hurlant and Heavy Metal. Much of the back story is lost on North Americans who know Metal Hurlant (Howling Metal) as Heavy Metal Magazine. So here's a little summary:

In 1974, French artists  Jean Giraud (Mœbius) and Philippe Druillet got together with journalist-writer Jean-Pierre Dionnet and financial director Bernard Farkas. They titled their publishing house as Les Humanoides Associes. At first, the magazine was a quarterly release but after growing popularity and stability the magazine began to release bi-monthly. However in 1987 the publications stopped, not to resume until 2001.

How did this magazine make it to North America? So many of us remember reading these books in secret as thirsty teens and peeking at the adult themes inside. A sort of silent rebelling in the interest preemptively gaining of carnal knowledge. We can thank a man named Leonard Mogel who was a publisher visiting Paris to see if he could get a French version of National Lampoon off the ground. That's when he noticed Metal Hurlant and in April 1977 North America got it's first monthly issue of Heavy Metal Magazine.
First Heavy Metal Mag in North America

Over the years ownership of the title has exchanged hands and for a time, Kevin Eastman (Ninja Turtles) held that ownership. Last January he sold his ownership but continued to serve as publisher. Sadly the label has had ups and downs over the years resulting to a cut back from monthly to quarterly due to budget costs. We can probably blame a few other things on all that as well but I can only speculate. I don't know the REAL story behind it all. Maybe I should go bother Kevin Eastman.

What has Heavy Metal Magazine & Metal Hurlant meant to you? Metal Hurlant is gearing up to celebrate their 40th anniversary with a special issue. They did so much for adult comics and exposed so many artists to a larger audience they might never have had access to otherwise. Who did you discover in Heavy Metal or Metal Hurlant? What are you're favorite covers and why?! I would like to hear some stories!