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Preview of Heavy Metal 289, the Sci-Fi Special (on Sale Now!)

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It is the year 2018. All the Replicant Incept Dates have passed. The actual year 2001 wasn’t full of stars like the movie version. We maniacs left no statuary sunk on a sandy beach after blowing it up. There was no Great Quake of ’97. Scramble Suits and SQUID discs never became a thing. Oddly, we can all agree that Orwell’s 1984 was prophetic—though we take up opposite positions as to exactly how and why (but maybe that’s just the proof).

Cover A: FRONTIER 2600 by JONATHAN LA MANTIA jonathanlamantia.com

Cover A: FRONTIER 2600 by JONATHAN LA MANTIA jonathanlamantia.com

Science Fiction is risky business, with so many fictional futures failing to measure up, or even happen at all. Who would wade into these waters anymore?

Cover B: SAME OLD FEARS by SVEN SAUER

Cover B: SAME OLD FEARS by SVEN SAUER

We would, as we always have. Heavy Metal #289, the Sci-Fi Special that hit stores Wednesday, wades into the waters, dives into them, in fact, with an opening reminiscence from Grant Morrison, our fearless Editor in Chief. It is titled “Editorial” and you’ll note that it is dated the “9870035678th of Galactobruary.”

Cover C: (the artist) by RYAN BROWN

Cover C: (the artist) by RYAN BROWN

Where to get Heavy Metal 289: Comics shops, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, and the Heavy Metal Online Store:
Issue #289 Cover A – Jonathan La Mantia
Issue #289 Cover B – Sven Sauer & Igor Posavec
Issue #289 Cover C – Ryan Brown
Issue #289 Cover D – Rob Shields (Heavy Metal Exclusive)

Cover D: INTERNET FAMOUS by ROB SHIELDS

Cover D: INTERNET FAMOUS by ROB SHIELDS

With your brains well scrambled, you’ll stumble headlong into Chapter 1 of “The Door,” by Esau Escorza and Michael Moreci.

“THE DOOR” CHAPTER 1  by ESAU ESCORZA & MICHAEL MORECI

“THE DOOR” CHAPTER 1 by ESAU ESCORZA & MICHAEL MORECI

A girl wakes up in a hospital or lab—and what follows is a masterful blend of writing and illustration. Our heroine has a couple of crews who may or may not be helping her—and an army of clear hostiles who call her “the Anomaly.” It will take a few more chapters to figure this out.

Are you ready for the next phase, voyager? Commencing countdown, engines on…

“TEN SOUNDS THAT REPRESENT A KIND OF PERSON” by GRANT MORRISON & BEN MARRA

“TEN SOUNDS THAT REPRESENT A KIND OF PERSON” by GRANT MORRISON & BEN MARRA

Yes indeed, Grant Morrison and Ben Marra are taking you on another cosmic journey with “Ten Sounds That Represent a Kind of Person—a Historical Parody.” It hinges on an important work called Blackstar, which may not mean so much to you. But what id we say “There’s a Starman, waiting in the sky…” Yeah, that guy. All hail the Goblin King.

Next we crash into Rob Shields’ “Neon Wasteland”—set your chronographs to the future circa 1985, and get your AR helmets on.

“NEON WASTELAND: AN ABSTRACT MANGA” by ROB SHIELDS

“NEON WASTELAND: AN ABSTRACT MANGA” by ROB SHIELDS

No, you don’t need a helmet, but an app will make your journey into this world more interesting. Search for the Heavy Metal AR app in the iOS App Store or the Android store and you’ll be unlocking that sweet, sweet sci-fi augmented reality. You can get a sense of it here, on Rob Shields’ Instagram, but really, it’s much better when you’re unlocking it with your own device and the paper or digital version of the magazine.

And this, fans, is one of those moments that only Heavy Metal can bring you. From the last page of Rob Shields’ AR odyssey you transition to “Murky World”—a story by Richard Corben, who had the first feature in the first issue of Heavy Metal, back in April 1977.

“MURKY WORLD” PART 2 by RICHARD CORBEN

“MURKY WORLD” part 2 by RICHARD CORBEN

We pride ourselves on bringing you the best modern sci-fi and fantasy, with a huge and happy asterisk: We keep our elders sacred. Whether it’s a Corben tale, a Frazetta cover, or an Enki Bilal epic—we respect the masters.

Did we just mention Richard Corben and Enki Bilal in the same breath? You bet we did! And for good reason. Following Corben’s “Murky World” we’ve got the next chapter of Bilal’s “Color of Air” in this issue. Corben and Bilal, back to back. Are you not entertained?

“THE COLOR OF AIR” Part 6 by Enki BILAL ©2017 Casterman

“THE COLOR OF AIR” Part 6 by Enki BILAL, ©2017 Casterman

We do try to keep it lively, though. We’ll pivot from certified classics Bilal and Corben to the ultra-modern: the artist known as Beeple. Beeple is an online art star known for his “everydays”—images posted every day, without interruption. He’s been doing them for ten years. Every day. The chap is a legend on Instagram and in the other socials medias—we’re proud to bring his work to you on paper.

ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: BEEPLE

ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: BEEPLE

Get through all Beeple’s dystopian (or just surreal) visions and you’ll end up at something weirder: “The Chimeran” by Paul Goodenough and Ben Oliver. Imagine that, by some sorcery, we turn our pets into servants. And imagine next that those pet-servants are intrigued by the possibility of being human. But wait—what is “human” at this point? Well, this story is the start of understanding it.

“THE CHIMERAN” by PAUL GOODENOUGH & BEN OLIVER

“THE CHIMERAN” by PAUL GOODENOUGH & BEN OLIVER

Then we’re into “The Womb,” by Tony Leonard. And this is one of those moments where you (even we, as the editors) say thank Crom and V’Ger for Heavy Metal. Because this is a tale with a complex narrative and expansive illustration that you’re just not going to see anywhere else.

“THE WOMB” by TONY LEONARD

“THE WOMB” by TONY LEONARD

“The Womb” flashes out with a nod to the “psychoverse” (a plane we’ll all be inhabiting soon enough) before yielding the floor to Rob Shields’ gallery.

GALLERY: ROB SHIELDS

GALLERY: ROB SHIELDS

Once again, you’ll want that Heavy Metal AR app to unlock more of Rob’s hypnotic animation.

We conclude this issue by speaking with Grant Morrison about a very important project. Not just important for Grant personally—yeah, we’re sure he’s pleased with it, but we’ll take the longer view editorially. Grant Morrison’s limited series for Image comics, called Happy!, made it to SyFy network, starring Christopher Meloni and the voice of Patton Oswalt, and has just been renewed for a second season.

Jonah Reitman from the SyFy series Happy!

Jonah Reitman from the SyFy series Happy!

That’s something to make you stop and think, to be honest. Grant Morrison, whose works are considered too sophisticated for TV, too zanily brainy for movies, saw a TV show made out of his series Happy!. Both the show and its source material are pretty hard-boiled stuff. It was blessed with Chris Meloni, the perfect actor for the role. And it’s been picked up for a second season. Hey, we all like a good Batman/Avengers movie. But you don’t have to be Batman/Avengers to get your story out there. You’ll love this interview. Cheers to Grant, and Christopher, and Patton, and very Bad Santa Jonah Reitman (pictured). And shout-out to Darick Robertson, the artist on Happy!. This inaccurately-named medium we call “comics” can tell any story. A series like Happy! is all the proof you need.

That’s it for Heavy Metal #289, the Sci-Fi Special. See you on the dark side of the moon.

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