The first issue hit news stands in April 1977, and introduced American audiences to the work of Europe's greatest graphic artists.
A smash hit from its launch, it sold out all across the country, striking a cord with hundreds of thousands of older fans who had outgrown the adolescent output of mainstream comic publishers, but still loved the medium of "sequential storytelling"...COMICS!
Heavy Metal magazine became a magnet for world class comic talent, and in addition to the top self European artists and writers such as; Mobius, Liberatore, Serpieri, Gimenez, and Royo, all of the best American creators like: Bode, Corben, Wrightson, Frazetta, and Olivia, found a new outlet for their fantasies.
Heavy Metal is the oldest illustrated fantasy magazine in U.S. history, celebrating thirty years of bringing the best graphic storytelling to the world, and that still is... only the beginning...
In the summer of 1978, with the box office success of "National Lampoon's Animal House", Mogel made a deal with Universal Pictures to produce an animated anthology film based on Heavy Metal Magazine. The Hollywood seed was planted.
Studio difficulties led Mogel to pursue independent financing, and he asked "National Lampoon" executive Matty Simmons to contact Ivan Reitman, the producer of "Animal House".
Reitman agreed to take on Heavy Metal as long as he had total control of the project and could hire his own writers. Mogal Complied and in February 1980, Reitman sat down with his "Meatballs" and "Stripes" screenwriters, Dan Goldberg, and Len Blum, to develop the storyline for the film.
Combining ideas of their own such as "Taarna", "Soft Landing", and "Harry Canyon", with existing Heavy Metal magazine concepts like Richard Corben's "Den", Berni Wrightson's "Captain Stern", and Angus Mckie's "So Beautiful, So Dangerous", all threaded together with the otherworldly glowing green orb from outer space that spreads destruction throughout each story, ...And well, Heavy Metal: The Movie was born.
Overseeing director Gerald Potterton (Animal Farm, Yellow Submarine) would supervise an international army of 1000 animators and support personnel--based in five cities-- New York, Los Angeles, London, Ottawa and Montreal--who would bring the stories to life.
The 7.5 million dollar project began in August 1980, and continued over an eleven month period. For the critical musical side of Heavy Metal, Reitman brought on Irving Azoff who put together 17 tracks, from rocks top groups such as Black Sabbath, Devo, Sammy Hagar, Nazareth, and Grand Funk Railroad, all complimented by an Elmer Bernstein Score. Picked up by Columbia Tri Star, "Heavy Metal: The Movie" opened in 600 theaters on August 7, 1981, and by the end of its domestic run had grossed over $20 million dollars.
Proving that there was still a large audience for adult R-Rated Animation, the success of the VHS re-release in the mid 90's gave the Heavy Metal crew the foothold to interest investors in doing another Heavy Metal Animated film for a new generation.
Beginning production in the Fall of 1997, "Heavy Metal: FAKK2" was one of the most anticipated feature length animated films of 2000! This time, a single plot line based on the 1994 graphic Novel "The Melting Pot" By Kevin Eastman (TMNT's), Simon Bisley (Lodo, Slaine, Batman, Judge Dredd) with Eric Talbot, and the character FAKK2, inspired by "Queen of the B Movies", 1993's Penthouse Pet of the Year, and star of Playboys "Sex Court" Julie Strain!
Montreal based Cinegroupe Animation, a subsidiary of Lion's Gate Films, purchased the rights to produce the picture, and teamed up Munich's Helkon Media as foreign co-producer. Jacques Pettigrew, Werner Koenig, and Philippe Diaz executive produced, Michel Lemire co-directed on behalf of Cinegroupe, and Michael Coldewey, with his Munich "Trixter Animated Fantasies" studio directed the other half.
Columbia Tri Star Home Video acquired the rights for distribution in the U.S., South America, and Australia to name a few, and the Gap financing was confidently provided by Imperial Bank.
Julie Strain lead off the all star cast of voices for "Heavy Metal: FAKK2" by playing the Heroine, and Michael Ironsides (Total Recall, Starship Troopers) played the evil Lord Tyler. Billy Idol debuted as an Animated character by playing the mysterious old sage, Odin.
Restless Brand Records put together a world class soundtrack, which included all new tracks from; Monster Magnet, Insane Clown Possie, System of a Down, Billy Idol, Pantera, Coal Chamber, and many, many more.
Following the success of the second Heavy Metal movie was a tirade of licensed merchandise including, to name a few, Ritual Entertainment's "FAKK2: The Game ("Game of the Year" for PC & Mac), the FAKK2 Soundtrack, clothing, action figures, statues and more. All are available in the MetalTV.com store.
With the continued success of Heavy Metal Magazine, fans can count on much more to come.