Get ready for Soft Wood — the first new humor magazine to launch in the U.S. since National Lampoon crashed newsstands in 1970! Here at Heavy Metal we see everything; we see a lot of swords and spaceships and monsters and dystopian wastelands, but we also see comedy and absurdity and satire. Our creators and friends-of-friends are a brilliant bunch, and they feel free to bring us anything and everything their unusual brains cook up. There are also a lot of funny folks out there putting up their funny gems on websites and social media who deserve a shot in print. We have been thinking for a good while that there is just too much good stuff, too much hilarious and bizarre work out there going homeless. Well, with Soft Wood, humor now has a home. Historical inevitability has spoken — and its first three words were “Camp Micro Penis.”
What do you do after “Camp Micro Penis?”
Is there room in the world for a publication that begins with “Camp Micro Penis” (by Shannon Wheeler, of Too Much Coffee Man fame) and then jumps into some truly NSFW haikus by Marc Koprinarov? We say yes — after all, who wants SFW haikus? Nobody wants that. Shannon Wheeler contributes a bunch of one-page cartoons, as does Jake Thompson, with names like “Jerry’s a Cyborg” and “If People Had Tails.” If you can figure out what’s happening in all of Alex Jenkins’ “Comix,” seek medical attention immediately. If you like your comic strips super short, “Evan Dorkin’s Fun Strips” will satisfy you with brevity. Krent Able’s “Baphomet Ad” will have you saving your pennies for your own goat-demon replica.
That’s the short stuff. You want stories? We got stories…
“Blargh! The Creature From Kraaka-5” and “Doctor Gravel and Billy in: Lord of the Fruit Flies” are two excellent parodies of old sci-fi by Sean Frost and Rafer Roberts. “Star Cycles” takes a documentary look at a space-hero who went out in a completely unnecessary blaze of glory, while “Who, M.D.” gives us a violent, meth-addled grandpa with Whovian tendencies. “Suicity” isn’t the kind of place you want to spend the rest of your life, while Bob Fingerman’s “Demonopolis” is eternally warm and unpleasant. In “Attack of the 50-Foot Fred,” Fred is whisked across the galaxy to compete in the Death Games — and it’s not Parcheesi and Scrabble. Two tales for animal lovers are sure to make you question that love — “Food Fight” features mutated animals and vegan terrorists, while “The Furious Friendship Goats” are just weird, maybe the weirdest thing in the issue, which is saying something. “The Second To Last Seal” is a tale of a feckless Grim Reaper who enjoys his skinny caramel macchiato and has to bum a ride to his next soul-harvesting appointment. Krent Able’s “Newsflash” must be seen to be believed, and we’re not about to show it to you here.
Last but certainly not least, there’s “Watchmensch,” the 26-page epic in the middle of the issue that re-crafts Alan Moore’s famous tale as a story about Moore himself. Well, it’s about Moore and comics and movie deals and back-stabbing and thievery — and it somehow actually makes sense.
And if you like covers, we have two of them!
Three if you count the back cover. But who would do that.