Heavy Metal readers know that the October 1979 issue was a bit different — it was the “Lovecraft Special,” in which every story was based on the work of H.P. Lovecraft. The editor’s letter introduced HPL as “an obscure, not to say widely scorned, author of explicitly horrifying prose narratives, written in a clumsy and overblown style uncannily similar to the aeon-long and labyrinthine one you are at present nodding over,” who is “the object of cultlike veneration among the French.”
“Is it possible H.P.L. gains something in the translation, like Howard Hawks and Jerry Lewis movies?”
But editor Sean Kelly conceded that maybe it was just that the French catch on to cool stuff earlier than Americans — an idea that the existence of whole damn magazine, an Americanized version of Metal Hurlant, would seem to support.
Much of the material in the October 1979 issue of Heavy Metal was taken directly from the Septeber 1978 issue of Metal Hurlant, which isn’t unusual. But pages 56-61 are Philippe Druillet’s take on the Necronomicon, or Book of the Dead, which is the ancient grimoire (spell book) that pops up in many H.P. Lovecraft stories. (It also pops up elsewhere, like the world of Evil Dead.) In the Metal Hurlant Lovecraft special, Druillet’s Necronomicon goes on for 11 pages.
Why the Heavy Metal editors cut it down from 11 to six pages is unknown — though given how magazines work it was probably just to conform to a fixed page count. Heavy Metal‘s editors held Philippe Druillet in the highest of esteem (and he was a founder of Metal Hurlant) so it’s hard to imagine they’d cut him without a good reason.
If you’ve seen or own the Lovecraft Special, you might not have seen all the pages here. Enjoy Druillet’s Necronomicon, the French cut.