Heavy Metal cover artist Gerald Brom is one of the leading painters of dark fantasy, so he was a natural for Heavy Metal 299, the Mythical Worlds Special. It is slightly amazing that Brom’s cover represents his first time being published in Heavy Metal, though it may not be his last — as you can tell from the work here, he’s our kind of guy. Oh yeah.
Who is Gerald Brom, really, and how did he get so damn good? Well, that’s a tricky story. He likes to keep it mysterious, and has a sense of humor, so the biographical information at bromart.com is really pretty odd. Right now he is “in a dank cellar somewhere in the drizzly Northwest. There he subsists on poison spiders, centipedes, and bad kung-fu flicks. When not eating bugs, he is ever writing, painting, and trying to reach a happy sing-a-long with the many demons dancing about in his head.”
Here’s some insight into what makes Brom, the present-day artist, tick:
What does melancholia mean to you?
She is my muse.
Did you ever suffer burn out from painting?
What did you do about it?
I started writing.
Did you ever suffer burn out from writing?
I started painting again.
Which is your least favorite painting you’ve done?
The last one I did.
Which is your favorite painting you’ve done?
The next one.
He does eventually get around to telling his life story, and it may have a familiar ring:
I was weird though, and plenty odd, so needless to say I found myself an outsider. But fortunately there were other outsiders — geeks and oddballs of all varieties — and we would spend our lunches and breaks in the one safe haven in the school — the library. That was an amazing time of artistic growth and pop-culture expansion for me. Several of my friends were very talented artists and while other students were fighting over which bathroom was their turf (and I could never figure out why anyone would want to own a bathroom), we spent our days drawing and playing early Steve Jackson board games (though the librarian kept confiscation our dice, accusing us of gambling, until we convinced her that we were playing a “math” game). I developed an obsession with skateboarding and spent most weekends carving up sidewalks and drainpipes. It was right about then that the Frazetta art books came out. Heavy Metal magazine was in its heyday with artists like Richard Corben, Moebius, Berni Wrightson, Jeff Jones, and Enki Bilal. These led me to such great underground comics as Slow Death, and Cheech Wizard. I was consumed with the Lord of the Rings, drawing every scene and character. Monty Python’s Jabberwocky, and the Holy Grail came out in theaters. I saw the Ralph Bakshi film Wizards and it changed my life. This intensely adult treatment of traditional fantasy would set the tone for all my work to follow.
There it is, kids: Choose your gods and holy texts wisely, and study them to death. If you’re dedicated and curious — and you’re supernaturally talented — you too can be a master like Brom.
Well, maybe not, but you can try.