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Heavy Metal Magazine in the ’70s: The Back Covers

Back covers are underrated. You may know Heavy Metal magazine’s early covers — a lot of them, anyway. They’re indelible images by some of the greatest illustrators of the last 50 years, from the battlin’ fembots by Jean-Pierre Dionnet on issue #1 (April 1977) to the numerous covers by Moebius, Achilleos, Vallejo, Royo, Olivia, and Bisley. But Heavy Metal was such a needed showcase, particularly in the early days, that there was a wealth of material, and sometimes the art on the back cover was as good or nearly so as what got the glory spot up front.

Below, we’ve collected the covers of that first April 1977 issue through the last of the ’70s, December 1979. We’re omitting the wraparound covers of July 1977, February and March 1978, and November 1979. Here you’ll find images by fantasy legends Charles Vess and Michael Kaluta; one from Bernie Wrightson, “master of the macabre;” two apiece from Robert Morello, Tom Barber and Clyde Caldwell; and even a young Howard Chaykin makes an appearance.

Back cover of Heavy Metal April 1977 issue by Philippe Druillet
Back cover of Heavy Metal May 1977 issue by Philippe Druillet
Back cover of Heavy Metal June 1977 issue by Philippe Druillet
Back cover of Heavy Metal August 1977 issue by Moebius
Back cover of Heavy Metal September 1977 issue by Moebius
Back cover of Heavy Metal October 1977 issue by Bernie Wrightson
Back cover of Heavy Metal November 1977 issue by Tom Barber
Back cover of Heavy Metal December 1977 issue by Howard Chaykin
Back cover of Heavy Metal January 1978 issue by Bob Aull
Back cover of Heavy Metal April 1978 issue by Rick Bryant
Back cover of Heavy Metal May 1978 issue by Tom Barber
Back cover of Heavy Metal June 1978 issue by Robert Morello
Back cover of Heavy Metal July 1978 issue by Clyde Caldwell
Back cover of Heavy Metal August 1978 issue by Michel Gueranger
Back cover of Heavy Metal September 1978 issue by Charles Vess
Back cover of Heavy Metal October 1978 issue by Doug Beekman
“May I Have a Cup of Dilithium Crystals, Please?” back cover of Heavy Metal November 1978 issue by Bill Selby
“In Dolly’s Dreams,” back cover of Heavy Metal December 1978 issue by Michael Wm. Kaluta
“Three Men,” back cover of Heavy Metal January 1979 issue by Kevin Johnson
“From QLEXZ with Love,” back cover of Heavy Metal February 1979 issue by Bob Wakelin
“Stargazer,” back cover of Heavy Metal March 1979 issue by Robert Morello
“Gidget Meets the Squirrel Dogs from Outer Space,” back cover of Heavy Metal April 1979 issue by Larry Elmore
“Centaur’s Idol,” back cover of Heavy Metal May 1979 issue by Clyde Caldwell
“What Happened to Betty?” back cover of Heavy Metal June 1979 issue by Marcus Boas
“A Boy Named Sue,” back cover of Heavy Metal July 1979 issue by Philippe Caza
“Buz,” back cover of Heavy Metal August 1979 issue by Martin Springett
Back cover of Heavy Metal September 1979 issue by Val Mayerik
“Elizabeth,” back cover of Heavy Metal October 1979 issue by George Smith
“Sweet Dreams,” back cover of Heavy Metal December 1979 issue by Thomas Warkentin

6 thoughts on “Heavy Metal Magazine in the ’70s: The Back Covers

  1. I would totally purchase a book(s) thst compiled Heavy Metal covers, including alternates, of any goven decade.
    Should make a project of that.
    Could make good sales to support the ongoing publication of the magazine.

  2. These are awesome! I totally agree with Julio that these should all be compiled in a book of its own for purchase. Then we can bring it to our favorite tattoo parlor!
    -Naz

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