Not too long ago we mentioned that Hajime Sorayama, whose work appeared in Heavy Metal long ago, has emerged as a person of interest of the art and fashion worlds — it turns out the “sexy robot guy” is finally getting his due. The cover of this month’s Vogue Italia features art by a Heavy Metal heavyweight, Milo Manara — in an interesting inversion, the magazine has gone with illustrations rather than photography, and Manara is one of the seven artists tapped to do the honors. (Another name we recognized is Yoshitaka Amano, known for his Final Fantasy illustrations.) Manara is best known as one of the leading auteurs of erotic comics, and in recent years he’s broken through to the comics mainstream as a cover artist for Marvel, although some found him a controversial choice.
We’ve got two Manara books and several issues containing his work in the shop, steeply discounted as part of our End of the Decade sale. If you don’t own any Manara and like what you see, get the July 1997 issue featuring “Gullivera” for $4.00.
But a Vogue cover is something really different — it’s the female form, Manara’s specialty, but in a fashion context. You can see all the covers at Vogue.com, although we got our tip from IfItsHipItsHere.com.
But is this really “something different” for Manara? Actually, no. We at Heavy Metal, and in the US, tend to know him for his comics work, but if you follow Manara’s Facebook page (or perhaps just live in Italy) you’re aware that Manara is a prolific and in-demand commercial artist and illustrator for hire. And in Italy, it seems, they’re happy to let Manara be Manara — it’s hard to imagine uptight American brands greenlighting some of this work.
Since 2007, Manara has been producing a calendar for the Italian auto diagnostics company TEXA S.p.A. Below is the image for the 2020 calendar — to download a high-res .pdf of the calendar suitable for hanging in your home garage, visit this page on the TEXA website.
Here are the 2019, 2017 and 2015 TEXA images:
You’ve probably heard of the Pirelli calendar, which for years has featured photography of famous models, but did you know the Italian coffee company Lavazza does something similar? In 2012, Lavazza put out a book celebrating its calendars and Manara contributed some beautiful drawings, here are some examples from Pinterest:
It’s not true that Vogue is Manara’s first brush with the fashion world — lingerie is fashion, right? Italian brand Yamamay enlisted Manara to create these illustrations for its Spring-Summer 2017 catalog (source: Yamamay blog):
Opera and Classical Music
A cultured Italian gentleman, Manara likes his opera — in recent years, he’s been tapped to visualize Puccini’s Tosca (from Spazio Fumetto Wow) and Mozart-Da Ponte trilogy (Le Nozze di Figaro, Don Giovanni, and Così Fan Tutte, see Manara’s official site for more of these) .
“Milo Wine” Labels
From opera to wine — Manara designed these labels for a line of “Milo Wines” in 2017:
Ulysse Nardin Watches
If you’re a Manara fan, and you need to know what time it is, and you’ve got $27,000 to burn (that’s for stainless steel; rose gold will run you $34,000), Manara’s Ulysse Nardin watches are just the thing. He created 10 illustrations that tell the story of “underwater encounters between a hauntingly beautiful woman and a mythical mermaid.” You can see more at Olive55wrist.com.
This one isn’t too surprising, but worth sharing — Manara contributes celebrity portraits to the French men’s magazine Lui. Here’s his take on Emmanuelle Chriqui:
La Repubblica Auto
These aren’t so recent, but it’s a side hustle you might not have seen — in the ’90s, Manara painted beautiful illustrations for the automotive supplement to La Repubblica, which is Italy’s second-largest daily newspaper. The paper’s website hosts a gallery of Manara’s covers.
Congratulations to Milo on scoring the Vogue Italia cover. If you’re a Manara fan and you haven’t got all his Heavy Metal issues, do check out the deals we’re offering in our End of the Decade sale. He’s truly one of the all-time Heavy Metal greats.