If you’re a Heavy Metal magazine reader, you have a taste for the darkness — the best stories never have happy endings, and that’s ok. In this issue, we’re plunging into the darkness once again, plunging far into and through it — we’re going beyond the darkness. It’s the Beyond The Darkness Special. Won’t you come along?
Heavy Metal 293: Beyond The Darkness Special in the Heavy Metal Shop:
- Cover A by FLAVIO GRECO PAGLIA
- Cover B by BEEPLE
- Cover C by WANJIN GIM
- Cover D by ANTONIO J. MANZANEDO
Let’s start with the elephant in the room, that master of darkness you all know and love, Mr. Stephen King. YES — Stephen King returns to the pages of Heavy Metal 38 years after we published his story “The Blue Air Compressor” in 1981. This time around, it’s his story “Little Green God of Agony,” adapted and illustrated by Dennis Calero. A physically broken, very rich man lies in a high-tech hospital bed. Why can’t he get better — is it his entitled attitude, or, hmm, maybe, a small, evil god?
That’s dark. Care to go darker? How about two stories that mirror each other, slightly, two tales of futuristic loneliness. In Timothy Bacon’s “S.O.L.U.S.” we get to know the last survivor on a barren Earth, a caretaker of sorts. The character at the center of in Manuel Montesinos’ “The Guest” inhabits a vessel drifting through space — is she the last human alive? She doesn’t know. Space madness — it’s a thing.
What is existence like for devils and demons, those who live beyond the darkness? It’s no circle of life, that’s for sure — “Doppeldamons” (by Pedrazzoli, Pinto and Percio) and “Mother Death” (by Rios and Leal) both tell stories of the circle of death.
“Holy Wars… The Punishment Due” by Tim Seeley and Ignacio Calero (excerpted from Megadeth: Death By Design) explores our dark need for overlords, corporate or otherwise, while the hungry space explorer of Pahek’s “Green Grower From Rigbadal” finds he’s landed on one of those eat-or-be-eaten planets. “White Death,” by Diego Agrimbau and Eduardo Risso, is a tale of voodoo, colonialism, and revolt.
The galleries this issue plumb the black depths as well. John Kenn Mortensen’s drawing are disturbing yet funny, sort of. “The scariest and worst thing in our world is children dying,” he tells us. “Bad things happening to children is also a bit funny as well, isn’t it?” Don’t answer that. Poster artist Flavio Greco Paglia paints fearsome visions of monsters, mad scientists, and bloody unidentifiables, shadowy yet colorful as well. “People who follow my work usually think it’s gross and catchy at the same time,” he says. He’s right. Russian artist Dennis Zhbankov paints a world of mutation and malice, the sort of animated skeletons and toothy, many-headed monsters that inhabited your sweetest childhood nightmares.
For those who’ve been following our serialized stories, this issue is big: “The Door,” by Michael Moreci and Esau Escorza reaches its spectacular end. We also bring you Chapter 6 of “Murky World,” by the great Richard Corben — then we bring you Chapter 7. That’s right — two installments of Corben back-to-back.
Covers for this issue are by Flavio Greco Paglia, beeple, Wanjin Gim and Antonio Manzanedo.