Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Heavy Metal -- in at Least Two Senses


I’ve mentioned cases of sci-fi and rock overlapping, but usually one looks to instances of decidedly non-macho nerdery for such intersections: Gary Numan in his motorized chair, Styx singing about robots, etc. There are, however, other forms of rock — and other forms of sci-fi.

Unlike Debates at Lolita Bar moderator Michel Evanchik, I was never a big fan of the comics magazine Heavy Metal — nor the Incredible Hulk — but these things lent themselves to some very macho displays of growling, rock-hurling, mindless brutality, and partial nudity, no doubt warping Evanchik to this day. There is an undeniable visceral appeal in all this, though — more akin to my praise of Foreigner the day before last than to my carping about the young yesterday.

Like Vikings and Nietzsche, we recognize it is better to feel bold and alive than to be turned into a servo-droid photographing rocks on Io. Heavy Metal was a good name for the magazine and good musical accompaniment for the animated film adapted from it back in 1981 — by Canadians, incidentally. (It was as gaudy as the carnival sideshow art that I found so alarming and compelling as a child, which hinted in its very inelegance at atavistic pains and pleasures, like “outsider” art — and caused me to enjoy the film of Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes very much.)

If all this brings back good memories, you’ll be pleased to hear that there’s a live-action film of Heavy Metal now in the works, with segments by geek-beloved directors James Cameron, David Fincher, and Zack Snyder, among others — but perhaps even more fittingly, with a segment featuring Tenacious D. That makes such perfect sense. Rock on (I’m also pleased to hear that production on the Jack Black comedy about him being the lone male student at a school for witches, Man-Witch, now appears to be moving forward).

Tomorrow, though, a look at another seriously rockin’ sci-fi dude: Roger from American Dad.


Meredith said...

Heavy Metal gave me nightmares as a kid. I still find it completely creepy and disturbing. Making it live action doesn’t sound like an improvement. Blech.

pulp said...

Don’t believe everything you’re reading about the live action Heavy Metal movie. I am working with some people who know a lot more about the behind the scenes than has been publicly revealed. If it ever appears I have a bad feeling it won’t much resemble the HM we remember reading in the old days.

But if it works, it could mean anthology film features– with a number of directors doing short films of a loosely connected central theme– could be a possible future film platform for Hwood, and that would be a very good thing.

I am a big champion of the old HM comics, incidentally. I sincerely believe some of the best, most inventive comics ever produced appeared (in many cases, it would be more correct to say re-appeared) in that magazine and there is absolutely nothing coming out in America or UK now which can compare to that era’s creativity or experimentation.