The Bus lampoons rampant merchandizing, which is really funny considering that the strip is published in Heavy Metal, a magazine that pretty much survives on rampant merchandizing. Mind you, I don’t think that The Bus was originally created for publication in Heavy Metal, but it’s still very relevent. At least Heavy Metal had the foresight to remove the ad for the Heavy Metal belt buckle from the page when they ran this strip.
(Heavy Metal issue #66, September 1982 - Page 96 The Bus by Kirchner)
More from Druillet. Here, he’s really killing it with these ultra-detailed pen and ink illustrations on a basic white background. This one makes me think of a portal to another dimension.
(Heavy Metal issue #66, September 1982 - Page 47 Yragael by Druillet)
One of the things that I never really understood about this story is the entire sub-plot about the Army turning into hideous monsters. I think there’s some kind of “inhumanity to others” subtext there, but it’s not really clear.
(Heavy Metal issue #66, September 1982 - Page 86 The Voyage of Those Forgotten by Christin and Bilal)
For some reason, I thought The Wall was made in the late 70s, but when I looked it up on Wikipedia, it said 1982. And it makes sense that a film about music and insane visuals would advertise in Heavy Metal.
(Heavy Metal issue #66, September 1982 - Inside Front Cover The Wall ad)
The best part of this story (and this page) is the character who decided to change his appearance so that he looks like Mickey Mouse instead of what he originally looked like. This leads directly to the panel in the middle of the page with three big black circles, making it look like the character in the background is doing something that required censorship.
(Heavy Metal issue #65, August 1982 - Page 35 A Day in the Log of the City of Alger by Dionnet and Bilal)
Without the context that Jeff Jones came out as a woman later in life, this strip doesn’t really make sense - and at least one letter in this month’s letter column called for the strip to be dropped as a result. Once you add in the context, this strip is clearly Jones debating about whether to actually go through sexual reassignment surgery - complete with a discussion of “cutting of the nose to spite the face” and an on-the-nose depiction of a twig with berries.
(Heavy Metal issue #65, August 1982 - Page 77 I’m Age by Jones)
The high concept here is the re-imagination of famous artworks as if they were done by famous artists from all over the galaxy. The two best are the van Gogh frog and the Norman Rockwell (Noormin Rockwin) Thanksgiving featuring a trussed up naked woman as the main course. Cute concept and very good artwork.
(Heavy Metal issue #65, August 1982 - Page 47&49 Classics from the Intergalactica Museum by Gross)
Alongside Yves Chalant and Joost Swarte were a number of other artists working in an updated linge clare style and this is a perfect example of one of those “other” artists. The decor is very typically 80s - it looks like it came right off the set of Ruthless People - and works very well with this kind of rendering. The plot is a pretty basic body/mind swap SFnal concept that involves Walt Disney’s death in a Cuban brothel in 1959, leading to a Disney robot that keeps the business operational.
(Heavy Metal issue #65, August 1982 - Page 39 Right Smack in the Middle of a Cold War by Fromental and Floch)
Ah, Bill Plimpton. Here, he basically lays out the high concept of the TV show Early Edition fourteen years before it went on the air. Eerie!
I’m not entirely sure that the blue on blue artwork really works, though. Heavy Metal has printed a few stories in early 80s with this style, which feels like an affectation more than anything else and none of them have particularly benefited from the presentation.
(Heavy Metal issue #65, August 1982 - Page 59 The Bugle by Plimpton)
The last panel of this strip really nails the punchline (as much as you can have punchlines in a silent strip) - if there’s a small version of you that you can see, there must be a larger version of you that can see you.
(Heavy Metal issue #65, August 1982 - Page 96 The Bus by Kirchner)