Thursday, May 31, 2007

Heavy Metal Memories and Pat Mills' Requiem

One of the illicit pleasures of my childhood was buying (or indeed shoplifting) Heavy Metal comic from unwitting newsagents in Leamington Spa. Heavy Metal is the US version of the French comic anthology Metal Hurlant, full of translated European fantasy comic strips, which was cool in itself, but the best thing was that it was also littered with beautifully drawn nude women and sex. Horny 12 year old sci-fi nut nirvana! As it was a comic, the newsagents would stick it next to the Beano and I could legitimately buy it. Hurrah!

As an adult, I haven’t often shelled out for Heavy Metal as it’s generally full of nonsensical beautifully drawn rubbish – and the allure of nude cartoon women isn’t quite as powerful. However, recently I have started reading it again for one comic strip – the utterly deranged ‘Requiem Vampire Knight’.

Requiem is a Franco-Belgian comic written by the British visionary Pat Mills (the bloke who started 2000ad) and drawn by French artist Olivier Ledroit. It’s best summarised a mental vampire goth headfuck set in a bloodsoaked Hell.

Its protagonist is a Nazi soldier reincarnated as a Vampire in a nightmare world where time runs backwards. I can’t really make head nor tail of the plot, but it seems to involve Requiem searching hell for his lost love who was a Jewish woman sent to the camps. Loads of over-the-top bonkers stuff is thrown into the mix – Dracula rules a kingdom in this hellworld, Tomas de Torquemada has been reincarnated as a werewolf and there’s an extreme politically correct feminist tyrant from Venus who’s been brought back as a pirate. There’s also plenty of sado-masochistic sex and gory ultra-violence.

There’s no doubt that Mills has several screws loose and writing for an adult European comics publisher allows him to let those screws scatter all over the shop in a very disturbing fashion. The madness is brought to life by Ledroit’s feverishly detailed psychopathically exuberant art.

Mind you, if Mills is mentally ill, I must have a morbid side to seek this stuff out. It’s funny – I used to look down my nose at Goths as a teenager and now I’m turning into one…

1 comment:

Steve said...

Hmm... I seem to recall you had a mild dalliance with the Sisters Of Mercy at one point in your misspent youth... I think your goth sneer was always a bit of a pose...! ;-)