Like most classic science fiction comics, the devoted fan base of ‘Heavy Metal’ will be pleased to know that it’s being brought to the screen again—and this time it’s live-action!
According to Variety, a French DVD company called We Productions has partnered with United Humanoids to produce ‘Metal Hurlant Chronicles,’ a live-action TV series based on the long-running publication. ‘Metal Hurlant’ is the original French name for the magazine, which was the basis for the U.S. publication ‘Heavy Metal.’
A pilot has already been filmed and the show has been sold in 20 countries, with negotiations going on now with an unnamed U.S. distributor.
Each half-hour segment will be filmed in both French and English, and each will be adapted from a story first published in the magazine. The pilot’s two stories are titled “Red Light” and “Cold Hard Facts.” Two seasons, a total of 12 episodes, will be produced and ready for airing next January.
‘Metal Hurlant’ (the magazine) was launched in 1974 by the United Humanoids collective, which was led by artists Jean “Moebius” Giraud and Philippe Druillet. Its name, when translated literally, means “Howling Metal.” The magazine became a popular cult phenomenon in the late ’70s and throughout the ’80s due to its often stunning art, surreal, sophisticated stories and adult erotica. While it ceased publication in 1987, it was resurrected in 2002 for a brief two-year run. The American version was first published in 1977 and is still in existence.
‘Heavy Metal is notorious for its high quality artwork. International artists H.R. Giger’s and Esteban Maroto’s work have been featured on the covers of various issues. In addition, Terrance Lindall’s illustrated version of the poem “Paradise Lost” was printed in the magazine in 1980. Many stories were presented as long-running plots, especially those by Richard Corben, Pepe Moreno and Matt Howarth. Renowned illustrator Alex Ebel regularly contributed artwork to the magazine over the course of his career.
Kevin Eastman, co-creator of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, currently owns and publishes the magazine. Publication of the French magazine ceased in 1987. It began again in the summer of 2002 under the French name ‘Metal Hurlant,’ edited by Les Humanoïdes Associés.
An animated anthology film called ‘Heavy Metal,’ based on stories from the magazine, was released in 1981 and, while not a box office success, became something of a cult favorite. A second movie, Heavy Metal 2000, came out in the title year and went straight to video.
More recently, director David Fincher has been trying to get a brand-new ‘Heavy Metal’ movie off the ground, to be co-directed by himself and James Cameron, but that project appears to have come to a dead end for now due to budget issues.
In the meantime, stay on the lookout for the first live-action ‘Heavy Metal’ TV series, coming (hopefully) to your cable system next January!