15 insane covers from 40 years of Heavy Metal magazine

Contributed by
May 23, 2017

In 1977, Heavy Metal magazine began publishing some of the greatest sci-fi and fantasy graphic stories, serialized characters and short stories ever collected. Also featuring interviews with the likes of Roger Corman, John Waters and Federico Fellini, the magazine was been home to text by Stephen King and William S. Burroughs.

While some have criticized the magazine's covers as being "heavy on boobs and spaceships," Heavy Metal has long found a home in comic book shops and maintains a robust subscription base. Even more interestingly, the magazine was published for over two decades by Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles co-creator Kevin Eastman, who's celebrating his 54th birthday this month.

To celebrate all of this, we took a spin through the Heavy Metal site, and here are 15 of our favorite covers.

1. June 1977
Cover by (Jean Girard) Moebius
From the first year of the magazine's publication in the United States. The magazine was originally a French publication called Metal Hurlant (Howling Metal) and was then licensed and published by Leonard Mogel (National Lampoon).

 

2. June 1980
Cover by H.R. Giger
Heavy Metal has, since its inception, attracted some of the greatest sci-fi and fantasy artists in the world.

 

3. December 1980
Cover by Christos Achilleos
It's a spectacular helmet. It's really good costuming.

 

4. April 1981
Cover by Esteban Maroto
Sure, the majority of the covers are incredible scenes of fantastic creatures with ladies astride them, but the level of detail here is pretty staggering.

 

5. April 1983
Another cover by Christos Achilleos
It's a little Fritz Lang. It's a little old-time superhero. It's a little Roger Corman. And duh, Russ Meyer.

 

6. September 1985
Cover by Greg Hildebrandt
This one really caught our eye. Because if you're going to tell a mermaid story, forget your sea witch and your talking musical crabs.

 

7. Spring 1987
Cover by Jim Warren
In late 1986, the magazine's original design director Peter Kleinman returned to the magazine, and by 1987 a revamped design was well underway.

 

8. March 1995
Cover by Olivia. Yup. That Olivia.
Famous for her pin-up girls, Olivia became synonymous with '80s fashion drawing that's still shown worldwide.

 

9. November 1997
Cover by Gaetano Liberatore
This issue featured a pretty serious story installment of the hyperviolent Rank Xerox character, who has survived for quite a while. Read all about him. It's quite a story.

 

10. November 2000
Cover by Luis Royo
Much of the covers from the '90s were pretty dark and nearly all were of ladies dressed in skimpy clothing. By 2000, things had lightened up just a bit.

 

11. November 2004
Cover by Tariq Raheem.
We liked this one a lot. Aeon Flux-y. This issue also had a pretty great fascinating installment of the Galactic Geographic series, many of which have been collected into an anthology.

 

12. November 2005
Cover by Ken Kelly
The white tigers made this a clear favorite.

 

13. January 2007
Cover by Claudio Aboy
Much like the tigers, this one reminded us of Los Angeles pop-culture legend Angelyne. Just ... in space.

 

14. Issue 262, 2013.
Cover by Kow Yokoyama, creator of Maschinen Krieger ZbV 3000
Awesome.

 

15. Issue 280, 2016
Cover by Ron English
You can see how as the magazine rounds the bend into its 40th year, new ideas and design concepts are coming into the fold.

Honestly, this is just the tip of the iceberg. To see more covers, including some fairly NSFW ones, head to the magazine's website and click on through.