In concert with the move, Heavy Metal has also tapped Tommy Coriale, the former head of DIGA Studios, which produced shows such as MTV’s Scream and Teen Wolf, to launch its film and television division. The hope is that Coriale will develop a slate that can include scripted, unscripted, podcasting and publishing projects.
Heavy Metal is led and operated by CEO Matthew Medney and chief creative overlord (yes, an actual title) and publisher David Erwin, who previously worked at Hasbro overseeing its Transformers line and before that was an executive creative director at DC Comics. The two took over in December 2019 and June 2020, respectively, with the goal of refurbishing a company that many felt was not fulfilling its promise.
Heavy Metal launched in 1977 with science fiction and fantasy stories that brought adult-oriented fare to the comic book space, unrestricted in its violence and erotica, and giving European and overlooked American graphic storytellers a space on the shelf. From Moebius, Guido Crepax and Milo Manara to Richard Corben, Arthur Suydam and Olivia De Berardinis, the magazine was an antidote to the four-color capers of superhero comics and influenced filmmakers such as John Carpenter and Robert Rodriguez. It also famously spawned a 1981 animated feature titled Heavy Metal that, thanks to a rock ‘n’ roll soundtrack and striking poster imagery, became a cult hit. In more recent years, as the magazine declined, the company branched out into comics and tie-ins with musicians.
“Unlike the other publishers of fiction, Heavy Metal is a destination brand recognized for cutting-edge and inventive stories within the sci-fi, fantasy and horror space,” said Erwin in a statement. “It has influenced many of Hollywood’s greatest filmmakers over the years, and we’ll continue to be a prime source of inspiration by continuing to deliver our brand promise of great stories and art, as well as maintaining its rock ‘n’ roll attitude of making your parents a bit uncomfortable.”
Stated Michael Cooper of Range: “Heavy Metal is an institution. They are a treasure chest of brilliant art and stories and creativity. We are honored to build with them and translate their masterworks into other mediums.”