Heavy Metal, Ninja Turtles and The Tales of ISHMAR

The American comics scene was turned on its head in April of 1977 when a glossy full-color comics magazine called Heavy Metal hit the stands featuring European comic art from Enki Bilal, Philippe Caza, Guido Crepax, Philippe Druillet, Jean-Claude Forest, Jean Giraud (aka Moebius) and Milo Manara.

Heavy Metal’s content, which was initially translated stories that had been previously published in the French magazine Métal Hurlant, focused on a more adult presentation of fantasy/science fiction and erotica that liberated American comic readers whose exposure to comics was generally limited to publications that were heavily censored by the Comics Code Authority.

By 1979 under the guidance of Ted White and John Workman, Heavy Metal began including more work by American artists including Arthur Suydam, Dan Steffan, Howard Cruse and Bernie Wrightson.

Read ATTILA THE FROG here

The July 1979 issue featured a five page strip that would be the first professional work  ever published by current CO2 Comics contributor Don Lomax. His story, Attila the Frog, edited by long time Heavy Metal editor Julie Simmons was a black and white action extravaganza that would be Don’s first and last piece ever published by the magazine but launched a comic career that now spans over three decades.

Don Lomax’s absence from Heavy Metal is not for lack of trying. Don has submitted several great stories to HM over the years that have met with rejection and never found a home anywhere else until now.

Having reached the conclusion of Captain Obese, CO2 Comics is proud to announce that we will continue to be presenting an anthology of works by Don Lomax! That’s right, Don’s new feature, Tales 0f ISHMAR is none other than The Tales of Incredible Stories Heavy Metal Actually Rejected!

This amazing collection of short stories will be serialized a page a week every Tuesday filling the tremendous void left by Don’s oversized hero Captain Obese. To kick off the series in spectacular fashion, however, we are presenting the story that started it all for Don. The story that actually did see print in Heavy Metal, Attila the Frog can be seen right here on CO2 Comics!

Now call me a conspiracy theorist or just plain crazy but as I looked back on Don’s first story it became apparent that those illustrious five pages may have had greater cultural impact than one could imagine because as I googled for images of Attila the Frog , I discovered a character by the same name that first appeared in a 1987 television episode of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!

What are the odds that Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird who would have been 17 and 25 when Attila the Frog was first published in Heavy Metal might have been influenced by a horde of sword wielding amphibians led by Attila the Frog when they created TMNT five years later in 1984.

What are the odds that a character by the exact name, Attila the Frog, shows up in the TMNT animated series three years later. Probably just a coincidence until you consider that Kevin Eastman would ultimately, in 1992, purchase Heavy Metal Magazine, which he cites as having introduced him to Richard Corben, “his second greatest influence” as a comic artist after Jack Kirby.

Maybe Don Lomax’s well armed, barbarian frog just faded into obscurity or maybe it actually plunged deep into the collective consciousness and influenced a cultural phenomenon. I like to think that as artists we all have the power to influence others with our ideas and our creations. The impact may not always be as obvious or as coincidental as what I just outlined, but that is the true value of our work. The impact it has on society.

We know that Don’s work has sure had an impact on CO2 Comics and we are glad to be able to present it to our readers. Please enjoy Don Lomax’s Attila the Frog and Tales ISHMAR. Soak in each short story and imagine what Heavy Metal missed out on. If you haven’t had a chance to read The Heavy Adventures of Captain Obese now is your chance to read it online or purchase your very own copy of the hardback or paperback edition of the graphic novel.

Making Comics Because We Want to,

Gerry Giovinco

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