At the beginning of any artistic movement is always a catalyst, a hyperbolic, over-realised fever dream of what came after. This is seen everywhere; film, art, music – what would modern psychedelia be like without the groundbreaking influence of the Byrds’ 8 Miles High or Brian Wilson’s experimental song composition?
Unfortunately these proto-creations often hide in the shadow of their creative children – it’s why remembering them is so important. For modern sci-fi this was Métal Hurlant, a dastardly, x-rated trip out that has been cited by Ridley Scott, George Lucas and Katsuhiro Otomo, creator of Akira, as an influence.
Discover Métal Hurlant, an avant-garde French comic anthology and the father of sci-fi’s latent evolution into the insane.
Co-creator of the series Jean-Pierrie Dionnet has spoken on the importance of the comic’s potential energy, saying in a 2013 interview that he learned of it’s importance as early as Métal Hurlant’s first issue.
“I learned it when Alain Resnais was my first subscriber, Chris Marker was the second one, Fellini the fifth. I learned it when I would ask George Lucas for a foreword, and he would send me it the next week.”
The comic anthology began in the 70s and stretched through the 80s, finishing in once in 1984 and again in 2004 after a short-lived resurgence. Translating to Howling Metal in English, the series thrived on rule-breaking, boundary pushing and artistic freedom, largely due to the editorial influence of Dionnet.
Today instances of sexualised, avant-garde sci-fi are innumerable, and tendrils of Métal Hurlant’s presence are felt in more popularised interpretations of the genre such as Star Wars or more recently Ex Machina or Black Mirror.
See some more of the amazing artwork below, and read more about Métal Hurlant on Dazed Digital.
While you’re here, check out our list of the best music biopics out there.