Queen Zenobia's Last Look Upon Palmyra by Herbert Schmalz
"Zenobia" is one of the stories I packaged in the early 1980s for Heavy Metal
. It was published in the June 1983 issue which had a front cover illustration by Barclay Shaw
. The story was scripted by me, drawn by Shawn McManus
and painted by John Coffey.
I felt that acceptance of the science-fantasy situation with a "sense of wonder" could be facilitated in a smooth manner with pantomime panels rather than the intrusion of balloons. I seem to recall that the vehicle was originally intended to be a creature with organic wheels.
Zenobia was the name of the girl I sat behind in study hall when I was in junior high school. While I was reading science fiction magazines, I would occasionally whisper something over her shoulder, and without turning around, she would respond with soft laughter. I had her in mind when I titled the story. So there was that sf/female memory link, plus the name has a sort of exotic reverb. It has been used as a name for exotic characters in fiction by Robert E. Howard, Robert A. Heinlein, Edith Wharton, P.G. Wodehouse, William Golding and others. There was a real Queen Zenobia in the Third Century, as depicted in the painting at top by Herbert Schmalz. She was said to be more beautiful than Cleopatra.
Labels: barclay shaw, coffey, heavy metal, mcmanus, memoir, symbiosis, zenobia