Here's another story I wrote and packaged for Heavy Metal
27 years ago. "Symbiosis" ran in the December 1983 issue. Shawn McManus did the breakdowns and pencil art. After Jim McDermott did the inks, McManus created the color wash. Looking at this for the first time in many years, I can't remember the reason for the two-color effect, but in retrospect, full-color would have worked better. The panel with the tape cassette now looks like a conspicuous anachronism.
Edith Cassady's clothing is based on something Harvey Kurtzman once told me about how he got excited when he saw an Alex Raymond panel of Dale in Flash Gordon
with the underside of her breasts exposed. The character name is an obvious reference to Neal and Carolyn Cassady. Maybe I had seen the film adaptation of Carolyn Cassady's Heart Beat
around that time. Brief dialog fragments keep this from being pure pantomime like "Zenobia," our HM tale previously posted here (originally published seven months prior to "Symbiosis"). For "Zenobia," scroll down. Both stories have slightly similar headless creatures, but that was unintentional, as is the resemblance to Al Capp's Shmoo.
The concept of human interference with symbiotic alien creatures was inspired by Robert Silverberg's mystical masterpiece, Downward to the Earth
(1970), which in turn was a science fictional revamping of Heart of Darkness
. Reading Downward to the Earth
together with Silverberg's Son of Man
(1971) and Dying Inside
(1972) will leave you staggering.
© 2010 Bhob Stewart, Jim McDermott, Shawn McManus
Labels: heavy metal, jim mcdermott, neal cassady, robert silverberg, shawn mcmanus, symbiosis, zenobia