Jim Steranko – Outland
Sci-Fi-O-Rama contributor Ben Feldman recently pointed me toward an online selection of Heavy Metal, the infamous American Sci-Fi/Fantasy magazine most prominent in the late 70s and 1980s.
Heavy Metal was originally a remix of translated material from the French comic anthology Métal hurlant and prominently features art from Gallic masters such as Moebius, Enki Bilal, Philippe Caza and Phillippe Druillet.
Anyway, whilst scanning through the back issues I came across samples of this Jaw-dropping Jim Steranko adaptation of the Sean Connery Sci-Fi flick Outland (Peter Hyams, 1981). The level of draughtsmanship detail is simply incredible, a level of confident intricacy that rivals even the technicality Katsuhiro Otomo.
A quick recap, Outland is a ‘high-noon-in-space’ type thriller that features some superb claustrophobic set design akin to Ridley Scott’s Alien, though distinctive enough to merit its own plaudits. The plot revolves around a drug smuggling conspiracy set on a mining colony on Jupiter’s moon Io and whilst the film’s narrative is at times plodding it does have a brooding edge and features decent performances most notably from Connery.
The real star of the show, however, is the aforementioned design, It’s your typical early 80’s ‘used-future-look’ – trucker shirts, nicotine drenched, and dimly lit with flickering CRTs and glowing door controls.
All of this atmosphere is captured incredibly by Steranko who manages to blend complex woven backdrops, bold graphic design with a bright high-contrast palette. The essence of cyberpunk mashed with pop art.
Jim Steranko (born November 5, 1938) is most famous for his work on Marvel’s Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.
and went on to produce a plethora of comic and book cover art, eventually becoming something of a comic historian. Interestingly, Steranko also providing conceptual art and character designs for Raiders of the Lost Ark (Spielberg, 1981) and Bram Stoker’s Dracula (Copolla, 1992). Two films as beautiful and memorable as the Steranko’s art here.
With regards to the Outland collected series, I believe this might be a compedium: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6834653-outland
Danke schön Timo Meyer @timohmeyer
However, if you fancy hunting out the original Heavy Metal back issues you need to find are:
#51 (June, 1981) – Introduction; about the story
#52 (July, 1981)
#53 (August, 1981)
#54 (September, 1981)
#55 (October, 1981)
#58 (January, 1982)
More information on the Outland Adaptation over at CosmicSpectrumBlog
Artwork Copyright Jim Steranko All Rights Reserved.
Note that artwork is included here purely as a sampler.