Date of Degree


Document Type

Capstone Project

Degree Name



Liberal Studies


Matthew K. Gold

Subject Categories

Contemporary Art | Film Production | Graphic Design | Illustration | Interdisciplinary Arts and Media | Modern Art and Architecture | Other Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Other Film and Media Studies | Theory and Criticism | Visual Studies


documentary, graphic novels, comic books, heavy metal, bande dessinee, science fiction


Heavy Ink is a documentary short focusing on the comic anthology magazine, Heavy Metal, examining its history as both a standout comic magazine, and how it fits into the larger tradition of comic books. What started off in 1977 as a sci-fi offshoot of National Lampoon ushered in a new era of comics by bridging the gap between American and European comic sensibilities with a talent pool from all over the world.

Heavy Metal would go on to have reverberations beyond comics into music, movies, and the global entertainment landscape of today. Heavy Metal introduced the world to artists such as Moebius, Philippe Drulliet, Vaughn Bode, and Richard Corben along with a plethora of underground and established cartoonists from around the world, daring to do what the likes of Marvel and DC could not (until both launched their own imitations).

This film examines the feedback loop of influences in Europe, America, and Asia from comics to rock music and how they all converged on one comic book magazine. But was Heavy Metal a product of its time? A pre-internet manifestation of multicultural interests? Or was it simply the right magazine at the right time?

In Heavy Ink, I interview former Heavy Metal editor, Brad Balfour (and other comic artists/authors/historians), on film and examine Heavy Metal’s history and the reverberations it created that are felt to this day.