News and stories keep rolling out of both San Diego and Long Beach Comic-Cons. One particular area of interest which I indulge in is strolling through artist’s alley to find new works of art and writing in the form of comic books, posters, sketches, and lithographs that have been created in time for the conventions. In the process of my adventuring, I met up with an artist whose illustrations breathe life on to a blank page. The person I am referring to is artist, writer, and editor-in-chief David W. Miller.
Miller has produced a book that climbs the same steps as the classic EC Comics of the 1950s. It has the sexiness of Warren Publishing’s magazines of the seventies, and the edginess of “Heavy Metal” magazine during its early heyday. The title “Molten Lead” hits hard with a name that is an homage to “Heavy Metal.” Recommended for Mature Readers, the inner cover heralds the first issue’s premiere with:
“It’s Hammer Time… Welcome Lead Heads to the First Issue of Molten Lead! Sit Back and Relax Because It’s Time to Drop the Hammer!!!”
“Molten Lead” is a 64-page fantasy illustrated magazine done in an anthology style. Some of the stories are part of a series and will continue in subsequent issues, while others are presented as self-contained short stories. Providing a platform for up and coming artists and writers, Miller unleashes his pencils and inks along with his storytelling skills. The first story entitled ‘The Prophecy: Providence Whispers with story and art by David Miller owes its inspiration from Robert E. Howard’s Conan the Barbarian character.
Like Conan, Miller’s Goran the Skullcrusher is wary of magic. He is seen as both a conqueror and destroyer. In the pages of “Molten Lead” prophetess Shakira of the Nine Veils dances for the king of the Atlantean Empire and tells the tale of Goran who will come to destroy the heart of magic held by The Priests of the Scaly Egg. She is threatened and called a witch and leaves the court in haste. As she proceeds down the steps of the castle, she encounters Goran who has arrived to carry out his mission. (to be continued)
The next story in the issue is “Hope 1976” a story written and illustrated by the son and father team of Drake Miller and DW Miller. Alternate Earth… Alternate World… Battlefield. Soldiers fight for years, while losing everything in the process, but maybe.. just maybe with one final bullet, or artillery shell, it will put an end to the long drawn out war. That “comforting” thought is what keeps the soldiers going. A close up reveals one side of a canon shell with the word and numbers “HOPE 1976.”
This is a simple story which tackles motivation on the battlefield. There’s always the slim chance that an action that is performed during the course of a war will be the deciding factor to end the war. The artillery shell “HOPE 1976” could be the final piece in the puzzle to a long dragged out conflict.
“Zombie Tramp Epilogue” by Dan Mendoza
The story begins at the Omega Fraternity House. A base head fraternity boy is entertaining some cheerleaders indulging in the excesses of alcohol, drugs, and sex. Enter Dusty another member of Omega House, he bursts through the front door panicking. He hastily makes a beeline to his room upstairs, because he has just returned from the worst trip ever. Upon entering his room, he discovers, to his dismay, that there is a Zombie Tramp sitting on his bed. He attempts to turn and flee but she nails him with one of his own football trophies. In turn, he trips and tumbles down the stairs. The Zombie Tramp walks down the stairs and proceeds to kill all of the cheerleaders in a very gory manner, and then she emasculates Dusty. As a final insult, she forces him to perform a certain sexual act upon her. Then she leaves the last surviving fraternity brother alive, because as she states, “I’m not in the mood to kill and feed on a base head.”
As any member of a fraternity may tell you there are stories and tales that define any chapter’s history which are repeated and told from one generation to the next by the brotherhood. “Zombie Tramp” could be one of these urban myths that is meant to be a warning. An action can carry serious consequences, or this could be a metaphor for what happens when you overindulge in your vices to the detriment of yourself and others.
“Boredom” by DW Miller
Done in the same style as Bernie Wrightson’s “Captain Sternn” from “Heavy Metal” magazine and movie by the same title. “Boredom” centers on the long trek in space and the accompanying monotony it can bring. Aboard a salvage freighter, two occupants, Hugo and Pris, along with their one-eyed robot Goover, who wears a longshoreman’s sock hat, get news over the “wire” to investigate a Bio Freighter. Pris agrees that it should be checked out, because there are only so many times she can watch the movie “Alien.”
Pris and Goover board the ship only to find an absence of any life signs. While salvaging, Pris discovers the valuable book, Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs. She also finds a mysterious goop like substance and to their misfortune Pris and Goover find that they are not alone. They encounter something… something huge. Without spoiling the ending, every reader will appreciate the unexpected special twist at the end.
Armageddon Popcorn Chapter 1: Old Friends, story and art by David W. Miller.
The place Los Angeles. The year 2019. The world has changed. Dark creatures hunt the night. There are many a hunter that fall into the man and beast categories. The man known as Caliber is one such individual. He proclaims to be Superman with a bad attitude and a long sharp sword.
A tale much like the Terminator, Caliber saves a woman in distress named Kira from mutant wolves. She and a group of survivors tell Caliber the tale of Caliban who fought the Dreadnaughts, creatures of the new dark ages. He killed them all, and saved everyone. Ryko shows Caliber an amulet, which brings back memories of his long lost love Miranda. Is there a connection between Miranda and Caliban? Caliban is regarded as a hero.
Caliber relates to them that he doubts that Caliban defeated the Dreadnaughts. Also, he tells them that he himself killed Caliban and cut off his head. At the end of this first chapter, Caliber leaves to confirm the truth, and maybe to prove a point. Is Caliban really dead? (to be continued)
A bit confusing at first, this story picks up and brings the elements together. Caliber is not a coldblooded killer. He shows he has feelings by pining over his lost love Miranda. Also, when he makes a “promise” he backs it up with force. The real question begs, why would Caliber leave behind a hot den of babes?
Miller takes a different approach to this story by going for the anime look for this story’s characters. This style has the large eyes, and the overly developed feminine physique, but it works. The story and artwork take an approach that could be depressing and adds in elements of mystery and excitement. This story is well worth waiting for its continuation in issue two.
“Molten Lead” has a cover price of $5.99 and is well worth owning. This is a limited edition book with only 75 copies available. So get yours before time runs out. DW Miller can be reached at his website: