I recently got my hands on all 34 issues of Marvel’s ill-fated attempt to compete with Heavy Metal, Epic Illustrated. The magazine was edited by Archie Goodwin, who wrote nearly all of the early material for Eerie and Creepy. And the first issue features a cover painting by Frazetta, along with a trans-galactic stoner-riffic Silver Surfer tale about the oneness of space and time.
The magazine seems to be top-notch in both art and writing. And while it competed with Heavy metal, Epic, most definetly seemed to has it’s own personality. HM was so magnificent in the seventies and eighties because it wasn’t afraid to get weird, alienate readers and journey to those avant-guard surreal zones most often seen in its Metal Hurlant translations. Think Moebius and Druillet. Epic on the other hand, stays much closer in feel to the magazines Goodwin had done for Warren (Creepy, Eerie, Vampirella, etc.). Some issues even feature Warren-style horror stories, complete with a host. That said, the stories are full naked women. Epic certainly didn’t shy away from anything in that regard.
Epic features a lot of top talent, including mainstream Marvel artists like Jim Starlin who were able to cut loose of the comics code, along with names like Michael Moorcock, Rick Veitch, Denny O’Neil, Richard Corben and even Dave Sim.