Diane O'Bannon Wishes Heavy Metal Would Talk To Her Attorney

Diane O'Bannon, the widow of comics and screenwriter Dan O'Bannon, has posted to social media "Heavy Metal still hasn't made up its mind to deal with The O'Bannon Company about using Dan's "B-17" concept in the comic they want to put out. I sure wish they'd give my attorney a call so they can release the very fine-looking issue that they've already put a lot of thought and money into. I'd be happy to see this story taken further."

What's all this about? Well, in September last year, Bleeding Cool reported on a new planned comic book from Heavy Metal spinning out from a strip published in Heavy Metal Magazine #300, called Cold Dead War, based on the Heavy Metal anthology movie. Heavy Metal executive editor Joe Illidge was quoted as saying "Taarna and B‑17 are the two serials from the original animated film that Heavy Metal owns. In addition to having short stories in the new monthly rotation of the magazine, both of them will have miniseries. So there will be the Taarna miniseries, which will launch in December. And B‑17 has been expanded to be renamed Cold Dead War. Cold Dead War is a miniseries that will launch in October."

Questions Over Heavy Metal, Dan O'Bannon and B-17
Heavy Metal Magazine #300

Cold Dead War was described by Heavy Metal as "is the official sequel to the well-known Heavy Metal animated film segment "B-17," written by George C. Romero, son of legendary film director George A. Romero and heir to the Romero Dead media franchise!"

B-17 was a story created by the late Dan O'Bannon for the 1981 anthology Heavy Metal movie. O'Bannon may be better known for writing the screenplay for Alien, adapted from a story he wrote with Ronald Shusett. He also scripted and directed the horror-comedy The Return of the Living Dead, as well as also working on Star Wars, Dark Star, Total Recall, and the Heavy Metal movie for which he wrote the two sections Soft Landing and B-17.

There is also a licensed Heavy Metal pinball machine being released with Stern, which features Dan O'Bannon's B52 artwork (among others) prominently.

Questions Over Heavy Metal, Dan O'Bannon and B-17
Promotional imagery for a pinball machine from Stern, featuring Dan O'Bannon's B-17.

At the time, I spoke to the estate of Dan O'Bannon, The O'Bannon Company, about these issues. I am told that the O'Bannon Company was not contacted in any way about the use of Dan O'Bannon's work for this new series. Diane O'Bannon told me that she had been in touch with an attorney. She told Bleeding Cool then, "It is surprising to me that Heavy Metal would go ahead without getting clearances from the originator of the B-17 property because this leaves the series in a vulnerable position regarding its completion and airing. We have had good relations with them previous to this. I would welcome a word from them."

Bleeding Cool reached out to Heavy Metal Magazine without comment. I understand that after The O'Bannon Company later sent a Cease & Desist notice. Heavy Metal told comic book retailers that all orders for Cold Dead War had been canceled, and the comic was rescheduled for January 2021. Instead, the comic was rescheduled two months later, with issue 1 for the 24th of March, 2021, issue 2 for April and issue 3 for May.

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Rich JohnstonAbout Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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