24 Horror Pin Ups Magazine Showcases Colorado's Metal Maidens | Westword

24 Horror Pin Ups Magazine Showcases Colorado's Metal Maidens

24 Horror Pin Ups is a new art book that showcases illustrations of the horror-loving model crew.
"Stella Morbid," by Jolyon.
"Stella Morbid," by Jolyon. Courtesy of Amy Asche
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Werewolves, arachnids and masked killers might not be everyone's idea of a sexy centerfold, but don't tell that to Amy Asche and Daniel Crosier.

Asche is the founder of DIY alternative modeling agency Metal Maidens, and Crosier is one of the creators of the Colorado Festival of Horror; now they're combining headbangers and hell-raisers in a new magazine, 24 Horror Pin Ups. The illustrated art book debuts this month, with two dozen renditions of horror icons as pinups, interpreted by a host of talented local artists as well as a few notable out-of-towners, including one of the musicians from the satirical shock-rock band Gwar. The creatives are currently running an Indiegogo to compensate all of the artists involved with the magazine, but they're so excited to share it that they're rushing it out weeks before the campaign wraps. The first previews will be presented at the Metal-Lesque concert at the Rickhouse on Saturday, June 8.

The magazine's illustrations range from the playful to the outright carnal. Button-nosed cartoon witches on broomsticks fly next to black-eyed Cenobites (the sadomasochistic demons created by Clive Barker) with hook-pierced breasts realistic enough to make you wince; vampires, lycanthropes and maniacs abound.

The collection is presented by the Colorado Festival of Horror and takes its cue from the many horror movie-inspired shoots that Asche has created with the Metal Maidens over the years. Primarily, the group is known for its portfolio of alternative modeling, as well as for community organizing and street team efforts supporting the Colorado music scene. Still, horror cosplay has always been one of the Maidens' specialties. 24 Horror Pin Ups mixes horror, beauty, metal and monsters in a colorful love letter to the group and its history. Each participating artist uses the collective's ample catalogue for inspiration, referencing specific photo shoots created by Asche during its twenty-plus years of work, when models have creatively riffed on everything from Michael Myers to Mr. Stay-Puft.

The idea of an illustrated pinup book paying homage to the Maidens had been kicked around for a while. Asche recalls her friend, comic and concept artist Barry McClain Jr. being the first to float such a concept, but says that she was too swamped with projects to pursue the idea when he originally suggested it. McClain, who contributed the cover for the current magazine, will create yet another pinup book of the Maidens, as well as a comic narrative of them; both are currently being prepared for the group's 25th anniversary next year.
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"Metal Witch," by Amy Asche.
Courtesy of Amy Asche
COFOH's Crosier, who is also a comic book artist, had a very similar vision, which he pitched while the Maidens were at last year's festival. During the weekend, he had an opportunity to hang out with Asche and take a deep dive into their shared interest in the genre.

"We had started talking about how the two things that [the Maidens] were really known for were horror movie cosplays and metal stuff," Asche says. "I started showing him some of the cosplays that we've done over the years, and he was like, 'We should do a whole pinup book like this.'"

The time was right, and Asche suggested structuring the current book with 24 chronological illustrations (one for each year of the group's history), with 24 different models represented and 24 artists taking part. The project came together quickly after that, though scheduling conflicts ended up bringing the total of contributors to just over twenty.

"I brought in a number of local comic book artists, and Amy was able to bring in a lot of tattoo artists," says Crosier. "It's a great collection of amazing artists all saddle-stitched into one unified book."

Many of the artists are from the area, including Joe Oliver, Gerhard Ka'aihue and Leighton Buxman. Asche and Crosier also both ended up contributing a pair of illustrations. Matt Maguire, aka Sawborg Destructo from Gwar, a longtime friend of Asche's, delivered a version of an early shoot in which she portrayed Morticia Addams. The organizers also managed to involve their mutual friend (who was also responsible for their introduction) — sideshow legend, Freaky's artist, "most jigsaw-tattooed man alive" and all-around character the Enigma.

"He did it in a banner fashion, like you would do for a sideshow," explains Asche, who somehow finds time to moonlight as the Enigma's tattoo apprentice in addition to her other activities. "Something really interesting about him is that he paints all of his banners for his sideshow act by hand, just like they did back in the day. He's very much a traditionalist as far as sideshow and trying to keep that stuff alive."

The Enigma's contribution, referencing A Nightmare on Elm Street, pops right off of the page with eye-burning colors and sharp lettering — and, of course, a subtle puzzle-piece motif.
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"Brooke Savage," by Rafael Maldonado.
Courtesy of Amy Asche
The Enigma is also the subject of one of the Indigogo campaign's most unique prizes — a full latex mask of his face, tattoos, horns and all — created by Colorado makeup and effects wizards KreatureKid. The one-of-a-kind mask is the standout from the prize pile, which also includes digital and print versions of the Pin Ups book, Metal Maidens gear such as a branded skateboard, and tickets to the Colorado Festival of Horror. Asche and Crosier say they'll likely be adding a few more surprises over the next week to tempt potential contributors.

The book, however, will be out sooner rather than later. Asche will crank out an initial version at her print-shop day job to release at Metal-Lesque on Saturday, June 8. The show comes courtesy of Metal Maiden Danie Hahn (Danie Domina on stage), and the lineup includes the bands Hated, Dystopioid, Spacecorpse and Flesh Digest in addition to performances by Metal Maidens models and other local burlesque artists. Other places to pick the art book include the Metal Maidens website and any upcoming Colorado Festival of Horror events.

The most locally supportive way to get your hands on 24 Horror Pin Ups, however, is to head over to its Indiegogo page and show your appreciation to the hardworking, horror-loving artists and models that made it all possible. Asche and Crosier say that the opportunities to do so, and to grab some great perks, will be running all month long — they just can't wait that long to show off their beautiful new demon baby.

"We're at a point where we can start printing the books and getting it out there to people," concludes Crosier. "We're just really jazzed and want to get it out there and to be able to promote all the talent that's in there."

Metal-Lesque, 7 p.m., Saturday, June 8, the Rickhouse, 6100 East 39th Avenue. Tickets, $15-$120, are available at holdmyticket.com. 24 Horror Pin Ups is available at Indiegogo.com.
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