In Memoriam: Julie Strain, “Queen of the B-Movies”

We’re sorry to report the passing of Julie Strain, “Queen of the B-Movies”– a Playboy model-turned comic book star – who died on Sunday.

Julie Strain

Her passing was noted by, among others, artist Olivia de Beradinis, who told Instagram followers the troubled star, who had been diagnosed with dementia some time ago, had passed away with her partner at her side.

With over 100 films to her credit, Strain became known as the “Queen of the B-movies” and was chosen by Penthouse as Pet of the Month in June 1991 and Pet of the Year in 1993.

“Julie Strain loved the camera and the camera loved her but she looked in real life like an Amazon queen so graphic artists loved her as well,” noted movie critic Joe Bob Briggs in a tribute on Twitter. “She used to joke about it – “six foot one and worth the climb” – but the editor of Heavy Metal magazine [Kevin Eastman] married her. That’s a testament.”

It was Heavy Metal that published her autobiography, titled Six Foot One and Worth the Climb, heavily illustrated with stills from her film and modelling career, plus paintings by Boris Vallejo, Julie Bell and Olivia De Berardinis, who described her as her “Amazon muse”.

Julie Strain - art by Art by Olivia De Berardinis
Art by Olivia De Berardinis
Heavy Metal cover art featuring Julie Strain by Olivia De Berardinis
Heavy Metal cover art featuring Julie Strain by Olivia De Berardinis

Her association with Heavy Metal reached its peak in 2000, when she served as the model and voice of the animated heroine Julie in the film Heavy Metal 2000 and its spinoff/sequel video game Heavy Metal F.A.K.K.2.

Paying tribute, Heavy Metal noted “Strain’s over-the-top glamazon appearance was complemented by an irreverent personality. Julie knew that what she was doing was pretty ridiculous, and she embraced it. Some actresses do B-movies in the meantime, because they have to, with the dream of making it to more prestigious productions. That wasn’t Julie — she was happy to be Queen of the Bs.

“… She didn’t look like a sci-fi fan, comics nerd or genre-movie buff, but she was. She was one of us.”

Julie Strain by Simon Bisley
Art by Simon Bisley
Heavy Metal - September 1997 - cover by Simon Bisley
Heavy Metal – September 1997 – cover by Simon Bisley

“Julie Strain always was the model that has kept popping up as she was visualised by Simon Bisley, Olivia De Berardinis, Ricky Carralero, Dorian Cleavenger, Armanda Huerta, Boris Valeijo, Joe Jusko, Milo Manara, Julie Bell, Luis Royo and many more artists,” notes Richard Boom in a tribute on Comics for Sinners.

“In the 90’s she was everywhere as a larger than life presence that completely shaped my view of femininity,” commented artist Meghan Mars. “She broke the mold in every way.”

Julie Strain, 18th February 1962 – 10th January 10, 2021

• The official Julie Strain Facebook page run by her partner Dave is sharing condolences from friends, fans, and industry peers

Heavy Metal’s tribute to Julie Strain is here

The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Explorer (previously known as Star Trek Magazine) and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of "Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies" for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.

Categories: Art and Illustration, downthetubes Comics News, downthetubes News, Features, Obituaries, US Comics

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