Friday, 19 December 2014

One ticket to Jodoverse please!

Whenever I've gone to the continent on holiday I always end up wandering into book shops. I suppose it's out of habit. I know that there is nothing in there I'll be able to read (being a very poor linguist) but I always end up wandering around a FNAC store looking at stuff and inevitably I'm drawn to the graphic novels / comic books as I can at least look at the pretty pictures. I always wondered what was going on in these fantastical tales and wished there were some english translations I could buy. I never bothered looking when I got home though, forgotten until the next visit.
One of these tomes that I reckon I must have seen is 'The Incal' and it's something I intend to explore. I've asked the lovely wife to get me the english version for christmas. The reasons it fascinates so much without even having read it intrigue me as much as the book does. So lets delve into my psyche a little and see what has 'hooked' me.

Firstly, as you may know if you've read much of this blog, I'm a big fan of 2000ad and it's characters. 2000ad is a peculiarly british take on sci-fi and comics in general. I prefer it massively to the DC/Marvel universes for it's grittiness and 'punk' attitude. In what I have read and seen so far about 'Metal Hurlant', there seems to be a interesting parallel in attitude and approach which makes me want explore.

If you aren't aware, 'Metal Hurlant' was a quarterly (then bi-monthly) sci-fi and horror comic anthology magazine that began in 1974 and ran until 1987. It was known in english as 'Heavy Metal' when it was licensed in the states (thus the 1981 animated film of the same name). One of the founders of the magazine was Jean Giraud, better known as Moebius. The year after setting up 'Metal Hurlant', Moebius was approached by the Film Director Alejandro Jodorowsky who wanted him (amongst others) to produce character and costume designs for his adaptation of Frank Herberts novel 'Dune'.

For various reasons the film wasn't made (a documentary came out this year exploring this aborted attempt to film the novel entitled Jodorowsky's Dune) but the sketches and designs can be easily found on the interwebs. See below for a taster.

Jodorowsky had managed to spend  $2million  of his budget on pre-production costs and had written a script that would have resulted in a 14 hour long film! It was this script that was converted into the basis for the 1981 story of 'The Incal', written by Jodorowsky and illustrated by Moebius. Fair enough, take my money!

The first Incal series ran until 1988 and was followed by 'Before the Incal' (88-95 and this time illustrated by Zoran Janjetov and Fred Beltran) then another two in series (After the Incal and Final Incal). But it doesn't stop there. Another reason that I'm on the verge of diving head first is the fact that Jodorowsky is expanding on some of the characters and factions with other series and through these creating his own Jodoverse. The most intriguing of these (to me) that I have so far discovered is the tale of the 'Metabarons'.  This link is to a google image search. Just click on it and tell me it doesn't whet your whistle. A new version of the collected Metabarons stories is coming out in february to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of that fist appearance of Metal Hurlant (or at least the Humanoids publishing label that was founded to release it).

So what is it that has me all excited?

 It's a whole new 'Space Opera' that I can immerse myself in, unlike star wars, or dune or even the 40k backstory, it's entirely new (to me) and I'm not sure what to expect and that doesn't happen often at my age.

Visually it looks stunning and want to grab all new kinds of ideas for painting and modelling and seeing where the Jodoverse takes me.

 It's a fulfillment of the curiosity that I've always had about European graphic novels and hopefully it'll be first step in.

I'm fascinated by a sci-fi trope that I haven't seem before, like meeting a relative for the first time and looking for family similarities.

And finally, lets face it, when it comes down it, it's a whole load of sci-fi comics with guns and aliens and robots and craziness and I like that kind of thing!



  1. Looks like an interesting journey, I look forward to the updates to come and see what effect it has on your modelling and painting.

  2. Great and timely post! I just watched (and loved) the Jodorowsky's DUNE documentary last night and I am still buzzing over many of the images and joyful madness of it. But the biggest thing was the constant thought banging in my head: "I just want to game this!!!" The look of the ships, vehicles and costumes had me frothing with excitement imaging them in lead and on a table! Thanks for this post! I can't wait to check out the whole Incal series now. And I look forward to see where your developments take you too.

    1. I'm glad I'm able to share stuff like this, it's what blogging is all about!

  3. Well I can only agree with you on this. Being french I've been a huge fan of Jodorowsky and Moebius for gaes while I only discovered 2000AD late. The metabaron series is one of my personnal favourites. Those guys had absolutely no limit and many characters were just challenges thrown at each other "I'll bet you can't invent a a character without a head...". Everything is so epic and sublime.

    I regularly go back to these and all the work that evolves around it is splendid really. It is at the base of RT as we know from Tony Ackland and digging those goldmines is always a wonderful experience.

    Enjoy !

    1. I was hoping you'd have something to add, I'm really looking forward to getting may hands on the books. Thing is I reckon the wife might be keeping them for my birthday (middle of january) which might be a tad frustrating as I reckon she's also got the second Zenith book which I paid for in advance and got shipped with what ever she bought! Oh the excitement!

  4. Yeah, the books are great, I read the English translated version last year, highly recommended.

    On a side note, while your waiting for the graphic novels to arrive, you should check out the animated movies that Möbius & Jodorowsky collaborated on......there's quite a few worth checking out.

    Oh, and as Asslessman pointed out, it's full of craziness, my favourite being of the Bounty hunter with the head of a German Shepard , awesome!

  5. I painted an Inquisitor Jodorowsky in an outfit referencing "The Alchemist" character in "The Holy Mountain" earlier this year, but thats as far into the Jodoverse as I got. The Holy Mountain had more than enough full on bananas stuff going on to keep me thinking about it for a while (and I only watched the trailer...).

    Asslessman and Suber both spoke to me about the Jodorowskys comics after that. I expect them to be just as fruity as his movies, but I am interested to see how you get on with them all the same Colin. Coming at the books completely fresh is interesting (and rare as you mentioned). I hope that you report back on your progress.

  6. If you ever get a chance to see any of the movies that Jodorowsky did get made, they are worth watching. There's not much space opera in them. And, at times, they seem like a parody of an art movie rather than an art movie itself. But his eye for visual images is incredible. And he can be pretty funny too.


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