Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Before The Incal by Alexandro Jodorowsky & Zoran Janjetov
The original Incal story is currently published by Humanoids under the title The Incal. It is a science fiction story written by Jodorowsky, fully illustrated by Moebius and originally published in 1981. Subsequently, versions have been printed in which the amazing work of Moebius was re-colored because a certain publisher thought it needed modernization..let us not speak of such atrocities and blaspheme. The story itself has inspired other science fiction writers and even film makers. You may recognize some bits of the book in this way: "Hey, remember that movie The Fifth Element? This kinda looks like that." That's because director Luc Besson took direct vision and "inspiration" from the book. He was actually sued by Jodorowsky and Moebius. They lost their case because I can only imagine that courts don't care about the intellectual property within comics unless it was published by Marvel. Or maybe when that Shia LaBeouf kid steals an entire graphic novel from Daniel Clowes and turns it into a movie without asking? At any rate, that's a brief history of the original story without giving away any kind of plot details.
In 1988 Jodorowsky published the first book in the prequel story Before the Incal. He hand picked Janjetov to illustrate the story claiming that Janjetov's artistic style was the most like Moebius' work. In the back of the currently released edition of Before the Incal, there is an awesome interview with Janjetov detailing this and his experience with Jodorowsky. It's one of the things that I love about the Humanoids publications. In all the ways that publishers have defiled the series over the years with censorship, poor translation and recoloring, Humanoids manages to keep the original story intact and include nice little bits at the end, like the interview with Janjetov.
As the title suggests, the book details the events that John Difool encounters before he gets involved with the Incal, a crystal of great power. There are certain points in this particular book which quickly endeared me to it. I originally didn't think I would enjoy the book. Jodorowsky may have insisted that Janjetov's work was most like Moebius but there really is only one Moebius. I didn't want to see any imitation. It was while reading the book that I came to love Janjetov's unique style. He really is not a Moebius impersonator at all and his work is full of charm. The way he drew the young John Difool could not have been any more perfect. It's one of the things that made me fall in love with the book. There's a closer look at John Difool and who he was. Who was he? The son of prostitute in the lower rings of a dystopian city. He was fragile, emotional and compassionate which is quite different from the grown up Difool who's miserable, addicted to homeo-whores and visky. Which brings me to an important point - language.
So have I convinced you yet? I guess the big question is, HAVE YOU READ THE INCAL?