I’ve moaned and moaned about the aborted Alejandro Jodorowsky project, Dune, an adaptation of the classic Frank Herbert sci-fi novel. Jodorowsky’s hubristic vision was a ten hour art film epic that starred Orson Wells as the Baron Harkonen and Salvador Dali as the Emperor Shaddam Corrino IV. The budget was astronomical for an indie art film in the mid-70’s, mostly due to some outrageous demands from Dali, who wanted $100,000 and hour and Wells, who would only act in the movie on the condition that Jodorowsky hire his favorite gourmet chef to personally prepare his meals. The soundtrack would feature sweet prog-rock by Magma and Pink Floyd and the concept art for House Atreides would be handled by legendary French comic artist, Moebius while the House Harkonen designs would be handled by H.R. Giger. It was a sprawling nightmare of preproduction and by the time the bottom fell out of the entire movie, Jodorowsky had somehow burned through $2m of his $9.5m budget. Eventually, the movie would land in the hands of Dino DeLaurentis and David Lynch and you either love that flick (like me) or you fucking hate it with every fiber of your being.
Jodorowsky was still left with all these great ideas that were poured into a script by Dan O’Bannon and something tells me that he couldn’t live with himself if he didn’t do something with them. The result of his valiant effort to make Dune was a comic book published in France in the early 80’s with Moebius, The Incal. I’ve never read the comic. I actually have a volume of Jodorowsky’s follow-up and expansion of The Incal, The Metabarons, and while I think it’s home to some seriously flawed science fiction writing, shit with names like techno-this, hyper-that or psycho-whatever, it’s an absolutely sprawling science fiction saga about tribal politics and the most fearsome warriors in the far future of mankind. The art is also fucking amazing euro-comix illustration; supremely detailed and brilliantly colored. Two page spreads of battles on land and in space become downright erotic, I tell you! The Incal, however, features the ongoing adventures of John DiFool, a sort of mercenary asshole left to care for a massively powerful artifact called The Incal in a situation similar to the origin of The Green Lantern. DiFool, the reluctant hero, is more or less forced to become a hero again and again throughout the story and it mirrors the metaphoric tale of becoming told by the major arcana of The Tarot, a topic of which Jodorowsky is an expert. From what I gather, The Incal is a seriously fucking weird comic brought to life by the brilliant work of Moebius. Ideas and designs were alleged to have been sourced heavily from The Incal during the production of Luc Besson’s The Fifth Element.
Since its French publication in 1981, imprints of both Marvel and DC have published it in English in varying degrees of censorship. Humanoids Publishing, an imprint of DC who published the book in English last, is readying a new uncensored edition of the book for American and European markets. The new edition is a single volume publication, 300 pages in an oversized European album. Humanoids looks to have this Classic Collection edition of Jodorowsky’s vision on comic and book store shelves in November so keep an eye on your Previews catalogs and get your orders in now. This is going to be huge! Below are a few more samples from the new edition. Check it out!