This beautiful hardcover collects the six original books of Jodorowsky and Moebius’s classic science fiction epic The Incal, originally published in French in the 1980s. A work as self-consciously mythic as this one is going to invite comparison to many other tales. But some of the lines of influence here are pretty obvious, with references falling outside the medium of comics into science fiction novels and films, as well as esoteric traditions.
Clearly, Frank Herbert’s Dune played a major part, with the contention of corrupted factions in a galactic empire, framed by a mystical apocalypse. Qabalistic references include the “theta dream” of Tiphareth, succeeded by the “daath dream” ascending the Tree of Life.
While the influence of The Incal on Luc Besson’s film The Fifth Element is so overwhelming as to incite accusations of plagiarism, it can also be traced in movies like The Matrix and its sequels. Jodorowski’s antihero John Difool is not Neo, who could be compared to the messianic Solune. Instead, as we see in “Planet Difool,” he actually bears closer comparison to Wachowskis’ Agent Smith!
The 10,000-light-year-view used in the narrative framing of The Incal leaves it open to accusations of stereotyped characters and perfunctory plotting. But this book occupies a pole diametrically opposed to literary realism; it is mystical allegory, in which the characters and factions represent spiritual orientations and capabilities. Moebius’s art is perfectly suited to its task here, and the revolting panels of the nightmare sequence near the book’s end are only rivalled by the exaltation that follows them.
Enjoyable in their own right, the contents of this volume are a landmark in the development of the graphic story medium and the science fiction genre. [via]
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