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A Genius: Alejandro Jodorowsky

The Incal is an interesting series for readers in the United States right now, because it is the origin of many of the other series of yours being published, such as The Metabarons and The Technopriests. Have you found your approach to this shared universe changing as you revisit it over the years, accumulating detail and history?

JODOROWSKY: It is like a tree, it never stops growing.

There are also several direct continuations of The Incal, such as Avant l'Incal, which Zoran Janjetov initially drew in a style close to Moebius' designs. Do you feel that there's a necessity to keep these stories visually close to Moebius' designs, in that he was the originating artist? Does this bear on your collaboration with Ladrönn in Final Incal?

JODOROWSKY: Yes, it is necessary to keep this story close from Moebius drawings but without copying it and making it richer.

Both The Incal and Avant l'Incal exist in different forms, at one point with newer, considerably different colors introduced to Moebius' and Janjetov's drawings. Were you consulted regarding these visual alterations? Do you feel a comic is "finished" when it is published?

JODOROWSKY: With the 3 d fashion the Humanoids editor trying to seduce the young audience changed the comic colors. I didn't like that. But comics are an industrial art like movies and it needs to sell its products. But time gave me right. The audience prefers the original colors.

Relatedly, I've noticed that many of your comics are attentive to individual albums as unique pieces of storytelling. For example, each chapter of The Metabarons is structured as Tonto starting and finishing a story. The same is true with Albino's narrations in The Technopriests. Even in Madwoman of the Sacred Heart, there is a distinct shift in Moebius' drawings between chapters, as time passes. Do you feel individual comics albums, even if only a chapter in a larger story, should be experienced alone, and are readers in the United States missing some of the enjoyment in only reading these series as big omnibus books?

JODOROWSKY: This question is too long and annoying for me. I stop to fart.

When Métal Hurlant was revived in the '00s, you wrote a series of short stories on the theme of a planet's fragment passing by various worlds (later collected into Alexandro Jodorowsky's Screaming Planet). I was struck when the editors of Métal Hurlant mentioned that for many of the stories you had not seen samples of the artists' works before writing the scripts, which is quite different from how you usually collaborate with artists. How did these stories come about? Do you have any favorites among the shorter Métal Hurlant pieces?

JODOROWSKY: The editor was telling me the qualities and limits of the artists. For example, there was one that was drawing good the characters but not the cities. I invented a story the takes place in a desert. Another didn't knew how to express emotions, I invented a robot world without any human. I took it as a challenge, a game.

I greatly enjoyed the metaphor running through The Technopriests of video games as both creative expression perverted by industrial demands and the concern of technological developments standing in the place of human relationships. Has navigating the industry of comics changed with the passage of time and technological changes?

JODOROWSKY: Everything is changing, not only comics, even the brain of human beings is changing.

Once, when asked if you were a magician of cinema, you replied that you had made very few films, and that film-making is like karate, where you must punch and punch and punch to achieve magic. Do you feel you are a magician of comics?

JODOROWSKY: I feel myself like a genius and a sacred whore.

Do you read many new comics, and are there any you've particularly enjoyed?

JODOROWSKY: Prince Valiant, graphic novels of Will Eisner, [Katsuhiro] Otomo's Akira.

Finally, is there a message you would like to give to artists making comics today?

JODOROWSKY: Kill Superheroes !!! Tell your own dreams.


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