Theatre director, filmmaker, writer and spiritual guru, comprise all the activities engaged in by Alejandro Jodorowsky (1929-) during his prolific career, which is a challenge in itself. More important here is to remember that he is also an important comics writer who worked with names like Jean Giraud/Moebius (1938-2012) and Milo Manara (1945-), helping elevate comics to a more respected form of art.

Jodorowsky was born in Chile as a son of Jewish immigrants and soon developed a strictly artistic and political sensibility, writing poems and working with theater. In parallel, he read comics published in the country: Prince Valliant, Mandrake and King of the Royal Mounted. After a period of seven years (1953-1960) in Paris, he moved to Mexico and wrote a comic strip called Aníbal 5, inspired by the ideas around Mouvement Panique, an avant-garde movement Jodorowsky founded along with the Spanish Fernando Arrabal (1932-) and the French Roland Topor (1938-1997). He also worked in other comics during the second half of 1960s in Mexico, like Fábulas pánicas, a serial comic strip published in the newspaper El Heraldo de México.

If the 1970s was the decade that projected Jodorowsky’s name into movie culture, the following decade would establish him as a relevant comics artist. The decade of the graphic novel and the circulation of national traditions around the world is also the period when Jodorowsky worked with Moebius in science fiction saga L’Incal, published in six volumes between 1981 and 1989 by Les Humanoïdes Associés, a publishing house known for its innovative approach to comics. L’Incal generated other works, always with Jodorowsky as a writer: Avant L’Incal (six volumes, 1988-1995), with artwork by Zoran Janjetov (1961-); Après L’Incal (two volumes, 2000 and 2011), with artwork by Moebius; and Final Incal (two volumes, 2008 and 2011), with artwork by José Omar Ladrönn (1967-). Other works with Janjetov, he wrote Les Technopères (eight volumes, 1998-2006), and L’Ogregod; and with Moebius, the three volumes of Le Coeur Couronée (1992-1998). During his career, Jodorowsky worked with several other comic artists mostly in the science fiction comics field. Historical comics were produced with names like François Boucq (1955-), with whom Jodorowsky wrote a historically based comic called Bouncer (nine volumes, 2001-2011), and Manara, recruited to draw Jodorowsky’s Borgia, about the history of House of Borgia.

Jodorowsky’s extensive comics bibliography shows a deep and comprehensive perspective about comics. As an author, he knows comics must be seen as a form of art; more, precisely, as an industrial form of art, a craft that demands specifically practices and knowledge shared between writers, drawers, colorists and others involved in the comics art world.

— Ivan Lima Gomes

 

Further Reading

  • Lihn, Enrique; Jodorowsky, Alejandro. Un cómic. 1992. Santiago de Chile: Pablo Brodsky.
  • Neustadt, Robert. “Alejandro Jodorowsky: reiterating chaos, rattling the cage of representation”. 1997. Chasqui 1(26): 56-74.