Graphic Content – The Incal

List Item:  Read half of the 1001 Comics You Must Read Before You Die
Progress:
23/501Title: The Incal
Writer: Alejandro Jodorowsky 
Illustrator: Moebius
Year: 1981-1988
Country: France

How has The Incal not been made into a film yet? I know that Drive’s Nicolas Winding Refn announced his intention a few years ago, but having read the original six books of the Incal story it’s a wonder that this hasn’t been done before. It has most certainly had ideas borrowed from it (The Fifth Element is the first example that springs to mind, and not just because of the court case mentioned on Wikipedia), but as of writing this we are nowhere near an actual adaptation.

The thing is, I have no idea why it’s taking so long. Here we have high brow space opera that has heavy philosophical dealings and a very distinct look. Really it’s like if someone took the mindset of Ghost In The Shell, set it in space and have it be about preventing the end of the world. I’d watch that! It would make for an amazing anime series.

At the basic level it’s a very common story of the reluctant having to help save the universe. When I mean reluctant I mean really reluctant. John DiFool has absolutely no interest in being separated from his synthetic whisky and fembot prostitutes – then again his hand gets forced time and time again. He actually ends up fathering an entire race of clones at some point in the adventure… small plot point but among the weirder ones.

Talking of weird – in this universe the emperor is some sort of giant conjoined fraternal twins in a jar. There are also giant jellyfish creatures that can be genetically engineered to stave off the forces of darkness. It’s a weird world and the depth that Jodorowsky gives it is astounding.

I won’t pretend that I completely understood all of the metaphysical implications in The Incal. There are times where this series feels like it is going a bit too high brow (which can make the leaps in logic feel a little bit too far), but you go with it. I mean, I am not entirely sure how or why Solune undergoes his transition or what the Incals themselves actually are… two things that are really quite integral to this.

To be honest, this is one of those comics that I find hard to really put into words. It feels more like an experience than just a serialized story. Needless to say, I really enjoyed this and I’ll need to have a go at the other titles in this series.

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