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November 1, 2011

Touring the Cosmos: Alejandro Jodorowsky’s Screaming Planet

“…I had specialized in four-, six-, eight-, or ten-volume series.

Before starting each of these sagas, I would meet several times with an artist
whose previous works I admired. I would ask him questions to figure out his
personality, his tastes, the archetypes that people his unconscious, his level of
consciousness, his religious or political ideas, the imaginary worlds he longed
to explore. From all this data I created adventures that would take place in a
universe that the artist could consider his own, and characters with whom he
could identify.”

-Alejandro Jodorowsky

 

The Screaming Planet

Writer: Alejandro Jodorowsky
Artists: Adi Granov, Axel Medellin, Carlos Meglia, Christian Hojgaard, Pascal Alixe, Igor Baranko, Jerome Opena, JH Williams III, Ladronn, Marc Riou, Mark Vigouroux, Ciruelo

 

Alejandro Jodorowsky is an expert storyteller. There is no doubt about that. With a long list of credits that includes films, acting, and writing, Jodorowsky’s mix of realism, honesty, and reflection is hard to ignore. As you can see from the above quote, which is part of the foreword in The Screaming Planet, Jodorowsky takes his work very seriously and fully immerses himself in it. In The Screaming Planet, he collaborates with a variety of artists to tell an assortment of stories, all collected in one big tale. Each single story has been published in The Metal Hurlant, a magazine that produced science fiction and horror stories, which was published by Humanoids Publishing.

Jodorowsky ties all of these tales together with his first story. The first story tells of a beautiful world that was destroyed by its own inhabitants. This world had a consciousness, and as the planet blew up in a fiery explosion, one remaining rock survived. This comet was hurled through space, and as it soared among the stars, it passed by other planets. Each of these planets are part of another tale told by Jodorowsky, and drawn by a different artist. Every story has its own unique twist, characters, and adventure. These stories contain aliens, foreign planets, and unique individuals, but in the end the lesson learned from each story can all be applied to our own lives.

Riou and Vigouroux

 

Adi Granov

It would be difficult to pick apart each story, but as far as art goes, each story was great in its own right. Jodorowsky spent time with each artist in order to get a grasp on what they excelled at. If an artist was great with drawing characters and struggled with landscapes, Jodorowsky invented a flat stone planet with only one structure on it. If one artist specialized in drawing machines, Jodorowsky created a world populated by robots. A little more on this can be found in the introduction that Jodorowsky wrote. As mentioned above, all of the stories looked great. Jodorowsky really wanted each artist to showcase their abilities, so there was something great to look at in each story. Adi Granov really showed off his realistic art in “Masters of Destiny.” His futuristic take on clothing and his space ships looked great. He really chose some explosive angles and created some great action sequences. “Robochrist,” by artist Medellin, really stood out because it was a world inhabited entirely by robots. It is exactly what a planet would look like if it was filled with machines and technology. The colors used also really helped with the contrasting civilizations. A mention should also be given to Ciruelo, who really nailed the art in “The Alchemical Egg.” One or two panels lacked a little action, but the elegance and intensity of all the other pages more than made up for it.

Ciruelo

Jodorowsky created varying worlds and characters with each artist, and each tale holds its own merit.  While each story contained some truly alien characters and strange civilizations, all of the lessons learned in each story can be applied to a more modern take on our own lives. Jodorowsky is clearly a deep thinker, and a lot of his perceptions of humanity came out in the stories inside The Screaming Planet.Who’s Dreaming Now?” with Jerome Opena is a great look at blind faith. Do we waste our time on this Earth by engaging in faith wars, while missing out on living? “The Debt” with artist Carlos Meglia was a quick story, but really packed a whole “Sins of thy father” tale. The art inTears of Gold” with Jose Ladronn was a great touch for a great story. A child is abused when he cries tears of gold. When he learns to adjust the substance of his tears, he uses it to get revenge on those who tortured him.

The Screaming Planet is a fun read. The collection of stories and artists make for some real entertainment, with a great variety. When Jodorowsky decided to exploit the talents of each artist, he wasn’t wrong. While each tale holds its own merit and lessons, the art only enhances the whole experience. Using the last piece of a dying planet to travel the cosmos to come across these stories was a great way to tie it all together. Each story leaves you thinking a little bit at the end. So far, Jodorowsky has been a complete genius with his work. When someone wants to put so much effort into their work, it is hard not to admire the end result. The Screaming Planet will most definitely leave you admiring.

Check out our look at The Metabarons vol. 1 by Jodorowsky.

Mike Parente
mike@comicattack.net

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