Thursday, 6 September 2018

A few mumblings on something rather strange.

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So. As you all hopefully realise now it has been a habit of mine lately to read a chunk of European comics. I’ve been breathing in the goodness from Humanoids for a couple of years now and had another look at some digital comics from them again this week.
So I thought that I would recommend one you might dig.
Warning....Adult Material ahead.
This is a big slab of madness that is Megalex.
I’m now two (and a bit) volumes into the three that are available. It’s written by that master of the transgressive Alejandro Jodorowsky and drawn by Fred Beltran.
Here’s what the Humanoids website says about volume 1.
On Megalex, the city-planet, the laws of nature are prohibited. The tyrannical order reigns over a renewed population controlled by genetic manipulation. Due to the repeated attacks of the neighboring forest, primitive and impenetrable, the urbanized system in command allowed an 'anomaly,' a clone policeman nearly 10 ft tall, to escape. Guided by Adama, one of the rebels fighting for their freedom, the gentle giant manages to join the camp of the 'objectors' and help them go up against the evil powers of Megalex.’
This is science fiction strangeness that could well be on a whole other level compared to what you normally consume. It’s that area of the genre that is nasty yet satirical. It has a strange sense of knowing itself and will give you nightmares like you’ve spent the previous evening eating the wrong cheese!
It is a story that 2000 AD even in it’s glory years could only have dreamed of printing. The woman are often over sexualised to eleven but are also simultaneously driven warriors. These (often) bald headed battle axes are hypnotically beautiful whilst also being shockingly immediate in word and action. The men are often fools, also often more caricature in their facial features they run round and shout and are victims of lust and anger and self importance (and lasers!).
Like a lot of Jodorowsky’s work this has that all pervading weirdness, a brutality to the fiction. Life is cheap, sex is found everywhere and violence causes immediate and shockingly sudden loss of life. But, this isn’t without a wry smile. Who could argue that the 10 ft anomaly, a warrior who went a bit wrong in the gene pool, looks a ridiculous and lanky/awkward figure. The moment where two cliched fantasy wizards argue with each other about who is the real one and who is the dreamlike construct is absolute hilarious class. It’s that humour that also in a clever way amps up the unnatural and creepy mood of the piece.
Beltran has a bright and hugely imaginative style that will startle you at every panel swipe or page turn. I am flabbergasted at the changes of setting he manages combined with the amazing originality in every design. Completely and utterly in your face with every single figure and action. His people, creatures, mutants and robots border on the obscene in design. Like turning a 1970s sci-if trash novel cover into a sequential story. I found it all hypnotically disturbing as well as unrelentingly funny.
I would call this a comedy. Jodorowsky may well call this reality.
For this society is on the edge of a destruction. They are in many ways well past the point of no return as their individuality has been taken from them. Everything different must be destroyed as an angel like alien crashes their domes with destructively captivating violence. The scene where a family face death and welcome it because they have become bored of television is laugh out loud on the commuter train funny.
The outrage and excitement that you feel whilst reading this series is like an infection that fights the straight going, preprogrammed and safety of the modern world. Beltran and Jodorowsky are chuckling at and destroying our banality through this book. I came away from reading the first volume a little affected and somewhat troubled. It assaults you page after page. This is where I want my sci-fi. It should battle the established thoughts, it is pure in it’s antiestablishmental yearnings (with an emphasis on the mental’). Watch this creep into your subconscious. The only thing I can compare it to is the first time you saw porn. In the woods or by the railway sidings it felt unusual and strange and you couldn’t look away.
I think that Jodorowsky might well like that comparison somehow....
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Many thanks for reading.

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