Jodorowsky & Manara

Another comic John lent me. I like this one. It's the first book of more-than-one. The publisher, or maybe Jodorowsky, is billing it as an old world mafia story. I'd rather just consider it a good story without all the genre-billing, but whatever. It's a cool book. Pope Innocent VIII is about to keel over, and a bunch of guys are making their bids for power, mostly through assassination and blackmail. I spent all of my last semester of college studying up on Florentine history of the 1300s, so this book was good for me since it let me see another area of European politics in roughly the same era. It's really bloody and misanthropic, but it's well-written.

I remembered seeing Manara's artwork in Sandman: Endless Nights and I thought it was pretty, so I found a torrent with his complete works and decided to check out his other stuff. I was warned that most of his other stuff was erotica, which I guess makes sense, given the sex scenes in Borgia and Sandman, but, I mean, damn. I don't think I've found anything of his yet that isn't erotica. I think I know the reason: Manara's obsessed. He has a beautiful style with his art, but invariably his women are the same person with one or two aesthetic differences, like hair color or skin tone. But the women are the same every time, and the guys aren't. If Manara did superhero comics or the like, I'd just say he wasn't pushing his talent (like the otherwise talented J. Scott Campbell), but since Manara does lots of stories, all with the same woman, most of them with her having sex, I'd say the guy's love-struck. Still, he can draw and paint with the best of them. I'd like to see him team up with more writers.

I also wanted to check out Jodorowsky's work, so I did. I found out he was the guy what did The Holy Mountain, so I watched it. I'd say it was probably the quintessential early 70s psychedelic Beatles-esque hippie movie, except the way the story progressed and wrapped itself up was kind of pretentious in that its message was really basic ("Live life, man!") and kind of cheated the viewer. I can't tell if Jodorowsky thought he was being clever or if he thought his audience was so stupid that they needed to hear a clear and simple message like that. In the former case, he kind of wasted our time by reducing the movie to an instruction manual wrapped in pseudo-satirical imagery; in the latter, he's a prick. I heard El Topo was better, so I'll check it out later.

So: Manara's obsessed with a woman who may or may not exist, and Jodorowsky is weird at best, and a dick at worst. When they come together, though, they're beautiful. Check out the comic.

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