In fact, I’ve been meaning to check out Alejandro Jodorowsky’s Metabaron comics for a long time. But there was no desire to read in Russian, the English-language edition had to be ordered somewhere on Amazon, so this desire remained a desire. It suddenly turned out that Vovkulaka was going to publish the famous comic in Ukrainian. It was a sign. And here is the first part of the comic, Metabarons Othon & Honorata, in my hands. Let’s get to know it.
|Title||Metabarons Othon & Honorata|
|Genre||science fiction, comic|
|Authors||Alejandro Jodorowsky, Juan Giménez|
|Year of publishing||2022|
|Format||240 × 320 mm|
Metabarons Othon & Honorata is an ardent declaration of love of the space opera genre and Frank Herbert’s Dune in particular. This is what Alejandro Jodorowsky wanted, but was never able to show the world in his own adaptation of Dune, which never saw the big screen. It is a passionate desire to return to the days of one’s own youth, when the universe seemed so simple and the stars so close. When fairy tales about star knights and starship battles replaced fairy tales about gingerbread houses and princesses in high towers for teenagers… However, the princesses in the towers remained, but moved to another planet in a faraway galaxy.
Alejandro Jodorowsky is a Chilean-French filmmaker, screenwriter, actor and writer of Jewish origin. By the way, his parents moved to Chile from Katerynoslav (now Dnipro) and Yelysavetgrad (Kropivnytskyi). It seems that Jodorowsky first became famous for his avant-garde films, but to the general public he is better known as the author of the cult comics The Incal, The Metabarons and The Technopriests. Although one of Jodorovsky’s films really became a cult, without even being filmed. We are, of course, talking about Jodorovsky’s Dune.
The film that Jodorowsky was going to make based on the famous novel by Frank Herbert in the mid-1970s was supposed to be a masterpiece. But… there was not enough money or technology to bring the director’s ideas to the screen. A film featuring Alain Delon (!), Orson Welles (!!), Salvador Dali (!!!) and Mick Jagger (!!!!), with music by Pink Floyd and Magma and design by Hans Rudolf Giger (yes, it’s him, the creator of the xenomorph from the Alien universe), never went beyond the preparatory work, which ate up almost a third of the budget.
But the never-filmed Dune inspired many directors and authors, for example, David Lynch, who in 1984 still shot his own Dune with Kyle MacLachlan, Sting and Sean Young. And even after the failure of Jodorowsky’s Dune, there was a huge artbook with illustrations by Giger, Moebius and Chris Foss, a storyboard of some scenes, lines of dialogue, etc. Yes, this is the same artbook that unlucky crypto-enthusiasts bought at auction a year ago for €2.6 million, i.e. 100 times more expensive than the initial price.
In addition, in 2013, a one-and-a-half-hour documentary Jodorowsky’s Dune was released, which has collected a lot of awards.
Why such a long introduction? The thing is that Metabarons Othon & Honorata, like other comics by Jodorowsky, included in the so-called Jodoverse, which is the majority of the author’s work from 1981 to 2018, is a reinterpretation of the experience that Jodorowsky acquired while working on Dune. This is a reimagining of Dune and the entire genre of space operas from a Chilean comic book author and director.
Here is everything that was in the space operas of the 1950s and 70s, but slightly reinterpreted by a person who lives at the end of the 20th – the beginning of the 21st century. There are mighty warriors who defeat armadas of spaceships with one cunning maneuver, who can single-handedly face hundreds of opponents and defeat them. There are harlot priestesses, hermaphrodite emperors, robots who tell each other stories from the lives of their masters. The size and shape of the spaceships here compensates for the size of the penis, and many scenes are filled with hidden or quite overt eroticism. From the point of view of a modern reader, Metabarons Othon & Honorata is even a little sexist.
In the Metabarons Othon & Honorata there are also very impressive, saturated, detailed and multifaceted drawing by Juan Giménez, who perfectly manages to convey the scale of space battles and the size of cyclopean structures, and the artist skillfully conveys the tension and energy of the characters and their movements.
The first volume of the Ukrainian translation of Metabarons Othon & Honorata by Vovkulaka contains the albums of the original comic – “Othon the great-grandfather” and “Honorata the great-great-grandmother”. In total, La Caste des Méta-Barons (1992–2003), which was originally released, of course, in French, had eight albums. So Vovkulaka is planning a four-volume. And this is if they are not going to publish prequels and spinoffs of the series.
And this is where the price of UAH 750 per volume offered by the publisher begins to seem a little too high. Especially against the background of the price of The Colony by Max Kidruk. Yes, this is a completely different edition, different paper, different format, but… UAH 3,000 for a complete four-volume of Metabarons is a lot.
If you don’t mind the price, it’s not €2.6 million after all, and if you like classic science fiction and space operas, Alejandro Jodorowsky and Juan Giménez’s Metabarons Othon & Honorata is just what you need.