A look at Alexandro Jodorowsky’s Screaming Planet.  Here’s the publisher’s blurb:

All that remains of a prosperous, warm planet destroyed by the madness of its inhabitants many years ago…A living piece of metal, adrift in the cosmos, howling in its infinite sorrow…Sometimes, crossing the sky of one of the countless inhabited planets, it shares its sorrow with a conscious being…

Alexandro Jodorowsky, collaborating here with an international panoply of artists, steps up to the challenge of the short graphic novel story format.

  • May 2011
  • Humanoids Inc.
  • Deluxe Hardcover
  • 124 pages
  • 6.625 x 10.25 inches
  • Color
  • ISBN 9781594650215
  • USD 24.95
  • Order online: Amazon

 

I have to admit that I ordered this book sight unseen based on the artists mentioned.  This is almost always a bad thing, since art is very subjective and I like to have a “thumbing” through any book before I commit cash.  In my defense Humanoids doesn’t show interior pages, or much else, on its website or send out preview copies for reviews.

What we have here is a collection of eleven short stories written by Jodorowsky and drawn by eleven different artists, all for Metal Hurlant, the original and French version of Heavy Metal.  We’re given a nice two page introduction by the author with some background about the project.  It’s dated 2006 so I’m guessing this first appeared as a French collection that year.

Before each tale Jodorowsky gives some background on the story or artist; it gets a little weird as we learn a lot about his take on life.  The stories are unique and entertaining with lots of thought provocation.  They all end on a down beat so don’t look for upliftment here, just solid storytelling.  With short stories you have little space to provide the framework but Jodorowsky gets it done mostly; there are some standouts that I thoroughly enjoyed and others that didn’t do anything for me.  They were published over a two year period so the author gets into a groove and I did enjoy the later tales, although they’re not in chronological order in the book.

Art is all over the place with seven unique styles: each was well done and presented the story in a compelling manner.  As I said earlier I picked Screaming Planet up based on artists I recognized like Adi Granov, Ladronn and J.H. Williams III.  While I enjoyed their stories those unknown to me were exceptional, like Igor Baranko, Jerome Opena and Carlos Meglia.  Every short story is fantasy or science fiction but they are each unique and captivating.

No extras included other than the introduction.  This is a standard comic sized hardcover, a real break from form for Humanoids.  At $25 for 124 pages it’s a bit of a stretch for the budget but it hits the spot if you’re looking for something different.  See if you can catch the grammatical error on the last page.

First published at Comic Book Daily.