Friday, January 31, 2020

Jodorowsky - Joran Janjetov: Before The Incal - The Incal - Final Incal


Jodorowsky started his comic career in Mexico with the creation of Anibal 5 series in mid-1966 with illustrations by Manuel Moro. He also drew his own comic strip in the weekly series Fabulas pánicas that appeared in the Mexican newspaper, El Heraldo de México. He also wrote original stories for at least two or three other comic books in Mexico during those days: Los insoportables Borbolla was one of them. After his fourth film, Tusk, he started The Incal, with Jean Giraud (Mœbius).

This graphic novel has its roots deep in the tarot and its symbols, e.g., the protagonist of The Incal, John Difool, is linked to the Fool card. The Incal (which would branch off into a prequel and sequel) forms the first in a sequence of several science fiction comic book series, all set in the same space opera Jodoverse (or "Metabarons Universe") published by Humanoids Publishing.

Comic books set in this milieu are Incal (trilogy: Before the Incal/ Incal/ Final Incal), Metabarons (trilogy: Castaka/ The Caste of the Metabarons/ Weapons of the Metabaron), and The Technopriests and also a RPG adaptation, The Metabarons Roleplaying Game. Many ideas and concepts derived from Jodorowsky's planned adaptation of Dune (which he would have only loosely based upon Frank Herbert's original novel) are featured in this universe.


Zoran Janjetov (Serbian Cyrillic: Зоран Јањетов; born June 23, 1961) is a Serbian comics artist. Janjetov is among most prominent comics creators of former Yugoslavia, published worldwide. He is best known as the illustrator of Avant l'Incal and The Technopriests, written by Alejandro Jodorowsky.

During the mid-1980s, Janjetov was a vocalist for the Yugoslav art rock band Heroina, with which he recorded one album.

Janjetov started to draw at very early age with strong support from his parents. His father, an architect by profession, gave him the knowledge needed to start his career. Young Janjetov was influenced by the works of Walt Disney, and had already made his first short comic at age seven.
After finishing high school, he continued his education at the Academy of Arts in Novi Sad, where he graduated.

From 1981 to 1995, Janjetov worked on the Bernard Panasonik, published in magazines Yu strip magazin and Vreme zabave.
In 1986, Janjetov was chosen by Moebius to continue his work The Incal.

Before the Incal

The story is a considerably more straightforward noir tale of boundless urban corruption with the relative absence of spiritualistic elements, which dips deeper into exploring the urban fabric of the world of The Incal. The story follows young DiFool living in demimonde.

He soon finds that his prostitute mother devoted herself to growing amorine, a drug that restores the ability to love. His father, Olivier DiFool, breaks the law in wearing a fake halo that is the mark of an aristo.

Justice is harsh for such transgressions of class — a legal clause "allows the condemned man to choose between a tablet at the morgue-wall, where he'll sleep away his thirty-year-and-one-day term", or "remodeling", which means having his entire memory wiped.

His father chooses remodeling. DiFool soon begins to investigate the mystery of disappearance of the children of prostitutes, something he shouldn't find out.

The Incal

The story is set in the dystopian capital city of an insignificant planet in a human-dominated galactic empire, wherein the Bergs, aliens who resemble featherless birds and reside in a neighboring galaxy, make up another power bloc.

It starts in medias res with DiFool thrown from the Suicide Alley to the great acid lake below by a masked group, luckily saved by a police cruiser.

During the questioning he denies that he received the Light Incal, a crystal of enormous and infinite powers (it guides and protects those who believe in it), from a dying Berg. The Incal is then sought by many factions: the Bergs; the corrupt government of the great pit-city; the rebel group Amok (led by Tanatah); and the Church of Industrial Saints, commonly referred to as the Techno-Technos or the Technopriests, a sinister technocratic cult which worships the Dark Incal.

Animah (an allusion to anima), the keeper of the Light Incal, seeks it as well. During the journey DiFool and Deepo are joined by Animah, The Metabaron, Sunmoon, Tanatah (sister of Animah) and Kill Wolfhead, with a task of saving the universe from the forces of the Dark Incal, and the Technopriests manufacture and launch into outer space the sun-eating Dark Egg.

As the darkness is overcome, DiFool is brought before Orh, the fatherlike divinity, who tells him he must remember what he witnessed.

As DiFool falls away, he finds himself where he was at the beginning, falling down the shaft.

Final Incal

The story from the unfinished After the Incal was rewritten to provide a separate narrative for this volume. The story starts after The Incal climax, in which John DiFool encountered a flowing-bearded divine being named Orh, witnessing a universe-shaking event, hurtling towards certain death in the acid lake. DiFool forgets about the cosmic encounter, and recovers his memory as the universe faces a threat of a metallic virus.

The Prezident was cloned in a metallic body, equipped with both chemical and brutal weapons, but also an altered mind — operating under the influence of the "destroyer of all living things", the Bentacodon (equivalent to The Incal's Black Egg). He unleashes a destructive organic virus called the Biophage 13-X with the purpose of forcing the population to abandon their natural bodies in favor of robotic ones.

The only way to counteract is to reunite John DiFool with his true love, Luz de Garra (from Before the Incal), and the Elohim (a force of goodness) makes four John DiFools from different realities to encounter each other on a quest to find her.

The egos of the allegedly evolved guru DiFool and the super-evolved "angelic" DiFool are ridiculed, and the least enlightened DiFool, the ugliest and most craven, is selected to save the universe.

In the end, the cosmic humanity manages to become one collective consciousness, as true love saves it from turning into a collection of unfeeling metallic beings.

Main characters

    John DiFool, protagonist: a Class R licensed private investigator and occasional bodyguard. DiFool is reluctant to assume the role of hero, and suffers mood swings, self-doubt, and temper tantrums. He has a fondness for cigars, "ouisky", and "homeosluts" (gynoid prostitutes). He is an everyman character, both unusually damning and praising of the human condition, kindly, sacrificing and selfish, likely to run away.[15] His story is presented in "Before the Incal": he is the son of a prostitute, and started as a PI while investigating on the children of the red ring prostitutes.

    Deepo, DiFool's loyal and good-hearted "concrete seagull"; generally smarter and more resourceful than John himself. Early in the story, the Light Incal gives him the power of speech.

    Animah and Tanatah, two sisters charged with guarding the Light and Dark Incals, respectively, whereof Tanatah hired the Metabaron to kill John DiFool and obtain the Light Incal. Animah, mother of Sunmoon, who originally safeguarded the Light Incal, has psychic powers. Tanatah is also the head of the rebel group called the Amok.

    The Metabaron, the greatest bounty hunter, mercenary, and fighter ace in the known universe, and the adopted father of Sunmoon; originally sent to kill John DiFool by Tanatah. The Metabaron returned John in a frozen state without killing him, knowing that Tanatah would betray him.

    Sunmoon or Solune
(French words soleil and lune), the adopted child of the Metabaron and the biological child of Animah and John DiFool. Like Animah, Sunmoon has immense psychic powers, and was the chosen host of the power known as the Incal and become the dual-gendered leader of the universe.

    Kill Wolfhead, an anthropomorphic wolf mercenary in Tanatah's employ. Kill holds a grudge against DiFool, who pierced his ear with a bullet near the beginning of the story. He is featured as faithful, loyal, impulsive and aggressive.

"I dreamed I was flying in intergalactic space. A cosmic being formed by two superimposed pyramids, one black, the other white, was calling me. I moved toward it and found myself submerged in the center. We exploded. And that’s how my subconscious mind introduced me to “El Incal”."

— Jodorowsky on the Incal.

The center of the concept is DiFool's fantastic spiritual journey (or initiation) on a cosmic scale, which he is reluctant to accept; he constantly wishes to return to his own ignorant reality of simple hedonistic pleasures.

It is an allegory for the sins repeating, the futility of complacency and the necessity for individual transformation. As the story progresses he keeps changing, becoming more heroic, even physically more handsome.

The original six installments begin and end by DiFool falling from the bridge; he descends, ascends and later re-descends in "closed" circularity.

The universe is split into two galaxies, a human (with 22,000 planets), and a Berg (featherless birdlike aliens), and the story is set on four planets in the human galaxy: Ter21, Techno-Gea, Aquaend, and the Golden Planet.

On the planet Ter21 there are two social classes: the fortunate (common and aristocrats), who reside at the top, and the others (including the mutants led by Gorgo the Foul, who represent the poor living in misery, on the fringes of society, minorities of all kinds), who live down in the pits.

At the top, it's a near-panopticonical dystopia with standard TV program (with the same presenter Diavaloo) depicting filmed violence for public consumption, and indoctrination.

Seemingly no one works anymore, and all life is mediated through the TriD (TV), even people's dreams.

People are addicted to "love drug" amorine, while the president is engaged in repeated body transplants. The masculine role is ridiculed by mass-produced holographic prostitutes. The technopriests represent the most damning, avaricious human drives.

John DiFool is based upon The Fool from tarot with his name being a pun upon "John, the Fool". Animah's name is based on the Jungian concept of the anima, the feminine part of every male's psyche, as well in Latin "anima" means "psyche".

The series has no taboos, an attitude towards sex, violence and general social stigmas that may be avoided in more conventional comics. They include Black-and-white dualism or the conflict between good and evil, mystical symbolism, archetypes, metaphysics, tarot and other influences.

In the story there's often a conflict between life or nature and dead technology (even uniformity and diversity), as "glasses enable you to see, that's technology. But happiness is not that, it's not your glasses. It's what you are able to see.

If you have wonderful glasses but don't know how to see what's in front of you, then that technological tool is useless". The series also showcases religion, economy, politics and warfare, all mixed together.

The Final Incal is kind of a call for revolt to organize life in a different way, because as individuals people are mortal, but as humanity itself they are immortal.

To learn that others exist, to live together and give, that there is continuity only as part of humanity as a whole. It demonstrates that "love is the ultimate purifier; a force that can cleanse, renew and revitalize".

Monday, January 27, 2020

The Cynics : Rock' n' Roll 1989

The Cynics are an American garage rock band from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The band, consisting of guitarist Gregg Kostelich, drummer Bill Von Hagen, vocalist Michael Kastelic who joined in 1985, bass player Steve Magee, and keyboardist Becky Smith (later founder of New York City's Bellwether gallery), who debuted with their first album, Blue Train Station in 1986. She wrote one of the four extra tracks included on the expanded reissue of Twelve Flights Up, entitled Sixteen Flights Up.

The band's sound is influenced by 1960s garage rock.
Many of their songs "carry the torch" for other favorite bands as cover songs or tributes. They underwent a number of lineup changes culminating in 1990's Rock and Roll album. They formed their own independent record label called Get Hip Records in 1986.

They suffered an eight-year break up after the release of Get Our Way but returned in 2002 with the release of Living Is the best Revenge. The release of their 2007 album Here We Are was accompanied with a European tour.

( AllMusic Review by Matt Carlson
Rock 'N' Roll brings together the best aspects of The Cynics' previous two albums  R&B roots, psychedelic fuzz, folk-pop, and garage rock to produce a cohesive statement.

The record, despite its collection of heartfelt ballads, does not contain one single down note. Sure, a lot of fury and pain, but not any grief. While the original compositions on previous Cynics albums were mostly harder-edged as the ballads were mostly covers, here the band has written a killer love song, "Close To Me." But, yet again, the livelier pop songs "Girl, You're On My Mind" and "You Got the Love" are where The Cynics shine.)

Formed in 1983 by Get Hip Recordings owner Gregg Kostelich, The CYNICS are a Garage-Punk institution.
Guitarist/producer/record company head Gregg Kostelich is the frenetic force behind THE CYNICS. He managed to keep the band afloat in the wake of constant personnel changes, he recorded some of the finest garage tracks ever, and also launched one of the best independent record labels of the 1980s.

THE CYNICS’ style has been clear since their 1983 inception: fuzzed ultra-distorted guitar, screaming, moaning vocals, with a straight-ahead no frills rhythm section. The influences are extreme ‘60s Punk, R&B, and other loud, frantic trash. Gregg has occasionally steered the band into flirtations with folk-rock and little pop, but it’s the grunged-out punkers that have created THE CYNICS’ reputation.

Their first two 45s were released by the Californian Dionysus label, but soon after Gregg had established his own Pittsburgh-based GET HIP RECORDINGS who would release all of  THE CYNICS albums and singles, as well as those by countless great garage, punk-rock and power-pop releases by other bands from around the globe.

Third album by Pittsburgh’s Garage finest. This release from 1990 featured a major lineup change for the Cynics, and showed the band continuing to mature as writers and musicians. Cuts like “Now I’m Alone” and “Girl, You’re on My Mind” (the latter penned for the Cynics by the Mystic Eyes Bernie Kugel) are hits that should have been. Other cuts like “What You Get,” “Business As Usual,” “Baby, What’s Wrong” and “Way It’s Gonna Be” show the Cynics at a peak of energy, creativity and ability.

This release also includes a few well-chosen covers of forgotten classics from the sixties, revitalized with the Cynics style and skill. “Cry, Cry, Cry” and “Last Time Around” are scorchers, while “The Room” shows the Cynics lighter side. This album is a true classic. If you didn’t get it before, get it now!
Though Gregg’s guitar is the backbone of the band, vocalist Michael Kastelic’s contribution to THE CYNICS sound cannot be underestimated. In concert (and on record) he screeches, wails, and moans with great abandon, while his frail, thin body shakes throughout the room. Michael is a truly possessed frontman.

Since the 2007 recording in Spain of the band’s 7th full-length album, Here We are, The CYNICS have been graced with a fantastic and powerful rhythm section of two talented musicians from Asturias (Spain): Angel Kaplan and Pablo Gonzalez. They have been touring relentlessly with the band since and also joined Gregg and Michael in Detroit for the recording of their latest album, SPINNING WHEEL MOTEL (2012) under the masterful direction of Jim Diamond .

In an interview on March 21, 1986, Gregg Kostelich said “I was maybe 4 or 5 when I started collecting Garage records, and I’ve been listening to that type of music ever since. And I was lucky enough to see a couple of shows I was a little kid…my parents would bring to see bands like THE SONICS and THE BLUES MAGOOS and THE WHO, when I was about 7 or 8! I didn’t know what was going on really, but it was really exciting. I was kinda embarrassed in a way because I was with my parents.” When I mentioned that this early exposure to garage music explained THE CYNICS style, Gregg responded “Yeah, maybe I got brain damage from all the noise!”


01. Baby What's Wrong (Michael Kastelic / Gregg Kostelich)  02:31         
02. Way It's Gonna Be  (Michael Kastelic / Gregg Kostelich)  02:51        
03. Girl You're on My Mind  02:11         
04. Get My Way  (Michael Kastelic / Gregg Kostelich  03:06        
05. Tears Are Coming  (Michael Kastelic / Gregg Kostelich)   04:10         
06. Business as Usual  (Michael Kastelic)  01:44
07. Cry, Cry, Cry  (Rory Mack / Ron Stults)  03:09    
08. You Got the Love  (Michael Kastelic / Gregg Kostelich)  02:50        
09. Close to Me  (Michael Kastelic / Gregg Kostelich)  03:28         
10. Different Worlds  (Michael Kastelic / Gregg Kostelich)  02:17
11. Now I'm Alone  (Michael Kastelic / Gregg Kostelich)  02:46
12. What You Get  (Michael Kastelic / Gregg Kostelich)  02:09        
13. Last Time Around  03:00         
14. The Room  (Michael Kastelic)  03:53

Angel Kaplan,
Gregg Kostelich,
Michael Kastelic, 
Mike Kolesar, 
Pablo Gonzalez 

Discography: Albums

Blue Train Station (1986)
Twelve Flights Up (1988) - reissue as Sixteen Flights Up (2000)
Rock 'n' Roll (1989)
Learn to Lose (1993)
Get Our Way (1994)
Living is the Best Revenge (2002)
Here We Are (2007)
Spinning Wheel Motel (2011)


You didn't hear me when I tried to tell you
You didn't see me when I looked so lonely
You didn't answer when I said, "Where you going?"

You didn't see the way you drive me crazy

Baby what's wrong with me
I can't seem to turn your head
Baby what's wrong with me
I'm always going home to an empty bed

You got my number, you never use it
You got my choice, but you never choose it
You got those brown eyes, they're hiding something
If I could open up, I'd let you in

Baby what's wrong with me
I can't seem to turn your head
Baby what's wrong with me
I'm always going home to an empty bed

Maybe some day, there will be a full moon
We'll be together, in the same room
Open our eyes, see what we're missing
My hard time is maybe they're dissing

Baby what's wrong with me
I can't seem to turn your head
Baby what's wrong with me
I'm always going home