REVIEW: Diosamante (1994)

A Graphic Novel by Alejandro Jodorowsky, Jean-Claude Gal, this edition is from around 2012

I’m always torn on the works of Alejandro Jodorowsky, I respect the hell out of him as a comic book writer, as he is both very influential (movies like the Fifth Element are based on his work), and a great storyteller. However, I will also point out that he seems somewhat pretentious, which makes it almost impossible for me to enjoy his classic films as he seemingly was guzzling LSD the entire time he was making them (Holy Mountain comes to mind). Thankfully, if I stay in the realm of comics, I am usually pleased by his output, despite the stories not always making sense.

That is somewhat the story behind Diosamante, a comic he co-created with the late Jean-Claude Gal – a gorgeous comic that is somewhat hard to understand for a few reasons. At its core it’s not too different from a Conan of Cimmeria barbarian comic, but in true Alejandro Jodorowsky form it is filled with obtusely weird spirituality that one just has to accept to move on. Anyone reading his works basically expect it for the most part. The plot is pretty interesting and revolves around a Barbarian Queen that is arrogant to the point of insanity, she is not allowed to be with the one man she sees as an equal due to this, and goes on a quest to kill her ego entirely. It is not until she become a spiritual body that the two rulers can become one. I’m not saying it’s not a typical story form him, but it’s a lot more ambitious than just having weird scenes for the sake of it, like other works.

“Diosamante, the beautiful, egotistical queen falls passionately in love with a king. To prove herself worthy, she begins a long journey in search of self-perfection. The Kingdom of Arhas is clenched in the iron fist of Queen Diosamante. The pitiless ruler is known as much for her cruelty as for her incredible beauty, causing countless mighty warriors to throw themselves into fatal combat, with the hope of sharing a single night of love with the legendary Diosamante…only to be killed by her very hands at the time of the winter solstice.

One day, the glowing reputation of Urbal de Sarabba challenges the pride of the young queen, as this king is said to be wiser, more powerful, and loved by his people. Furious, the intrepid beauty goes in search of this man who dares cast a shadow over her. When she arrives at his palace, however, their meeting takes an unexpected turn when the two sovereigns fall madly in love.”

So on one hand, we have typical drug-induced Jodorowsky stuff, and on the other, a pretty serious issue behind the scenes making this book’s production less than ideal. Unfortunately, Jean-Claude Gal passed away in 1994 leaving this unfinished in the middle of volume two. The project was started in late 1992, and was a huge departure from Gal’s typical work as it was his first book illustrated in color, thus taking more time to complete. The story was never published as intended until years later when Igor Kordey finished it up for release in 2002.

Even though this book is basically incomplete, and was released after heavy tweaking and some notes explaining what remaining pages would have been like, it’s a solid story that makes sense (for the most part) and is a feast for the eyes because of Gal’s artwork alone. This was one of the many Comixology Unlimited titles by Humanoids and Metal Hurlant that are available for “free”, and am very happy to have read it. While I’m used to Jodorowsky, this book makes me want to go back and find other works by Gal, and see more of his lush, gorgeous artwork. With production issues in mind, this is definitely worth checking out!

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