Sore Throat

Today, Joe McCulloch reviews the latest Alejandro Jodorowsky comic, a collaboration with Das Pastoras, Metabarons Genesis: Castaka:

An alterationist of myth and pulp alike, Jodorowsky is undoubtedly familiar with the seams binding the jidaigeki and the American western. As such, planet and narrative are soon literally invaded by representatives from Jodorowsky's shared universe, the missionary/conqueror Techno-Technos, whose metaphorical opening of “Japan” to the “west” turns on a dime into the disease-spreading influence of European colonists on natives of the Americas, who are soon decimated: recall the froggy conquistadors from The Holy Mountain.

Afterward, the true character of Castaka is revealed: it's another Jodorowsky western, with the grown stud, his warrior wife, and their two borderline-feral daughters becoming intergalactic Indian desperadoes, sacking wagon trains along the trail of stars for profit and revenge. It's hugely energetic stuff, writer and artist now working in perfect synch to render their protagonist as a veritable screaming-mad Klaus Kinski, his features permanently wrought with hot rage, eyes wild and dialogue tending toward “LAMENTABLE TRAITOR!” and other top-of-the-lungs exhortations whilst his growing girls exhibit departures from their writer's offhanded mytho-poetic gender essentialism: one becomes buxom like her mother, while the other is drawn as, basically, a slighter variant on Marvel Comics' Wolverine (on whom Das Pastoras has also worked), though both remain superior fighters, and ultimately conjoin their very bodies(!) to dissolve any distinction between "masculine" and "feminine" personality traits – which, given the eternally boyish outlook of the project's genre apparatus, means they capture a man's sperm before besting him in combat, and there is so much respect when he dies.

And we have another week of Cartoonist's Diary entries, this time from guest artist Danica Novgorodoff.


—Reviews and Commentary. Trina Robbins has posted a free PDF of her biography of golden age cartoonist Lily Renée.

Frank Young writes about rare Harvey Kurtzman and Basil Wolverton comics now available online.

Rob Clough has finished up his marathon of 31 reviews in 31 days.

—Interviews. Tom Spurgeon interviewed journalist Chris Arrant and cartoonist Cliff Chiang.

—News. Finalists for the Doug Wright Awards have been announced.

Saudi Arabia has banned The 99, leading to Op-Ed coverage at the Daily Beast.

Dave Sim says he is looking for writers and artists to recreate the original 25 issues of Cerebus for an "Ultimate" version of the series.

—Funnies. Grant Morrison and Rian Hughes collaborated on a new wordless comic up at the BBC News Magazine site. (There's a brief interview about the story here.)