Content warning: you don’t want to know any of this. A rapist’s comic, about rape, is discussed and pictured herein.
If you visit the Wikipedia page of Alejandro Jodorowsky, you will be able to see that he has claimed himself a rapist. Here’s a section of the quotation with this claim, from a promotional interview with a reporter:
“And I really…I really…I really raped her.”
When buying Jodorowsky and Juan Giménez’ The Metabarons, I was not aware of this fact. That I was buying, in actuality, a rapist’s comic. Once I had finished reading it I found myself perplexed and and emotionally displaced. This is what brought me—that perplexedness and intimate confusion brought me—to Jodorowsky’s Wikipedia page. And that’s how I found out that he has raped.
After that, everything made sense. This is a rapist’s comic book, full of rape.
The Metabarons began in 1992 and it exhibits a great deal of Jodorowsky’s own pop culture favourites, many of which are the same as mine. The X-Men. Dune. Melodrama and melodramatic language. At first glance, these comics seemed entirely up my street but in reading, the narrative revealed itself as emotionally unanchored; melodramatic, but vapid. An object that is showing off. Melodrama without soul. That’s not the core of my criticism but it’s firmly entwined with it because the vapid character work and the emptiness…the removal of meaning from consequence cause the multiple rapes in this book to exist only as melodrama and erotic tableau. Something for people to say, “My gosh! How dare you! Good lord!” about. Nobody is alive behind their eyes; here, human psychology is only present in physical result, not tangible motivation or available emotional connection. Rape, this traumatic thing, and the trauma of the characters who experience it, are grease for the wheels of “an epic”—but not an epic with form or theme (except rape?), just the notion of “an epic.” The Metabarons must continue! And for this to be so Jodorowsky scripts rape upon rape, just to get bodies moving.
In that same Wikipedia summary, one can learn that Jodorowsky’s father raped his mother and that this is identified as the intercourse which resulted in his conception. It is understandable and acceptable for a child of rape to experience cognitive dissonance around the subject. “I would not be, without rape.” However it is not acceptable to sanction rape simply because rapists persist. It is not acceptable to publish rape apologia. It is not acceptable to become a rapist–can we consider that perhaps his ability to produce rape apologia was what allowed him to become a rapist?
The rape he refers to in the quote at the head of this article was committed on film for a movie he was producing. You could watch it, I suppose, in El Topo, if you want to harm yourself and further compound an actress’ betrayal. I don’t think you should. Jodorowsky says of it, “Fantastic scene. A very, very strong scene.”
I bought volumes two, three, and four of DC Comics/Humanoids’ 2004 release and I have only read the first of those. Call me weak, call me limited—I’ve had enough of these rapes. I’ve had enough of this glassy construction of rape; the put-to-page sense that nothing matters because time turns on. I will tell you about the rapes of The Metabarons Volume Two: Aghnar & Oda.
Oda is a princess of space, first seen from between her own breasts (above). She is wearing skimpy nothings and is the focal point in a huge masculine landscape populated by her suitors: bad men. Some are bad because the artist is telling us they are repulsive, and some are bad because the artist is telling us they are absurd. The point is, they are not the virile young Aghnar, who is the protagonist. He tricks Oda into loving him, and there are many many panels where the eye of the reader is once again tucked between and under her breasts as her father becomes so overwhelmed with lust for her that he allows his daughter to do as she pleases: leave that planet with Aghnar. Oda is entirely servile to her new beau, her vocabulary largely consisting of repetitions of “Yes, Aghnar…,” and Aghnar immediately shares with her his plan: she will serve as bait so they can—he can—avenge his mother. As bait, a tactical distraction, she will be raped to death. There are extensive panels of decrepit old women and a maggoty testosterone alien brute “preparing” and then raping her. Extensive.
Oda escapes death by rape monster only to beg Aghnar to allow her to be used as a psychic battery. This destroys her mind.
After her brain-death, Aghnar’s rescued mother claims she can save her son’s wife. She does so, and retires; Aghnar and Oda spend a year or more joyfully fucking and eventually have a son. Aghnar expresses a desire to raise their child in peace, not as a warrior-heir like himself—Oda starts acting strangely and it’s revealed that she’s been his mother, in mind, all along. After her rape, sacrifice and destruction, Oda’s body was a vessel for the transferred psyche of Aghnar’s mother. Her name is Honorata and she knew perfectly well what she was doing, which is: raping her son for years to produce a child with him. Why? Because she loved her husband—Aghnar’s father—so much she decided to rape their son to force the bloodline’s legacy to continue. Why? Because The Metabarons is about that bloodline’s legacy. It’s self-perpetuating claptrap, but the mechanism it uses for that perpetuation is rape.
After Aghnar discovers he’s the father of his mother’s child he tries to murder it and runs away to become Cable (above). No joke, no jest, just IP abduction. The nuns “aren’t” Bene Gesserit, too. The rape monster is beaten in the same unusual way Slaine’s Avagddu is; they’re tricked into eating themselves (both are pictured below). What, you think a rapist wouldn’t crib?
I have no intellectual thesis, here. I’m not being smart. I’m just taking time to say, hey, look. This comic book is full of rape. The rape in it “ruins lives” but only for the sake of our idle entertainment. The Metabarons presents rape without humanity. A female victim is defined by her status as a sex object and her intense and submissive vapidity. A male victim is presented as hysterical. It is the kind of comic book that horrifies me as a piece of “art” in its semiotics of unmattering, and- it was literally made by a rapist. A rapist made a rape comic. You can’t argue about that.
If we separate the artist from the art here, or the art from the artist (pick your pedanticism), we get on one hand “a rapist” and on the other “some rape.” Is that a genuine gain? What about this: what if we ball up art/artist both together and punt them into the bin?
Titan and Humanoids are publishing Jodorowsky this year.