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Before the Incal

(L'Incal (Collected Editions) #0)

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  725 ratings  ·  67 reviews
The prequel to Moebius and Jodorowsky's masterpiece The Incal, this story cycle recounts the youth of John Difool and the adventures that propelled him into his encounter with the mighty artifact known as the Incal. Written by Alexandro Jodorowsky, who once again builds on the vast universe he has created and developed over many different titles, and drawn by European sens ...more
Hardcover, classic collection, 304 pages
Published January 1st 2013 by Humanoids, Inc. (first published 1988)
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Average rating 4.09  · 
Rating details
 ·  725 ratings  ·  67 reviews

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The most intricate world building I’ve ever seen, in a satirical futurism fantasy of humans, mutants, monsters and robots, steeped in violent social conflict, eternal scheming, sex, drugs, and a hint of romance. Hilarious, bizarre, and with highly detailed artwork and coloring. Life changing and highly recommended.
Feb 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Interestingly, these prequel comics for the Incal are rather more exploratory for character development, starting with John's childhood and showing another side to him that is rather more proactive and interesting than the buffoon he later becomes... and it also shows us the reason for the change.

I'm actually rather impressed that it bothered to take its time... unlike the main Incal cycle that rushes through huge events like we're watching a reader's digest of a galactic war between good and ev
Caro the Helmet Lady
Quite entertaining and enjoyable. It's Jodorowsky, so of course it's full of religious and cultural allusions, mythologic symbols and parodies of most "sacred" things. Which is fun to uncover, if not too easy. Going to read the classic Incal as well very soon.
I want a concrete seagull as a pet now. And a robot mentor. Sniff, sniff. :'(
Nik Astashinsky
May 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this prequel a bit more than the original Incal book. The writing style is the same but the story is not as epic as the original - it's more "down to earth". I liked the relationships of all the characters (especially Deepo & John) and I was genuinely surprised how well the story moved from one chapter to the next. Everything blends together very nicely. Near the end, the book is retconning to the original so it feels a bit forced but doesn't hinder the story. Overall, still an extreme ...more
Jigar Brahmbhatt
Nov 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Filled with cruel, crass, cheesy, mystical, arcane space opera stuff - everything Jodorowsky wanted to do with his film project "Dune" but couldn't. In fact, the narrative coherence here is far better than in his surreal films. As far as graphic storytelling goes, this is a grand and fully realized project. Not a dull moment, and so much to care about. I am already gearing up for other books in the series.
May 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Before the Incal takes a much bawdier and earthly tone than The Incal, but the action is just as fast-paced and enjoyable. Despite the lack of mystical symbolism that permeated the first volume of the Jodoverse, the origin story of John Difool is just as satisfying.
Baal Of
Aug 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: percebes
This book is not quite as good as The Incal, in pretty much every way - the story line, the level of weirdness, the artwork, the sheer breadth of imagination, however it is still great and I loved reading it. It does require a substantial amount of suspension of disbelief, and an allowance for the fact that Jodorowsky's writing is bombastic and often oddly stilted. I enjoyed reveling in the strange, and occasionally uncomfortable situations. I'm looking forward to the Final Incal.
Jul 11, 2017 rated it liked it
It's ok. You know what you are getting into with Jodorowsky: the writing is pretty lame and deux ex machina are lurking in every corner. But I still buy them because the Jodoverse is pretty awesome in the ideas presented, the imagined worlds, and he usually pairs with great illustrators. They are a guilty pleasure.

That being said, I had my doubts about Janjetov (the illustrator). His style is simply not my style. I love the streamlined feel of Gimenez or Moëbius, but Janjetov is what I would cal
Nov 27, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Like the other works in the series it's beautiful, funky, interesting, inovative & cliche at the same time. Though no "pre-story" is needed for "The Incal", "Before The Incal" lays out a good foundation for "The Incal". "The Incal" stands on it's own...but it's so absorbing and interesting that most people will naturally want to spend more time in this futre/past/present universe...and "Before The Incal" delivers. ...more
Feb 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics, 2017
Just your average story about a detective in an anti-gravity future where society is ruled by cybernetic android policeborgs, genetically mutated hunchbacked henchmen under the command of a body-swapping transgender president, plus a legion of technopriests, all of whom answer to a disembodied electronic brain. That's the basic premise. Oh, and there's a concrete seagull that kind of looks like a pterodactyl. And nudity!

In a word: visionary.
Dávid Novotný
Dec 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
So things have come full circle. Last, or first, depending on how you approach series, is most civil of all the three. What starts as mysterious detective story, serves as great prequel at the end. Less mysticism, more reality. All three books are now connected, and world is even richer, many things are explained. You can keep it reading over and over again, discovering new lines and connections you missed previously, all within vivid world described with colorfull language.
Oleg Tipa
Dec 12, 2019 rated it it was ok
Images are marvelous, but plot generally is naive.
C. Varn
Feb 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
While I don't think Zoran Janjetov is quite the visionary as Moebius, he is still a visionary and a good compliment to Jodorowsky's work. Jodorowsky's dialogue is still laughable, and his symbolism ranges from obvious to so idiosyncratic to be incomprehensible, this does actually develop some character consistency in the Incal storyline. This makes this my favorite of Jodorowsky's Incal trilogy despite the fact that "The Incal" was obviously more original. Furthermore, it clear Jodorowsky felt t ...more
Jan 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
It’s not that The Incal required a prequel, but Jodorowsky has done a clever job here of explaining stuff you were perfectly happy to swallow unexplained in that book, as well as set things up beautifully for the later story. Janjetov’s art nicely emulates Moebius’ style – in fact, according to the introduction it was Jodorowsky’s observation that Janjetov’s style was similar to early Moebius that prompted him to write Before The Incal in the first place. All the characters from The Incal are he ...more
Michael Finocchiaro
On the surface, the Incal graphic novels look like sort of silly science fiction. Before the Incal, however, is a bit more salient in its treatment of drugs and prostitution - certainly a prod at French society where Jodorowsky lived for a long time - which also serves as an origin story for the Incal protagonist, DiFool. It is not really heavy on plot, but does feature some decent art. I preferred the mainline Incal story to this sidelined derivative.
Bodhisattva Chattopadhyay
Aug 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Ok, Mœbius is Mœbius. But Janjetov's work is brilliant in its own right, especially the cityscapes. Lovely.
Robbie Whelan
Feb 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Not as good as the original Incal because it lacks the visual brilliance of Moebius's drawings, but still a very fast, salacious, fun read.
 Dennis M
Jun 09, 2016 rated it it was ok
I sat through a plodding Incal book not drawn by Moebius and all I got was this T-Shirt.
Dan Gorman
Apr 17, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: literature
This is a surreal and rollicking science fiction universe, slightly more coherent than Alejandro Jodorowsky's films (but not by much). The Incal saga definitely influenced urban sci-fi films like "The Fifth Element" and "Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets." In a sense, this whole book is the setup for "The Incal," introducing Jodorowsky's Marxist class consciousness, half-Buddhist/half-Christian mysticism, and acerbic satire of consumerism.

John DiFool, the eternally clueless protagonis
May 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics
Before the Incal isn't quite the masterpiece that is The Incal, but it is definitely a worthy cornerstone in the Jodoverse. The art style of Zoran Janjetov is magnificent and, amazingly enough, stands up well to the original illustrations of Moebius. As with The Incal, you are often reminded, of just how much the Jodoverse has inspired other works of sci-fi, especially in movies. The similar futu-dystopian city sprawl of 5th Element especially comes to mind.

One thing I couldn't help but make a n
Nov 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Very good, but not nearly so compared to Incal.
Definitely read Incal first - this one gives some more context, but also spoilers to Incal and should be read second (Jodorowsky also says this - read them as you would look at a tryptich: start in the middle, then left-to-right.

Two notes on art:

1. Janjetov does an excellent job emulating Moebius. He is also humble enough not trying to "innovate/break-out" - and I think that requires a great artist.

2. I have not realized that I've read the European
Woody Hayday
Nov 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic
From despicable to revelatory, this prequel got under my skin. At first I stumbled through the over-referencing of hard drugs and deviancy, carried by the decent translations of good writing, and the good artwork (and occasional stunning panel), but then Janjetov finds his stride. Both creators eventually deliver, and the last quarter of the collection contains all of the iconic, symbolic, artistic and narrative flair that you're seeking. Read it, give it time, and settle into this sad mad, palp ...more
May 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Lost my first edition, hard cover, Flemish language series in a hurricane in 1995, and this is my first re-read since then. Janjetov does a great job in taking Moebius' varying styles (Incal and Blueberry) and combining them (although the colorist fails at times); the result is a weird and violent, but fascinating world. This story is more interesting than The Incal, but The Incal is vastly better in terms of graphics and color.
Sep 28, 2019 added it
Another supreme achievement, The Incal saga may be one of the great works of our age. John DiFool is still a man for our times, perpetually falling in a debauched metropolis, having lost his innocence, and needing to wake up to the possibilities of increased consciousness. The book feels like it contains the whole spectrum of human emotion.
Omar Rodriguez-Rodriguez
Jan 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, comic
The story and art of BTI are not as thigh as The Incal. The art gets better towards the end, specially the last volume. The story is imaginative, but because it tries to set up the plot points of The Incal, is a bit choppier and lacks its own satisfying resolution. BTI had less of Jodorowsky's fantastic techno-mysticism and was more like a futuristic techno-thriller.
Shabbeer Hassan
After The Incal, this prequel felt a bit stale what with plenty of similar humour tropes used here and not so great a storyline though kooky as before but with more deus-ex machinas than I ever seen. The main grumbling bit for me was that every strange and outlandish occurrence in the original book had a backstory here which frankly took the charm away. The artwork is quite good, but we see a tendency to ape Moebius here with touches of garrulousness which to me is another drawback.

For folks wh
Konstantine Paradias
Dec 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Before the Incal is a hell of a thrill ride in itself but wreaks havoc with the Incal continuity. Then again, you didn't read Jodorowsky for the highly consistent storylines, did you? Very highly recommended
Aug 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
More coherent and clear than a normal Jodorowshy story. This would be a good one for people to start with. Strong very human emotions throughout this one. The whole Incal works are amazing. I look forward to reading the other stories for this universe.
Aaron Boyd
not as good as the first book "Incal" the drawing style is different and the writing is not as good and is more repetitive. The story also dose not matter at all in regards to being a prequel. There is about 5 pages at the end that connects the two stories.
Jennifer Royan
Beautiful art, but little to no plot.

What a disappointment.
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Also credited as Alexandro Jodorowsky

Better known for his surreal films El Topo and The Holy Mountain filmed in the early 1970s, Alejandro Jodorowsky is also an accomplished writer of graphic novels and a psychotherapist. He developed Psychomagic, a combination of psychotherapy and shamanic magic. His fans have included John Lennon and Marilyn Manson.

Other books in the series

L'Incal (Collected Editions) (3 books)
  • The Incal
  • Final Incal

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