It was weird finally seeing Jodorowsky’s Dune [documentary, 2014]. It was like meeting a beautiful woman and falling in love only to discover that she has fallen in love with you also.
To create the pre-production drawings and assemble the actors, Jodo said to himself: “I need my spiritual warriors!” And assemble them he did. Moebius, Giger, Foss. O’Bannon on SFX. For actors he had his own son train in martial arts for two years straight to become Paul. He had Mick Jagger. David Carradine. Orson Welles. Even Salvador Dali was going to play the Emperor at $100,000USD per usable minute.
But when the French production finally pitched Hollywood… it hit a wall. This would change everything and Hollywood did not want to change. Everywhere they went was the same : “This is brilliant, but… no.”
And so the perfect relationship between America and Europe was vetoed every time. Like the father of the perfect woman saying “no, you cannot marry my daughter.”
This was a passion project at every turn. Jodorowsky’s spiritual warriors created countless drawings, illustrations, designs and paintings around his script adaptation. Heck they even had Pink Floyd slated for some of the music right after they’d recorded Dark Side of the Moon. It would have been the epic to end all epics. But it was killed before it could be born.
What’s worse is that countless films afterward would use Jodo’s ideas in their own production, which I think is simply criminal.
Without even being made, Jodorowsky’s Dune still spawned modern sci-fi and fantasy. Had it become what it was meant to be, it would have stood as the pinnacle of modern cinema.
And so, the artist and the beautiful woman would go their separate ways, like ships in the night.
I was incredibly inspired by this documentary on the non-making of an epic.
I myself am working on a space opera that, to me, seems original and perhaps ahead of its time. I, like Jodo, consider myself a spiritual warrior. I relate to this in every degree.
Once it is done, will I find an ally at a reputable publisher? Will it see the light of day??
Of course, this is the future. I can always self publish on the internet, and reach my audience thus, I can use KickStarter or Patreon, but it sure would be nice to have a champion help me along the way.
So is there a publisher out there able to help me? Does it exist? Will they be in my corner every step of the way? Are they ready for this?
Only time will tell. I’m not done drawing by a long shot. I’m at 80 pages of 600. At this rate it will take me three years to draw. If I speed up maybe two. And I’m okay with that. I’m doing everything myself. I’m in complete control of the vision.
So forgive me if I can relate to Jodo’s spiritual warriors. Had I been born 40 years earlier, perhaps I would have worked on this film too. Okay perhaps not. But I would have been jealous of everyone that did!!
Like DUNE for Jodorowsky, this saga is my life’s work. It is the river into which all previous projects flow and from which all future projects stem.
The difference is that in comics, I don’t need 15 million dollars to produce the thing. A few machines and maybe a thousand dollars in supplies and I’m good. And I’m done.
In a way the parallels are striking. In 1989 I came up with my core characters, and spent the next few years, my early teenage years, fleshing it out. But the project was too big for me.
Now I’m almost 40. I’m an old man. And I have thousands of comics pages notched into my belt. I’ve worked in all sorts of styles and genres and now I’m making a return to sci-fi, fantasy and superheroes. It’s how I used to think. How I used to draw. How I used to be. Rediscovering my youth along the way. It is an amazing feeling. It is an amazing time for me.
At this rate, when I finally do publish my epic, I will probably be able to say ’30 years in the making.’ In a way it’s embarrassing that it would have taken so long. But something happened along the way that made it worth it…
I grew up. I fell in love. More than once. And got my heart broken countless times. I experimented with my art and grew as an illustrator to the point where I covered most all regions in Scott McCloud’s art pyramid [Understanding Comics, 1993]. I tried new things. I succeeded. I failed. I fell and got back up. Heck I even ran a successful publisher for five years. And all of this leads us to this time. My time…
Some of you know what it is like to lose yourself and find yourself again. Some of you will never know. It is a unique experience that has spiritual dimensions, mystical, metaphysical, philosophical parameters. It is a feeling for which I have no words. It exists inside and outside of me. Like how rain makes us sad and how a beautiful sunset makes us feel nostalgic. It is a collapsing of past and future dimensions. It is sublime.
Will I ever be an Elvis? A Beatle? A Michael Jackson? A Lucas, Spielberg, Scott? A Moebius, Jim Lee, Dave McKean?? A Stan Lee, Gaiman, a Jodorowsky??? I don’t know. I don’t think I have much influence in the plays of history except to do my best. And whether history says yes or no is hardly important at this point, because I feel that I am all of those things, well… in potential at least.
So far the public has seen me create some good artwork, collaborate on some great comics, even create a few graphic novels of my own.
But as I did this in myriad styles and using multiple approaches, something weird happened. People started asking me for a space opera. Imagine how surprised they were when I acquiesced.
Without ever overtly suggesting it, it was always implicit in my every pencil stroke, ink splatter, colour combination. Like a dream it permeated my work until I finally returned to my roots and said… “YES!”
With a thanks to the spiritual warriors that came before, I shall return to my own battles, to my pages, and hope to see you… on the dark side of the moon.
This is the blog of writer-artist-designer-author Dominic Bercier, MCS principal and founder.