Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Review: The Black Incal Via Phone


Not only is this an unusual blog post in that it's not only the first review, of The Black Incal by Jodorowsky and Moebius, I've blogged in a long, long time; but a review of my experiencing reading a comic on a reading app on my phone. 

Phone app review

The Incal storyline has been on my 'to read list' for a decade. However, the price point per page count is too steep for my wallet. Considering I buy Marvel and DC omnibuses, albeit at InStockTrades and CheapGraphicNovels discounts, that's saying something! When I discovered Prime Reading via Prime membership with Amazon, I leapt at the chance to borrow magazines to read on a Kindle app on my phone. Lo and behold, Moebius's and Jodorowsky's The Black Incal were available to read for free via Prime Reading. Couldn't pass the opportunity up.

The Ugly:

Surprise, surprise, heavily detailed art such as by Moebius does not suit standard phone layout very well. Panel-to-panel scroll wasn't easy to select. When I stumble upon panel-to-panel mode, I couldn't deduce how to toggle it on and off.

The Bad:

When you're reading sequential art, the ability to gaze at the entire page and choose the portion of the art to focus upon is part of the 'hold the book in your hands feel'. Panel-to-panel decides the reading experience for you. While some graphic storytelling order of events can be difficult to ascertain, I felt the panel-to-panel was jerky at times.

The Good:

Once I realized landscape format was the best format, reading became a snap. Panel-to-panel handled simple panels quite well. Reading a comic such as The Black Incal on my phone was an interesting experience and one I have learned from.

Reading on phone rating: 3 out of 5. A learning experience alright. There were times I felt reading on my tablet or PC was the better medium with such a detailed art style. However, like riding a bike, I think I have begun riding without training wheels. There is a future for reading comics on my phone for me.

The Black Incal Review

Jodorowsky, Moebius, and The Incal are icons in graphic literature of which I have read neither the creators nor the series before. If The Black Incal is anything to judge by, the hype is legit!

Moebius's artwork is super detailed with densely packed panels. His layouts are such that I now I understand why many comic artists consider him an influence.

Jodorowsky weaves a tale rich with world building and a complex plot intended for mature audiences. Many concepts are surreal and out of this world.

As for the story itself, it starts out with the hapless private detective John Difool haplessly stumbling, as the fool in his name would suggest, into a situation above his head ala neo-noir stories such as Blade Runner. Then the story shifts into science fiction (or is it science fantasy) epic territory along the likes of Dune and Star Wars once the White Incal, the Black Incal, and the Metabaron enter the story. By The Black Incal's end, I was thoroughly engaged and enthralled. 

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. The Black Incal hooked me like few comics have. By the story's end, I was fully invested with each panel and each page. Upon the conclusion, I was fully hooked. Wow! What an amazing start to an epic! This is how good comic book stories should begin. Before beginning The Black Incal my attitude toward reading the Incal series was more about checking off a supposedly iconic story off my checklist. Now I eagerly want to read the rest of the story. If Humanoids were to collect the series as they did The Metabaron, I would most likely buy it. Highly, highly recommended.

Next time.

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