Bouncer volume 1: A Diamond for the Beyond


By Alejandro Jodorowsky & François Boucq, coloured by Ben Dimagmaliw & Nicolas Fructus and translated by Justin Kelly(Humanoids)
ISBN 978-1-59465-600-2 (Digital edition)

Born in Tocopilla, Chile in 1929, Alejandro Jodorowsky Prullansky is a filmmaker, playwright, actor, author, world traveller, philosopher, spiritual guru and comics writer.

The amazing modern polymath is most widely known for such films as Fando y Lis, El Topo, The Holy Mountain, Sante Sangre, The Rainbow Thief, The Dance of Reality and others, and a vast and influential comics output, including Anibal 5 (created whilst living in Mexico), Le Lama blanc, Aliot, The Meta-Barons, Borgia, Madwoman of the Sacred Heart and so many more, created with some of the world’s greatest artists.

His decade-long collaboration with Moebius on the Tarot-inspired adventure The Incal (1981-1989) completely redefined and reinvented what comics could aspire to and achieve.

Most widely regarded for his violently surreal avant-garde films, loaded with highly-charged, inspired imagery – blending mysticism and what he terms “religious provocation” – and his spiritually-informed fantasy and science fiction comics tales, Jodorowsky is also fascinated by humanity’s inner realms.

To better explore that arena he has devised his own doctrine of therapeutic healing: Psychomagic, Psychogenealogy and Initiatic massage.

He remains fully engaged and active in all these creative areas to this day.

French illustrator François Boucq was born in Lille on November 28th 1955 and has made a career out of rendering – with staggering scope, surreal subtlety power and entrancing élan – stories both intellectually challenging and viscerally powerful.

With material such as Little Tulip, The Magician’s Wife, Sente, Bouche de diable, Billy Budd, KGB and many more, he has garnered numerous awards at the Angoulême International Comics Festival and elsewhere. His work here in collaboration with the impeccably adroit raconteur on a work of pure genre is amongst the best he has ever crafted…

Scarce but still available in English as one large hardback compilation or in tantalising digital instalments such as the one under review here, Bouncer began appearing in 2001, eking out eight volumes between then and 2012.

Stuffed with carefully harvested tropes and memes of an immortal and iconic form of myth-making, the classic vengeance tale Un diamant pour l’au-delà opens as A Diamond for the Beyond with a gang of confederate-clad riders torturing a deserter from their ranks. The war might be long over but Captain Ralton van Dorman is still waging it… against civilians he encounters and even his own men when they try to make him see reason…

A sadist with his own code of honour, the Captain even gives the latest traitor a fighting chance. Admittedly not much of one, but still…

Butchery completed, the raiders move inexorably on, plundering a small settlement for supplies and to allow the men to indulge their baser natures before he heads them west out into the big country…

Far ahead of them Preacher Blake and his Indian wife Emihiyah wonder where their troublesome boy Seth is…

The son is deep into a shadowed canyon exploring an old dilapidated house where he finds a desiccated corpse in a coffin. Fascinated, he can’t stop himself taking the ornate pistols and fancy gun-belt cinched around the body.

Naturally his stern pa confiscates them as soon as he gets home and refuses to explain why his name is engraved on them, and any further argument is curtailed when van Dorman’s mob riotously rides in and Seth’s parents frantically make him hide…

It’s been seventeen years since Ralton last saw his brother and the murderous racist has not mellowed in all that time. He is appalled by his brother’s miscegenation and still wants the diamond…

Baffled Seth can only watch in horror as the uncle he never knew and his vile companions commit every kind of abuse and outrage on his kin and even his dog. When the atrocities conclude and the outlaws ride away, traumatised Seth remembers his father’s last word to him: go to Barro City and tell the Bouncer at the Inferno Saloon

Barro is a typical lawless frontier town and Seth barely survives a few close scrapes before finding his man. In truth, the bouncer finds him after two hulking thugs try to take those fancy guns away from him…

The rangy private peacekeeper is quite a surprise: quiet, composed and deadly in a fight despite only having one arm. He also claims to be Seth’s other uncle…

The next day they make the weary pilgrimage back to bury the dead and the Bouncer shares a ghastly tale. Ralton wants a fabulous diamond called the Eye of Cain that Seth’s grandmother once owned…

A whore and child of whores, hardened by a horrific life, she became “Aunty Lola”: the meanest and most successful Madam in the west, complete with her own saloon. She handled all problems with ruthless efficiency and had three sons out of wedlock who grew up mean and dangerous. Their lives all changed after she and her boys blew up and robbed a train to steal a gigantic diamond bought by a millionaire to lure away one of Lola’s girls…

Hiding out in a shack in secluded canyon, greed then got the better of them. Lola wouldn’t let go of the gem and she and the boys fell to fighting. Before she drove them all off Ralton lost an eye, Bouncer got his arm blown off and Blake lost his nerve…

By the time they were able to go back, Lola had killed herself, but not before hiding the gem where nobody could ever find it…

Now Ralton’s back to claim what’s his, unaware that he’s created a killer who will stop at nothing to avenge his parents. All he has to do is convince the Bouncer to teach him how to kill…

To Be Continued…

Stylish, ultra-violent and wickedly wry, the compelling mystery of the Eye of Cain and Seth’s quest for “justice” is delivered with confidant panache and rendered unforgettable by Boucq’s astounding illustration: especially the mind-bending vistas and landscapes of the valleys and canyons of the classic cinematic wild west.

Magnificent and unforgettable, this a tale no one should miss.
© 2015 Humanoids, Inc., Los Angeles (USA). All rights reserved.