♦Tripwire Contributing Writer OLLY MACNAMEE takes a look at Humanoids’ The Magical Twins, by Alejando Jodorowsky and Georges Bess
The Magical Twins
Writer: Alejandro Jodorowsky
Art: Georges Bess
This is something of a departure from the more adult themed books Alejandro Jodorowsky is known for, and instead of the cosmic doom and gloom laden narratives of The Metabarons, for instance, Jodorowsky has chosen to offer up all all-ages graphic novel for his newest published work, alongside Georges Bess on art duty. And, as an example of your archetypal fairy tale, or more exactly, your archetypal Hero’s Journey narrative, it does not fail to deliver, following the path of least resistance and giving the young readers it’s really aimed at a joyful, zippy, beautifully illustrated read, and a great example of comics for kids. This is an ideal gateway book for any young nippers you may have around the house, or even any rugrats you may know who’s Birthday may soon be approaching and have shown an interest in comics in any way. I ran it past my 11 year old daughter (already a hardened vet of the comic book world) and she loved it.
Royal twins, Mara and Aram (get it?) have been set an unexpected challenge while training with their mother, the Queen Zarah: to save their father from Tartarath, an evil helmeted dark lord (yeah, yeah, I know, been there, done that. But then, Darth Vader himself is a stand in for the Black Knight of yore anyway, and besides, this is a kiddies’ book, right?). But, to do this, they must make the journey of a lifetime and cross four ‘Forbidden Islands’ and prove their worth. All along, picking up magic talismans and meeting tests, allies and enemies in true Campbell style, albeit with the odd stage conveniently sidestepped to keep up the pace of the story. And, at just 44 pages in length, the pace is everything. It’s also the right length, I think, for your child’s first graphic novel/album and has an art style very much in the vein of the Humanoids publications, but more cartoony to suit the story.
Alongside these adventurous siblings is the trusty companion, in this case a magical yet goofy creature called Lyrena, who seems to be a fountain of different magical abilities, but every time she uses each power, she can’t use it for another year. So, brother and sister can’t simply rely on their magical mate to get them out of each scrape.
Each island is a fun, well crafted environment offering our magical twins diverse tests that they need their senses to rely upon in many cases. A fishy smell on the first island gives them the tip-off that not all is as it seems, in what looks on the surface to be a virtual pastoral paradise. It’s the skills that Bess brings to the design of these varied environments and characters that litter these pages and elevates this simplistic, fun romp, into an all ages read, as you’ll come for the art alone, which had shades of both Ernie Colon and, of course, Moebius. Hey, this is a European affair and I defy anyone from mainland Europe not to be influenced in some way by the French master. And, why not?
It is a fantastical, magical world we are plunged into, a ‘Once Upon A Time’ world that is beautifully ageless and, I dare say, will stand the passing of time. I really enjoyed flicking through each page, lingering on each panel to soak up the detail, and would think that there is room for growth for this particularly plucky pair. As a kid, who wouldn’t want to read of other kids going on adventures, fighting the good fight and saving the day! What a beezer read. Maybe we’ll see these particular pair again one day? In a land far, far away.
The Magical Twins is out now from Humanoids