Visionary without a vision.
My 2018 resolution to read more comics and graphic novels has gotten me reading work by Alejandro Jodorowsky, whose writing and directing have been described as visionary, hallucinatory, and prophetic. His nearly-insane imagination in comics has captivated me. His mind, his vision, his creative energy is like a wellspring of inspiration for me. I’m not taking direct inspiration from his work, however, so don’t expect to see any mind-bending, possibly drug-addled scenes taking place here in STAR POWER. Rather, it’s his unfettered creativity and the furthest outreaches of his mind put to page that inspires me to challenge myself. To reach for that border of my own mind and put it to page.
But I’m having trouble finding that “insane border of my imagination.” I have lots of stories to tell and characters I want to bring to life, but I don’t have any visions or prophecies. I don’t have hallucinatory dreams that, when brought to life, will create stories that challenge the reader and ask them to interpret the symbols and concepts I’ve put forth.
It seems liberating, though, to just go nuts and make some crazy sequence where characters transform and transition, where time and space fold into a singularity, where the essence of the self is threatened to be swallowed up by the border between realities. I could certainly do it. I could write that scene very easily. But it wouldn’t mean anything. It wouldn’t have any reality behind it besides the spectacle. I would be imitating the visionaries and the prophets for the sake of trying to appear visionary or prophetic. Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but many people forget that the full phrase is, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness.”
Or would it truly be empty imitation? Does something beautiful have to have a deeper meaning besides its beauty? Can’t a flower or a piece of music exist solely for the sake of being lovely? Can you not sing for the simple purpose of sounding beautiful? Does one need a deeper meaning behind a desire to create something of beautiful spectacle if the sole purpose is to be a beautiful spectacle? It’s a fine line to walk, between true beauty and superficial appeal.
Who knows? Maybe one day I’ll have that vision. That insane dream that needs to be put to the page. Will it happen in STAR POWER? I have no idea. Right now I am content to be a storyteller instead a visionary, and I’m certain Garth is, too. I can’t imagine the grief I’d cause him if I were to ask him to draw Jodorowsky-esque scenes.