Madness. Absolute stark raving insanity.
Yragael and Urm The Mad was created by legendary French artist Philippe Druillet, a founder of Métal Hurlant, known as Heavy Metal magazine here in North America, along with his writing partner Michel Demuth in the early 1970s.
Inspired by the works of occult horror writer HP Lovecraft, the book is comprised of two tales; Yragael and its sequel Urm The Mad.
The back cover of the book describes the overall plot: “Born from chaos, Prince Yragael is the last hope for Earth. Gods and demons stroll the land, attempting to enforce their authority on the Last Men once more.
“But Yragael is not omnipotent and falls prey to the queen of Spharain. From their union comes a son, Urm, a grotesque fool with the potential to redeem mankind or to doom the Last Men forever.”
This is important. This is your guide to this book and the two stories. Without this, you may likely become lost.
Now that you have an overall idea of where the journey will take you, you can just absorb it for what it is. You cannot really make sense of any of it, you just have to keep going on the journey, and when you get to the end, you will hopefully have an overall feeling of the journey, but not necessarily a complete understanding of it.
The best way I could describe this book is that it is like a historical account of a cosmic religious epic, some kind of strange bible to the elder gods, a visual and written account of some lost and forgotten civilisation dedicated to the worship of powerful other beings.
Much of what is in it, though, is beyond comprehension.
What makes this book special beyond the mindless psychobabble dialogue is the art.
Almost every page is one full panel, or a two-page splash panel. The sheer mind-numbing amount of detail on each page is only eclipsed by the ideas of the panels themselves.
They are dark, reality altering ideas of gods, creatures, people and architecture, all sometimes randomly framed with bizarre ornate details for no apparent reason.
Another nuclear powered madman of a writer/filmmaker/artist, Alejandro Jodorowsky, once described a writing process to combat writer’s block.
He said you simply go to your book shelf, grab a random book, open it to a random page, and there is your idea. Whatever is on that page is the inspiration and foundation of your idea.
That’s what this book is. On any page, and on any panel, there is a multitude of possible ideas for creative exploration.
The rest is up to you.
Nick Klie is manager of High Octane Comics. For more, visit 250 Third Ave. or call 250-377-8444.