A parable is a short story which reveals a Truth. In a few short words, it describes a setting or situation, describes an action, and shows the results. It usually involves a character making a questionable decision and then suffering the consequences. The meaning of a parable is often not explicitly stated. It is up to the reader to determine the Truth of the parable.
In short, Alexandro Jodorowsky and Francois Boucq’s book, The Shadow’s Treasures, is a book of parables. While some are humorous and make the reader laugh at the foolishness of the participants, others are haunting and make the reader reflect inwardly on the decisions he or she has made in their life.
The Shadow’s Treasures is as much a conundrum as it is a parable. Like the “chicken and egg” question, it is unknown (at least as far as I could determine based on some research) which came first, the stories or the art. Together they form a perfect unit of thought-provoking entertainment. Each supports and enhances the other, and each directs the reader/viewer back and forth. Understanding of the image is enhanced by reading the text which is then enhanced by further study of the picture which invites another reading of the text. A person could, conceivably, spend hours on a single entry, digging deeper and deeper towards the Truth.
As difficult as it is to determine which came first, it is even more difficult to determine which is better! The stories are brief, yet are full of wit, wisdom, horror, humor, disgust, or dimension depending on a turn of phrase. It is clear Jodorowsky took great delight in creating each of these short stories.
However, the stories would be nothing without the masterful art of Francois Boucq. His fine lines and attention to detail create a rich world. Each page is a detailed glimpse into a fully-realized world where myth and legend exist alongside men with feet of clay. But most of the illustrations would not make nearly as much sense without the words of Jodorowsky accompanying them, so we are back to the beginning.
In total, forty-two parables are presented in The Shadow’s Treasure. The book’s format is similar to that of Jodorowsky’s collaboration with Moebius, The Eyes of the Cat. It is a deluxe limited edition (of 750) hardcover measuring 12 x 16 inches , with text appearing on one page and a full-page illustration on the other.
More than just a book of parables, The Shadow’s Treasures is a book of intriguing stories and captivating art. It is perfect for long-time fans of Jodorowsky and Boucq as well as people just dipping their toes into the European Comic waters. It would be handsome addition to anyone’s coffee table or library. Who knows, it may just spark some thoughtful conversations.