A Saga For The Ages: ‘The White Lama’ Reviewed

by Tito W. James


Alejandro Jodorowsky and Georges Bess deliver Tibetan-set mystical adventure of treachery, martial arts, and spiritual redemption. The White Lama is an ambitious and well executed saga proving that there’s no limit to the creative and literary potential of comics.

“Late 19th century Tibet, after the Grand Lama Mipam dies, Gabriel, the orphan of white explorers is chosen as his reincarnation. As he is raised by a local family, the seeds of corruption and despair sprout across the land, and it will be up to the “White Lama” to fight his way back to the light.”

Alejandro Jodorowsky has had a paradoxical relationship with spirituality. His comics contain religious and sacrilegious imagery that at times works in perfect synchronicity–critical of religious institutions and their potential for corruption, respectful of the power of spiritual teachings and their ability to bring out the best in human potential.

The White Lama is an epic with a rich narrative, nuanced themes, and miraculous moments of wonder and terror. It’s a serious literary story that still has the fun of a fantasy story. There are moments that feel like a grounded period drama that shift into set-pieces worthy of a pulp adventure novel. These little doses of magic are spaced out and always make an impact.

Georges Bess’s art is phenomenal; he’s able to render different faces of various ethnicities authentically. His knowledge of anatomy makes it so that even fantastic Yetis are believable creatures. Bess’s use of color really shines in the surreal Tibetan landscapes and psychedelic dimensions our hero must cross to reach higher consciousness.

The White Lama is an ambitious and well executed work of graphic fiction that pushes the creative and narrative literary potential of comics to Himalayan heights.

The White Lama is available now from Humanoids.

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