Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Journey to Saturn

When the Danish Cartoons business was at its height a couple of years ago, there was naturally a thread about it on the Comics Journal Message Board. I was surprised by one commenter who asserted that there was something hypocritical about the Danish state not using existing blasphemy laws to prosecute the newspaper that published the cartoons. This from a fellow who's a nice liberal living in San Francisco, not at all the kind of person you'd expect to be advocating censorship. As I remember it, I pointed out at the time that the Danes weren't in the habit of prosecuting cartoonists who caricatured Jesus, so there was no double standard in not prosecuting in the Mohammed case.  One example I had in mind was the brilliant comic album by Claus Deleuran, Rejsen til Saturn (Journey to Saturn) from 1977. 

It's a highly satirical tale of a Danish space mission, with lots of beer, aliens, politics, religion, and space toilet jokes. Along the way the spaceship runs out of fuel and have to get out and walk. They stumble across the entrance to Heaven where they meet not just St Peter and God the Father, but also Reservejesus (little brother to Jesus), Satan, and then Jesus himself.

In the excerpt below, Jesus has just returned to Heaven from his latest incarnation. He explains that this time he tried "a different path, drove the whole thing super-professional, completely cool you know! 1.5 million annual turnover man! Two villas and four cars! Then suddenly an idiot comes out from a side road - SMASH! man!"  

Happily, though God hasn't any petrol to give the space explorers, he does lend them the Holy Ghost, which obligingly flies into their jerry-can.

Just in case you think I'm pulling out some obscure example of Danish cartooning to make a point, Journey to Saturn is now being made as a feature film by A-film animation.

UPDATE: trailers here.

Rejsen til Saturn © 1977 Claus Deleuran, © 2001 Lone Deleuran

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