Monday, May 5, 2014

"The Leg": The New Mexican Folklore Inspired Graphic Novel with A Kick! (& Happy Cinco de Mayo!)

From the brilliant (some might say twisted) mind of Van Jensen, creator of "Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer!", comes:

And, get this, today Mr. Jensen launched a Kickstarter (I know!) to help take this (really wow - seriously, it's amazing) completed graphic novel from a limited-edition-of-one, to print for us all.

You did know there's this thing about disembodied legs in Mexican folklore and legend, right? And this is where the weird fun begins!

Note: Before you go any further I have to warn you: read a little and you are drawn in. At this point, I am totally hooked on this story! (I need more!*headdesk*) Woven in among the colorful and forbidding landscapes of both setting and story, you'll find a sentient disembodied leg, desert shamans, a giant, a wizard, a little girl (named Ana... one 'n'), possibly magical birds, vengeful skeletons, a lot of grit, a lot of humor, a bruja, tales upon tales and so much more...

Once upon a time in Mexico—more specifically, in the 1880s during the Pastry War—President Santa Anna lost his left leg when it was struck by French cannon fire. Santa Anna gave his missing limb a full military funeral (true story!). But when the Mexican people rebelled against Santa Anna (because he did insanely vain things like giving his limb a military funeral) and threw him out of office, protesters exhumed his leg, dragged it through the streets and cast it aside (also a true story!). It hasn’t been seen again…until now! 
Our story is set in 1938, when the Leg has reappeared, clad in a tall leather boot. When the Leg learns of a new threat against Mexico, it embarks on an epic journey across the country, battling with villains both modern and magical in its quest to save the country and redeem Santa Anna’s tarnished legacy. 
Will the Leg succeed in its quest? The answer lies inside THE LEG: The Remarkable Reappearance of Santa Anna's Disembodied Limb.
From Bleeding Cool (because they do a great job of nailing the flavor of this work in just a couple of sentences):
The Leg features the disembodied leg of Santa Anna adventuring through 1930s Mexico. It’s a weird pastiche of fairy tales, Spaghetti Westerns and Mexican history featuring art by Jose Pimienta, who grew up in Mexico.
1938 Mexico, a century after Santa Anna lost his left leg in battle against French invaders. Now, mysteriously, the Leg has returned, and it discovers a new threat against its beloved country. As the Leg ventures across Mexico, it will encounter the strangest elements of Mexican folklore and history, and it will come face to face with its own turbulent legacy. A pastiche of Robert Rodriguez’ Mexico trilogy and the surrealist paintings of artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, THE LEG is an intensely original spin on the Spaghetti Western genre.
Launching today on Cinco de Mayo, a holiday that marks Mexico’s military triumph over France, the book is completely completed and money is being raised to cover the print bill.
Here's the Kickstarter video (which is also one of the most pleasing book trailers I have seen in ages):
I was exceptionally pleased to discover that one of the stretch goals for this Kickstarter include a Spanish Language edition of the graphic novel, which I feel is only right, and very important to help make happen.

The story, helped by the beautiful visuals, feels very Mexican with an amazing blend of political strife and grasping for power alongside a stubbornly surviving people, whose common sense and religious beliefs live side by side with their abounding superstitions and (possibly real) legends.

Inspired by random bits of folklore uttered by a professor in a Mexican history class, and ultimately illustrated by acclaimed artist and Mexican native, Jose Pimienta, The Leg shows a deep love of Latino culture, a fascination of the 'Other' and betrays a writer infused by tales and wonder.

Once Upon A Blog will be interviewing Mr. Jensen later this week to find out more about the mind and method behind The Leg, but today is launch day and besides, you need a little Mexico-folkloric in your life on Cinco de Mayo, don't you?

Start by checking out the first chapter - in full glorious color - of The Leg, which you can download directly from HERE then please consider helping the Kickstarter along, because the ultimate question we have to know is: will The Leg save Mexico?

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