Sunday Matinee: Moebius

One of the great French comic book artists, Jean Giraud aka Moebius has passed away at the age of 73. His comic work was ground breaking and influential. He also worked on a lot of movies, story boarding and designing unforgettable images.

Giraud started in comics in 1961. In 1963 Giraud co-created the western comic Blueberry with Jean-Michel Charlier. In 1975 he started using the Moebius pseudonym for his science-fiction work. He co-founded the publishing company Les Humanoides Associes which started publishing the science fiction anthology Metal Hurlant. There he created such classic comics like The Airtight Garage and his groundbreaking Arzach which featured no dialogue. Metal Hurlant was translated and published in North America under the title Heavy Metal. Marvel Comics reprinted The Airtight Garage in the 1980’s along with most of his work at the time. Stan Lee was so impressed with Moebius that they later collaborated on a Silver Surfer story, Parable.

In 1975 filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky started working on movie adaptation of Frank Herbert’s Dune. Jodorowsky had contracted H. R. Giger and Jean Giraud for set and character design, Dan O’Bannon for the script and Salvador Dalí, Orson Welles, Gloria Swanson, and others for the cast. 20th Century Fox eventual pulled the funding for the movie and the project was killed but Dan O’Bannon, Giger and Giraud ended working together on Alien. Giraud designed things like the spacesuits for the film.

Jodorowsky’s bad experience with Hollywood lead to him going into the comic industry. With Giraud they created the series The Incal. Giraud only drew the first series but it lead to a vast and rich universe of comics with series like The Metabarons and The Technopriests continuing the story. In 1982 he collaborated with director René Laloux to create the science fiction feature-length animated movie Les Maîtres du temps (Time Masters). Around the same time he also wrote and was the con­cep­tual designer for the Japanese animated movie Lit­tle Nemo: Adven­tures In Slum­ber­land which didn’t come out until 1989.

Over the years he worked on several other movies including the animated adaptation of Heavy Metal, Tron, coming up with awesome concept designs for George Lucas’ Willow, The Abyss and The Fifth Element by director Luc Besson. The Fifth Element production was sued by Jodorowsky for ripping off The Incal but the case was thrown out because Giraud worked on both.

Jean Giraud aka Moebius was a master storyteller and his influence extended from comics to movies and I’m sure it will continue for years to come.

A short documentary on Moebius.

Author: Shane Hnetka

Shane Hnetka has spent most of his life watching movies and reading comic books. He has decided to use this vast knowledge for evil instead of good.

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