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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Comics To Rot Your Brain: Tribute To Jean “Moebius” Giraud, Master Comics Artist

Jean "Moebius" Giraud 

Jean Giraud, an enduring figure in European comics whose fantasy and sci-fi work — which he signed with his alias, Moebius — deeply influenced alien-world imagery throughout pop culture, has lost his battle with cancer at age 73.

Jean Henri Gaston Giraud was born in May 1938 (the month before Superman arrived in a small rocket from another planet in the pages of "Action Comics" No. 1) in the Paris suburb of Nogent-sur-Marne. In his native France, where for decades comics have attracted an older readership, Giraud is considered his country's most important figure in cartooning.


Blueberry by Moebius

Although he had little formal training, his cowboy adventure tales were being published in Far West magazine by the time he was 18 years old. In his early 20s he became an apprentice of the Belgian artist Jije, best known for his work on "Spirou et Fantasio" and the western adventure that clearly inspired his most seminal work and his signature creation, "Les Aventures de Blueberry". The Old West saga that debuted in 1963 and followed the adventures of a wandering U.S. Cavalry lieutenant nicknamed Blueberry. The final edition was published in 2005.

Jodorowsky's DUNE / Moebius Redux

The artist's famous fans included Fellini, George Lucas, James Cameron, Paulo Coelho, Stan Lee, Hayao Miyazaki and Ridley Scott, who brought in the artist to contribute to the look of the 1979 space-horror classic "Alien," Jodorowsky's DUNE, and Steven Lisberger, the writer-director of "Tron," sought him out for concept work for the 1982 Disney movie. 

Solar Sailor Concept / Tron (1982) / Moebius

"It's one thing to be talented and work hard enough to put your spirit and soul in your work, and it's a totally other thing to have a spirit and soul that is so beautiful and wise that it deserves to be put into art," Lisberger said Saturday. Giraud was "a very rare man, a true master, and his life's work is a masterpiece."

Aliens Concept Illustrations / Moebius

Giraud would go on to contribute art or design work on such 1980s films as "Willow," "Masters of the Universe" and "The Abyss" and on 1997's "The Fifth Element”. 

Heavy Metal Magazine / Moebuis

Despite his numerous contributions to film, Jean Giraud is best known in America for his interstellar visions, which reached these shores in the monthly R-rated pages of "Heavy Metal," the English-language version of "Métal Hurlant," a magazine Giraud helped launch in 1975. He made it a brand name with characters such as Arzach, the silent figure who glides above alien canyons astride a great, leathery bird. His silent story telling and vast unique imagery have inspired generations of comic artists and illustrators. 

Heavy Metal Magazine / Moebuis 

The long journey from protege to titan left Giraud dizzy at times, and last year he said the adulation was a mystery in and of itself.

Moebius / Self Portrait

Someone wrote, 'Moebius is a legendary artist.' A legend — now I am like a unicorn."

Marvel's The Silver Surfer / Moebius

His work was unique in both story and image, and impossible to duplicate. He was not limited by genre or medium, and could tell a joke or chill your heart with a pen stroke. He was a major influence in the art and comic worlds and his genius will be missed.

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