“Moebius isn’t gone. He’s just looped back to the beginning to start over. He is, and will be, forever.”
– Kurt Busiek
This past Saturday, it was announced that Jean Giraud (aka Moebius) had passed after a long term health battle.
To try and sum up the importance and impact of the work of Moebius is incredibly hard. The work of Moebius has inspired so many artists, animators, film makers, that in many ways one of the only other comic artists you could compare him to in terms of impact is Jack Kirby.
The thing that always struck me about his work is if you start at the beginning and work your way through is not only how Moebius’s style changed and grew but how his art readily adapted for the genre he was working in. The cowboy grit of Blueberry to the science fiction sprawls of The Incal. The detail is there and it always looks different to each setting but at the same time there is no doubt that it was the work of Moebius.
His work has influenced countless comic artists from many different genres and styles. Walt Simonson, Frank Quietly, Jim Lee, Dave Gibbons and Geof Darrow to name a few. All are acclaimed artists and have developed styles of their own, but you can see a bit of Moebius in each of them. Darrow worked with Moebius on a set of portfolio prints called City of Fire, which lead to Darrow’s break into the comic book industry.
Given that a majority of Moebius’s comic work isn’t in English and a large portion has never been translated coupled with the fact that the material that has been translated has a hard time staying in print, speaks volumes of the man’s talent. It’s a body of work that transcended languages. I know of more then one artist that picked up a graphic album of Moebius’s work despite not knowing a lick of French.
Jean Giraud also helped shape the visual look of numerous films that in turn shaped over films. Tron, Willow, Masters of the Universe, Star Wars (while much of his work was never used, the Imperial Prob Droid in Empire is one of his designs) and one of my favorite films of all time, Alien.
His work also influenced anime film maker Hayao Miyazaki, who in turn influenced Giraud. The Monaie de Paris held a joint exhibition of the two artist’s work. Giraud’s work on film maker Alejandro Jodorowsky’s aborted Dune project lead to a creative partnership in comics that gave us The Incal and The Metabarons among others. The film, The Fifth Element bears the incredibly heavy influence of Moebius’s work in both style and content.
But at the heart of it lies this simple truth.
Jean Giraud, aka Moebius, was one hell of an artist.
Rest in peace.