|Moebius (photo by Jarek Obwazanek)|
By Jim Beard
Marvel Comics notes with sadness the passing of perhaps one of the world’s most well-known and respected international comic artists, Jean Giraud, who worked under the famous nom de plume of Moebius. Admired by many creators, including Stan Lee, Moebius’ body of work remains unparalleled in the industry.
A native of France, Giraud began his professional career at the early age of 18 when he drew his first comic strip in 1956. Five years later the artist became apprenticed to a famous European illustrator, Jifé, and in 1962 he and writer Jean-Michael Charlier, inaugurated the “Fort Navajo” strip, a Western that introduced one of Giraud’s most famous characters, Lieutenant Blueberry.
With Blueberry later spun into his own strip, Giraud began to transform his art into the unique style for which he gained his fame and notoriety. By 1963, the artist transformed himself into Moebius, a crafter of science fiction and fantasy strips for the magazine “Hara-Kiri.” That led eventually to his founding, along with other creators, of the infamous French publication “Metal Hurlant,” called “Heavy Metal” in the United States in 1975. There, he kicked off two legendary comic strips, “The Airtight Garage” and the wild and wonderful “Arzach.”
|Silver Surfer: Parable by Moebius|
Marvel and Stan Lee came calling on Moebius in 1988 for an original Silver Surfer limited series. An eerie tale of the coming of the world-eating Galactus and his space-borne herald, SILVER SURFER: PARABLE introduced a new generation of readers to the artist’s unique visual storytelling ability. The 1980’s also brought much film work for Moebius, including designs for “Alien,” “Tron” and an un-produced movie version of “Dune.” Marvel’s Epic line of graphic novels also boasted the inclusion of his UPON A STAR, THE GARDENS OF AEDENA, THE GODDESS and STEL, among others.
Later in life he contributed designs for a series of French postage stamps, featured in numerous exhibitions and even wrote his autobiography, “Inside Moebius.” He also resurrected his famous characters and strips in new versions of Lieutenant Blueberry, The Airtight Garage and Arzach.
Moebius’ far-reaching influence impacted both creators and styles of illustration around the globe, especially that of Japanese manga. A true gentleman of the comics scene, he’ll be remembered for his fascinating vision of what comic art could aspire to and for his steadfast refusal to be anything other than an artist who strived for uniqueness of line and composition.