In the mid 80s, me and a buddy of mine from high school used to read this Argentinian graphic novel magazine. It would contain lots of different works by both Argentinian and European authors. This was the first time I came across Moebius and his beautiful out of this world graphics. He did work with several writers, but at that point most of what I read from him was his work solo work.
Jean Giraud, a.k.a Moebius, was French. A Parisian, in fact. Besides his solo works, there’s another graphic novel he worked one known as The Incal. A classic, some of you reading this might say. Written by Alejandro Jodorowsky, a Chilean author, The Incal is a fascinating story which many claim influenced things like Star Wars and Blade Runner. I’m not sure how true that is, but Moebius drawings did, in fact, influence at least Blade Runner and Alien. Ridley Scott was no stranger to Moebius. In fact, he hired him to do concept art for him multiple times.
But lets rewind a bit. If any of you have watched Jodorowsky’s Dune, you probably know where I’m going with this. If you didn’t, I highly recommend that documentary. It tells the story about the best Dune movie never made. And yes, it never made it to the big screen. And yet, Jodorowsky managed to get an A Team (pun intended) of conceptual artists and special effects people for this. They started working on the movie creating great ideas and pushing the boundaries of the visuals of Sci-Fi, at least for back then. And even though Jodorowsky’s Dune never came to be, multiple Sci-Fi movies from the early 80s started recruiting the team Jodorowsky had put together. So even though Jodorowsky is an eccentric man that made some wacky movies in the past, he does have good eye for finding good talent that breaks with the mould. And the key here is that most of them had never worked in the film industry. One of these artists was HR Giger, who ended up creating a lot of the art for Alien.
Jodorowsky was living in France back then, and then first person he recruited for this project was, you guessed it, Jean Giraud (Moebius). Together they created a giant book for Dune. It had concept art by HR Giger and Chris Foss, among others, but it was mostly the whole of Jodorowsky’s Dune script made into a storyboard by Moebius.
Moebius has influenced many artists across different decades. And this is not some false claim of me finding links on works of other artists where I think this or that comes from Jean Giraud’s work. They literally mention how much they admired him or they name him among their influences. To the point where even George Lucas was a fan of his. Moebius remembers himself how every time he entered movies or comic books studios people would stand up to shake his hand. Because of this reputation he had, he would get work from pretty big names.
For example he would do covers for Marvel (Stan Lee was another fan) and has done concept art for many large movies: Willow, Tron, The Abyss and The Fifth Element. Ridley Scott even invited him to work on Blade Runner and Legend, but he had to decline because he was engaged with other jobs. Jean Giraud has also been involved with Video Games. He is also revered in that industry. Amongst some of his works is the The Halo Graphic Novel, which he illustrated and was released in 2006. I recall watching a video (which of course I can’t find now) where a concept artist for Halo was in awe that he had met Moebius. So his influences go deep.
Moebius died in March of 2012, unfortunately. But there’s no doubt that he has had (and still has) a massive influence in the world of graphic novels, video games and Sci-Fi movies. So next time you’re in a book store, go check and see if you can find some of his works.
(And of course, support indie libraries if you can. Some have better prices than the big ones!)