The art world lost a champion today and the world got a little darker.
Jean Giraud, the incredibly influential French comic artist better known as Moebius, passed away this morning at the age of 73. The artistic visionary succumbed after a lengthy battle with cancer. Though his work was better known in his native France than the United States, his influence on comic book artists is beyond measure. After the news of his passing became public knowledge, Twitter was filled with well wishes from current comic icons like Greg Pak, Dan Slott, Jeff Lemire, Warren Ellis and more.
Born in 1938 in the Parisian suburb of Nogent sur-Marne, Giraud was trained at the Ecole des Arts Applique in Paris before apprenticing under Belgian artist Jije. In 1963, Giraud adopted the name Moebius for use in his more experimental work involving fantasy and science fiction. The name vanished for a while before returning in 1975 when Giraud co-founded “Metal Hurlant”, the anthology series that serialized his famous comic “The Airtight Garage Of Jerry Cornelius”.
One of Giraud’s most infamous collaborations was with filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky on the series “The Incal”. In 1997, the two sued director Luc Besson for using “The Incal” as inspiration for his movie The Fifth Element. The two lost the lawsuit. In 2004, French director Jan Kounen adapted "Blueberry" for the big screen. The film played theaters in Europe but saw only a DVD release in America under the title Renegade.
In 1988, Giraud teamed with Stan Lee for the Silver Surfer series “Parable” but his work didn’t stop there. Ridley Scott called upon Giraud to put together storyboards for Alien. He also assisted with the film Tron and Jodorowsky’s adaptation of Dune, which sadly never saw the light of day. From 2000 to 2010, Giraud published the series “Inside Moebius”, a six-volume set that spanned over 700 pages. In the story, Giraud appears in cartoon form as both creator and protagonist, trapped within the story alongside his younger self as well as his legendary characters including Blueberry, Azrak and Major Grubert from “The Airtight Garage”.
Anyone who loves comic books, science fiction, fantasy, fine art and artistic inspiration should bow their heads for a second and give thanks that Jean Giraud existed in this world.