Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.29: Moebius

No.29: Moebius

Moebius, real name Jean Giraud, was a French comic artist who created his own style and unique look, and was an illustrator whose influence was hugely felt on American and British comics. He began drawing westerns as a child, a genre which he pursued later on with Blueberry in the 1960s. He was also a voracious reader of Belgian comic magazines, particularly Spirou and Tintin. Words: Joel Meadows…

photo ©Greg Preston. All Rights Reserved

He soon spread his wings artistically, his work encompassing bold science-fiction and surreal fantasy, which also incorporated cinematic elements. Giraud began his technical training at the École Supérieure des Arts Appliqués Duperré in Paris when he was 16. It was here that he made friends with future fellow comic artists Jean-Claude Mézières and Pat Mallet. Giraud left art school in 1956 without graduating to spend nine months in Mexico visiting his mother, who had remarried to a Mexican, and it was this trip which made a huge impact on him as an artist. It was visiting the places which he had only seen at the cinema watching Westerns which he said ‘literally cracked my soul’ and the Mexican desert, with its blue skies and seemingly endless flat plains, continued to influence his work throughout his career.

It was his apprenticeship with his idol Jijé from 1961 to 1962 that also moulded him as an illustrator. It was Jijé who acted as a father figure for the artist who didn’t have one and he said as much later on in life: “It was as if he had asked me “Do you want me to be your father?, and if by a miracle, I was provided with one, a [comic] artist no less!”.

Moebius then spent a year working for Hachette through his friend Jean-Claude Mézières,  but it was his eleven years at Pilote from 1963 to 1974 which really developed his ability and artistic vision. In Oct 1963, Giraud, with writer Jean-Michel Charlier, co-created strip Fort Navajo for Pilote, which saw the debut of Lieutenant Blueberry, the Western character based on French icon Jean-Paul Belmondo. The strip was originally designed as an ensemble story but it quickly became a vehicle for the Lieutenant. Giraud simplified his line style as the series progressed and took his later influences from the likes of Sergio Leone and Sam Peckinpah.

After Blueberry, Giraud adopted his Moebius persona and it was his work for Metal Hurlant, the magazine he co-created in 1974, which really propelled him into international comics superstardom.

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On Metal Hurlant, Moebius met his future collaborator, experimental filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky, who introduced him to all manner of new concepts. So his art took a new and different turn with series like Arzach and The Airtight Garage. His series The Incal, another collaboration with Jodorowsky, garnered praise but the success of Moebius proved to be a burden, which he saw as creatively constraining.

In the 1980s, thanks to the launch of Marvel’s groundbreaking Epic imprint headed up by visionary editor Archie Goodwin, Moebius’s work came to the attention of the American market. He even moved to California for five years in the 1980s. In the 1990s he drew the first of the two-part volume of the XIII series “La Version Irlandaise” (“The Irish Version“) from a script by Jean Van Hamme.

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In the late 1980s, Moebius produced one of his best-known works with Stan Lee, on Silver Surfer: Parable published by Marvel.

Moebius also worked on a number of films including an aborted adaptation of Frank Herbert’s Dune and even with Ridley Scott on the seminal Alien which was released in 1978. Scott tried to get him back for Blade Runner but he was too busy working on a film project which never came to fruition. He also worked as concept artist on Luc Besson’s The Fifth Element in 1997 and James Cameron’s The Abyss which was released in 1989.

When he passed away from cancer in 2012, Moebius left a huge body of work. He was an artist who brought European sensibilities to US and British comics with a visionary approach and a work ethic that was unparalleled by any of his contemporaries. After his death, Dark Horse launched their Moebius library in 2016, making certain that his legacy would live on.

There are many other talented European comic artists and illustrators like Enki Bilal, Phillipe Druillet and Hugo Pratt, but it was this man who transcended the European comics industry.

 

 

Here’s links through to the other entries in our 101 Greatest so far as well

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.30: Dave Gibbons

 

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.31: Creig Flessel

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.32: Milt Caniff

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.34: Burne Hogarth

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.35: LB Cole

 

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.37: Bill Everett

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.38: Robert Crumb

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.39: Mac Raboy

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.41: Jim Starlin

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.42: Mike Zeck

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.43: Adam Hughes

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.44: Daniel Clowes

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.45: Gene Colan

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.46: George Perez

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.47: Michael William Kaluta

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.48: Cary Nord

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.49: Frank Quitely

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.50: Mike Ploog

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.51: Johnny Craig

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.52: Darwyn Cooke

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.53: Steve Dillon

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.54: Gil Kane

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.55: Michael Zulli

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.56: John Romita

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.57: Joe Maneely

 

 

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.58: Marshall Rogers

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.59: John Severin

 

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.60: Alex Toth

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.61: Brian Bolland

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.62: David Mazzuchelli

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.63 Reed Crandall

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.64 Harry Anderson

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.65 Nick Cardy

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.66 Matt Wagner

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.67 Bryan Hitch

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.68 Shawn Martinbrough

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.69 Al Feldstein

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.70 Nestor Redondo

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.71 Tarpe Mills

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.72 Eduardo Risso

 

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.73 JH Williams III

 

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.74 Irv Novick

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.75 Dan Zolnerowich

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.76 Gilbert Shelton

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.77 Tommy Lee Edwards

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.78: Sean Phillips

 

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.79: Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.80: Dan DeCarlo

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.81: Marie Severin

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.82: John Paul Leon

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.83: Jim Lee

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.84: Denys Cowan

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.85: Ross Andru

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.86: Paul Gustavson

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.87: George Evans

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.88: Michael Golden

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.89: Matt Baker

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.90: Todd McFarlane

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.91: Fiona Staples

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.92: Carl Barks

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.93: Carmine Infantino

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.94: Alan Davis

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.95: CC Beck

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.96: Syd Shores

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.97: Bob Fujitani

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.98: Tim Sale

Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.99: Jim Aparo

https://tripwiremagazine.co.uk/headlines/tripwires-101-greatest-comic-artists-of-all-time-no-100/

https://tripwiremagazine.co.uk/headlines/tripwires-101-greatest-comic-artists-of-all-time-no-101/

 

The post Tripwire’s 101 Greatest Comic Artists Of All Time: No.29: Moebius appeared first on TRIPWIRE MAGAZINE.

No.29: Moebius Moebius, real name Jean Giraud, was a French comic artist who created his own style and unique look, and was an illustrator whose influence was hugely felt on American and British comics. He began drawing westerns as a child, a genre which he pursued later on with Blueberry in the 1960s. He was
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