Tributes pour in for comics artist Jean 'Moebius' Giraud
Jean "Moebius" Giraud, in Paris in 2010.
March 12th, 2012
04:31 PM ET

Tributes pour in for comics artist Jean 'Moebius' Giraud

Just one week after the loss of "Star Wars'" conceptual artist Ralph McQuarrie and Golden Age comic book artist Sheldon Moldoff, fans were in mourning yet again when the publisher Dargaud announced the death of Jean Giraud, sometimes known by the pseudonym Moebius, had died over the weekend at the age of 73.

Giraud got his start drawing "bandes dessinées" (French comic strips and comic books) in the 1950s. He gained fame in the comics world with his illustrations of the Western character, Blueberry.

In 1975, now working under the name Moebius, he and three collaborators began work on the comics magazine "Heavy Metal," which became so popular that it became a feature film in 1981.

Moebius' dreamlike landscapes caught the attention – not just of the U.S. comic book world – but of Hollywood. His conceptual art informed the looks of the science fiction films "Alien," "Tron," and "The Fifth Element."

Moebius also collaborated with Stan Lee on an Eisner-award winning "Silver Surfer" mini-series. He also did a series of posters of Marvel Comics characters.

Moebius greatly admired the work of anime legend Hayao Miyazaki and the pair once put together an exhibition in Paris in 2004.

Fans and artists who were inspired by them shared their memories of him online.

Comics Alliance wrote:

Moebius leaves behind a body of work that spanned 50 years, and in the disparate forms of comic books, film, animation, illustration, sketches and paintings, across all manners of formats and languages. Even for many of his most devoted readers, there will always be new worlds to discover. In that way, we can take solace that Jean Giraud will always be with us.

Giraud's work lends itself to the ethereal, and the occasion of the artist's passing has naturally inspired everyone to post images that best express the profound emotions of the moment.

Cyriaque Lamar posted on io9:

It's pretty hard to overstate the hand Moebius had in some of science fiction's most phantasmagoric cinema. You know his work even if you've never realized it.

In addition to providing preliminary designs for such films as "Alien," "Tron," "The Abyss," "Masters of the Universe," "The Fifth Element," and "Willow" (which were awesome albeit unused), the artist provided concept art for El Topo director Alejandro Jodorowsky's never-realized Dune adaptation, which was to star Mick Jagger and boast a soundtrack by Pink Floyd.

Harry Knowles of Ain'tItCoolNews recalled:

I met Jean Giraud at Comic-Con about 17-18 years ago. It was before AintItCool, I was just a rotund geek wandering Comic-Con with my sketch book. I'd just ran into Jack Kirby, who drew me a quick happy face when I recognized Jean Giraud. I quietly walked up to him and asked if he would do a quick sketch for me. He looked at me and said, "You know, I'm not Moebius," and I responded, "Moebius is a dream, you're Jean Giraud." He smiled and drew a full page sketch that became one of the centerpieces of that particular sketchbook.

I stand by what I told him. Moebius is a dream. A dream that I never will fully wake from....

He had a style that was instantly recognizable, his stories thoroughly rocked my mind as a child and as an adult. But more than anything, I'll remember when he handed me back my book and my face lit up, I caught his smile and a twinkle in his eyes. He said, "I don't usually do that, but there's something special about you." At the time, that meant the world to me. When a hero tells you that, it means the world.

The comic book world paid tribute on Twitter as well.

Writer Neil Gaiman ("Sandman") tweeted, "His art inspired me when I was 14, and his stories did too, because I didn't understand them." He wrote more about Moebius on his Tumblr.

Jim Lee, co-publisher of DC Comics, called him "a huge influence and true visionary, we've lost the best."

Marvel COO Joe Quesada called him "perhaps one of the greatest artist[s] to ever walk this earth."

Collaborator Paulo Coelho wrote, "I bow in reverence for you, Moebius. Your body died today, your work is more alive than ever. Will remember forever your house, your smile."

Writer Brian Michael Bendis ("Ultimate Spider-Man") called him "a gigantic true hero of mine," and shared the introduction he wrote for a collection of some of Moebius' work.

Artist Tony Moore ("The Walking Dead") tweeted, "I can't believe Moebius is dead. I was certain he was a force of nature. I don't have words for the depth of this loss for our art form."

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    August 19, 2012 at 5:43 am |
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    July 11, 2012 at 2:02 am |
  3. Tushar

    I had the "privilege" to see this exhibition few years ago, and I was vey exceitd before.Unfortunately, this was a very disapointed exhibition, with few original paintings or sketch, and few technical explanations. I was quite sad to be disapointed by two of my masters, but I bought the book, and as say shane white, this is a very good and legendary book.So don't be sad to never has seen the exhibition, but buy the book...PS : In France, we have to wait 2 weeks to buy last Gurney's book, it's quite frustrating !

    July 3, 2012 at 4:09 am |
  4. pepe moreno

    God Damned!! do you realize that now there's no one that will ever draw like that?
    what a lost of beauty to be had... but thank God that he left us with so much.

    pepe moreno

    March 29, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
    • Jonas

      When I got a contract to do some game aonamtiin for Sega, I got an advance check part of which I used to buy the Moebius "Blueberry" graphic novel series (for artistic research of course!) – I was blown away by the writing/art package of "Blueberry". Moebius was absolutely "The Greatest". And don't forget "The Airtight Garage" – I've read it over and over and over

      June 30, 2012 at 7:44 pm |
    • Leyly

      Hi Jeslyn, Looking forward to meinetg you in the next ping outing :)Yes, you can definitely edit the size, on the video that you want to edit, you click on embed, and then a new window will appear. From there, you can edit the height and immediately the width will resize itself and vice versa. Then you can preview it :)Cool right?! 😀

      August 2, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
  5. Draka

    The world is a sadder place with his loss but a better place because of his art

    March 13, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
    • Sarai

      I'm not sure we're sharing the casetptor position with Blueberry. Or at least we are sharing his position and taking a position of viewing his casetptorship.For me, this panel's storyness probably boils down to a combination of generic cues (cowboy-esque figure on horseback, creepy house in the middle of nowhere) and the placement of it as a kind of inbetween time. It sits narratively (even out of context, even moreso out of context) at a threshold. Blueberry is approaching the house, he's not there yet, but it's in the picture. The image feels incomplete, like a person who suddenly stopped in the middle of walking with one foot still off the ground.I don't think that can be generalized to all images with that storyness feeling. I think text could also play a big part in comics panels.

      April 7, 2012 at 9:56 pm |
    • Karima

      This is marvelous, what a great piece on two ldeengs that admire one another from their distant lands. Although uncertain, living in these times are very exciting-and certainly exciting indeed to be apart of this animation/comic era. It's encouraging to hear from Miyazaki that he has a constant pessimism, which is a constant I believe for all of us artists. A never-ending process of discovering and rediscovering how to create something believable to audiences.

      July 3, 2012 at 4:57 am |
  6. Heavy Metal Larry

    My fondest memories were from the Incal series which to me was a genuinely unique look at the future and fueled my imagination as a young artist.Hope to meet him on that other plane of existence riding a concrete seagull!!

    March 13, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • Raj

      I liked the interview and algtouhh they are fairly different in subject matter, I am a fan of their work (much more familiar with Miyazaki).Erik, I agree with your comment about the "tricky times." I remember reading Cicero in college and thinking that people have been saying, effectively, "these kids today and their rock-n-roll music! They don't know how good they got it!"I cannot imagine a time when people didn't think that they were living in "tricky times," it must be part of the human condition. Perhaps that's what the cave paintings are really about, as my dad would say.I am not sure that I would go so far as to assign a rightness to a particular outlook or voice in art. Clearly you state that optimistic and pessimistic viewpoints are equally valid, but I would respectfully submit that even past that there is something pretty deep about a piece that works, regardless of its viewpoint. That is what, to me, is what separates the good from the great. If a piece has appeal, no matter what the subject, then that is powerful art. When it has that something special, that je ne sai quoi, I don't know what it is, that makes you want to look at it just that little bit longer (or a lot bit longer). And not to suck up too much here, but Jim's work has that elusive quality. A simple sketch of a bird that captures the not only the proper bird proportions and lighting information, but really captures the life, the very birdness...I think that's where you can start tossing around words like brilliant and genius.I for one, am very glad to live in this "tricky time" so as to hear Miyazaki's thoughts on art and life, to see great works of art and engineering, and to be able to talk art and life with someone on the other side of the planet 😉

      July 1, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
  7. JohnCRoberts

    I met him in 1980's at of all things an art signing in a very large comic book store. I had revered his work for some time with Heavy Metal and was looking forward to it. He was tired, non-verbal and just walked away after he signed a poster for me. It was a massive letdown. I do like the story about Mobieus being a dream, but at the time, I could care less about him after that day. His art touched us all and was great personality aside. (he is not the first artist to be a dick that I have observed).

    March 13, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
  8. Cowboy Herb

    Lt. Blueberry was one of America's best ambassadors to Europe. You'll find his friends everywhere.

    March 13, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
  9. Bubba

    This is a terrible loss – he was one of the geniuses of our age. At least he left a huge legacy of work; every cartoonist and designer has borrowed from him, or from someone influenced by him. Major Grubert up there will be around as long as Mickey Mouse.

    March 13, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
    • Mbongiseni

      Thank you so much for doing this. Your hard work and dedication to rescareh is very appreciated.At 12, in a supermarket, I found All in Color for a Dime, read it on a flight to Chicago next day where my mom was taking me to meet some Irish relatives for the first time, and I have been hooked on comics and comic strips ever since!When I was a teenage kid I had quite a few of the books you mention, such as Steranko's History of the Comics I and II, and Jules Feiffer's book, as well as Couperie and Horn's on the History of the Comic Strip. (Ages ago, when those books first came out! I was only a young kid, but my parents were generous in providing me with the reading matter of my choice.)Along the way, when I was in art school and then grubbing a living afterwards, I had to sell those books, but the contents made a huge impression on me, and your detailing the Golden Age heroes such as AirBoy etc. has made this live again!Sorry for the length of this, but I want you to know that your podcasts resonated out here in the vast Internet!

      August 5, 2012 at 5:15 am |
  10. Gone ...

    All these Hollywood productions should have promoted a larger slice of the credit to Moebius. We missed out on
    a full scale animated Moebius movie. IMO Blade Runner was the 1st obvious influence. What an original artist and
    visionary! I'll miss the occasional Moebius surprises.

    March 13, 2012 at 11:50 am |