Jean Giraud, or Moebius, dies at 73; master comics artist
Moebius' signature became shorthand for singular and strange visions in comics. The French artist also contributed to the look of films such as 'Alien' and 'Tron.'
By Geoff Boucher, Los Angeles Times, March 11, 2012
Jean Giraud, an enduring figure in European comics whose fantasy and sci-fi work — which he signed with his alias, Moebius — deeply influenced alien-world imagery throughout pop culture, has died. He was 73.
Giraud died Friday night or Saturday morning after a battle with cancer, according to a statement from his publishing house, Dargaud, which went on to say the comics world had lost "one of its greatest masters."
In his native France, where for decades comics have attracted an older readership, Giraud is considered his country's most important figure in cartooning. His signature creation is "Les Aventures de Blueberry," the Old West saga that debuted in 1963 and followed a peripatetic U.S. Cavalry lieutenant nicknamed Blueberry. The final edition was published in 2005.
Former French Culture Minister Jack Lang told Reuters on Saturday that Giraud's legacy is a singular one. "Moebius has become a comic-book icon," Lang said. "In the '70s and '80s he was the figurehead of this unique art form in France."
In America, however, he is best known for his interstellar visions, which reached these shores in the monthly R-rated pages of "Heavy Metal," the English-language version of "Métal Hurlant," a magazine Giraud helped launch in 1975. He made it a brand name with characters such as Arzach, the silent figure who glides above alien canyons astride a great, leathery bird, and the cosmically surreal story of "The Airtight Garage."
The signature of Moebius became invested with a mystique and, like Federico Fellini in cinema, became shorthand for singular and strange visions in comics. The artist's famous fans included Fellini, George Lucas, James Cameron, Paulo Coelho, Stan Lee, Hayao Miyazaki and Ridley Scott.
Scott brought in the artist to contribute to the look of the 1979 space-horror classic "Alien," and Steven Lisberger, the writer-director of "Tron," sought him out to pin down the digital dreams of that pioneering 1982 Disney movie.
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Posted 12 March 2012 - 08:03 AM