Jean Giraud and Mœbius
By Hervé St-Louis
March 13, 2012 - 10:35
Jean Giraud was a jerk. I know it’s supposed to be in bad taste to say negative things about the recently deceased, but the guy really was a jerk who once proclaimed loudly to Radio-Canada reporter Stéphane Bureau who had dared make a pilgrimage to his home, “I am a genius.” Better known in the United States for his collaboration with Stan Lee on a Silver Surfer comic book miniseries in the late 1980s, Mœbius was a science fiction force of nature in comics, who was also asked to work on films and set designs to lend his unique taste. The Fifth Element would probably be one of his best collaboration with the film industry.
As a comic book writer, Mœbius was null. He was not a good author. He really let the visuals take over and mesmerize audiences, but his plots were actually incoherent. But fans didn’t care; his delightful way for texturing his visuals with clear rounded lines and hints of biological elements was all that was needed. But Mœbius didn’t always draw this way. His Blueberry Western comic book contained the worst American cow boy clichés that the French usually adore. Jean Giraud changed named to Mœbius to illustrate his break with his old gritty style to a more flexible and organic tone where pastels coloured his work.
But when he partnered with others, his work really took off. His first associate was Belgian cartoonist Joseph Gillain (Jijé) a mainstay of the Journal de Spirou. With Belgian writer Jean-Michel Charlier, he created Lieutenant Blueberry, a western comic book that spanned several volumes. His best known collaborator is Chilean author Alejandro Jodorowsky with whom he created The Incal. Mœbius’ best known solo work is Arzach which changes spelling frequently. It’s one of those plotless stories where the main character silently travels in a weird world and crap happens. No word is uttered. It’s all silent. Thanks to his elaborate storytelling, the reader can easily follow the story through its fluid forms and permutations. But it’s all meaningless and really only fun when looking at the illustrations.
Mœbius was a founder of Les Humanoïdes Associés, the comic book publisher responsible for Métal Hurlant, the inspiration for Heavy Metal. The business was not a success and had to be rescued several times. Jean Giraud was born in France on May 8, 1938. He experimented with drugs and was good friends with Hayao Miyazaki. Jean Giraud and Mœbius passed away on Saturday March 10, 2012 at the age of 73-years-old. For more on Mœbius' legacy, check out fellow Comic Book Bin writer Dan Horn article.
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