Ralph McQuarrie last week and Moebius this week, I am not enjoying this trend. Unless you’re a big fan of cult artists, you probably aren’t aware of Moebius AKA Jean Giraud AKA Gir, who passed away March 10th at the age of 73. But I can guarantee that you’ve seen his work. In addition to inspiring the likes of Hayao Miyazaki (Spirited Away, Totoro, etc), Ridley Scott, and George Lucas, Moebius did concept art for Alien, The Abyss, Tron, Fifth Element, and more.
In 1974 Moebius cofounded a magazine called Métal Hurlant in France, which was copied in the US as Heavy Metal, and initially featured translated versions of the comics in Métal Hurlant. Heavy Metal became an animated anthology film in 1981 and it is bizarre and I love it. Not all of the segments work but the ones that do will definitely leave their mark. Especially if you’re a 12 year old that only just realized animation didn’t have to be for kids.
Moebius used different names for different projects. Moebius (or Mœbius if you know keyboard shortcuts) was primarily used for his sci-fi and fantasy projects (including a famous run on Marvel’s Silver Surfer) and the name Gir was used for his western series Blueberry (which was really big in Europe). In fact, he didn’t just change his name but would also change his style subtly for different projects, and it’s one of the reasons I always love seeing his work. His most common style has very realistic poses and motion but hints of cartoonish features, like his feet or somewhat under-developed faces (which lend themselves well to animation).
One of the things I recently learned about Moebius is that for a while in the 90s, he was working on an animated adaptation of his comic “Airtight Garage” that would have been directed by Katsuhiro Otomo (Akira) and produced by Akira Kurosawa (Seven Samurai and Yojimbo). Mind blown.
Io9 has a really nice selection of his work and some good links.