Last week my personal hero, Jean “Moebius” Giraud, died at 73. There has never been a more singular influence in my work and career, and his passing has been deeply felt by the world of comics and pop art. While many in America may not recognize the name, Moebius has had a heavy hand in the direction of modern science fiction since the early 1970s, including Alien, Bladerunner and Tron. In the comics world he is best remembered for co-founding the magazine Metal Hurlant, gracing it with such legendary stories as Arzach and The Airtight Garage.
He has been a part of my life long before I knew his name. I remember picking up a monster magazine when I was 8 years old (as it had previews of the upcoming Batman cartoon), and on one of the pages was an image from Arzach, the iconic warrior atop his concrete pterodactyl. I didn’t understand what it was from at the time, but the picture stuck with me. Years later, when I was around 12 and the Sega Saturn was coming out, I saw in a store footage from the game Panzer Dragoon, which somehow reminded me of that image from years ago. I ended up getting it for Christmas and it became a massive influence in my artistic development, though at the time I had no idea that Moebius (whom I still did not know) had actually worked on this game as well!
It kept happening as I grew up, everything from Miyazaki’s film Nausicaa to all my favorite science fiction films, Moebius was there. By the time I discovered who he was as an adult, I decided it was time to make my own comic, namely Dresden Codak.
I’ve been having a difficult time expressing what he’s meant to me as an artist and a person, so I’ll leave it at this: there aren’t many artists who can change the direction of a person’s life, but Moebius was one of them for me, and the best way I can pay tribute to the decades of amazing art and storytelling is to keep making my own and hope it might one day reach people in the same way. Goodbye, Jean. You’re gone, but not forgotten. -AD