Ben Thompson


We Are Further Diminished

A week has gone by and we are faced with the loss of yet another giant in the illustration world. Jean “Moebius” Giraud passed away in Paris this morning at the age of 73.

His work spanned a variety of media and fans of all genres. His artwork would grace comic book page and movie screen alike, the uniqueness of his visions so complete that his style would be mimicked time and again. For American audiences this style would go on to define the look and feel of what we would come to recognize as a distinctly “French” feel to the line-work.

My very first introduction to Moebius’ work was the same as many of my generation: Heavy Metal Magazine. Though the magazine would go on to showcase the work of any number of European artists, it was Giraud’s pencil thin line-work that held my attention almost immediately. The organic shapes and the life given to every line were captivating. He conveyed the feeling of so much detail that despite the fantastical subject matter you were sure he was drawing something he had seen first hand.

I would go on to be confronted with Moebius’ work throughout my early career, without actually following or even owning a book containing a single line of his vast output. Even more startling was the realization that this man would become entwined with a number of movies that I devoured early on, largely because of their striking imagery. Some of these included: the first conceptual designs for Tron, Much of the Non-Organinc work of Alien, Costume designs for Masters of the Universe, alien and set designs for The Abyss, character and set designs for Willow (most of which were not used), the Imperial Probe Droid in The Empire Strikes Back, and just about everything you see in The Fifth Element.

Two of my own favorite worlds that leapt from the page under his skillful hand would be “The Incal” and its cast of surreal and dream like characters, and “Lieutenant Blueberry” with it’s more down to earth and gritty western motifs. These examples alone are a testament to the breadth of subject matter to which Giraud would lend his capable abilities, building depth into the stories not found in the words alone.

The list of artists and genres that have been influenced by his work in the decades past would be too great to count. It was typically through the work of others and his influence on them that I have come to more fully realize the creative weight his work has carried for the genre as a whole. Comics, Movies, and the Art World as a whole are smaller for his passing.

For myself I am left with a rather long list of books to find that I should likely have had on my reference bookshelf some time ago.

Bon voyage monsieur Giraud, I expect Heaven is about to get a complete re-design…

Official Website

all images: Jean “Mobeius” Giraud

A Moebius Portrait

Flight 2
Some 40 Days
Willow 2
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