TheButcher wrote:From Funnybook Babylon: Re-Coloring Moebius
Warren Ellis wrote:I’d have liked to see someone put the work of French writer/artist Philippe Druillet in front of Jack Kirby. I try to do it now, holding the pages in front of the robotic head of Jack Kirby, but it’s damp in Britain and there’s little viridian flecks of moss growing on his eyeballs. I think he would have seem himself in Druillet’s LONE SLOANE pages, if not necessarily in Druillet’s exegetic, excruciating LA NUIT.
In a 1979 interview, George Lucas explicitly cited Druillet — but not Kirby — as a visual influence on STAR WARS. Publicity images for the latter three films in that sequence (which I’ve never seen) look like photographic versions of character designs from Druillet’s SALAMMBO. But Darth Vader exudes the stench of Darkseid, and those huge spacegoing wedges could easily be Kirby’s. I like to think they would have found something to talk about. More than Kirby or Phil Dick would have found to talk about, even though — because? — they both clearly mythologised themselves a little bit in their later years. (Kirby, on the subject of his mother: “She was full of legends…she used to dramatise everything…”)
Druillet was already doing New Gods, five years before Kirby’s NEW GODS. And more, he was doing the postmodern, deconstructed version, Kirby with gravemoss grown over him and his towers and starships, designing STAR WARS ten years before Lucas had beaten out the first awful draft of the film (the one whose treatment begins “The is the story of Mace Windu, a revered Jedi-bendu of Ophuchi who was related to Usby C. J. Thape, a padawaan leader to the famed Jedi.”). Druillet’s work is the mystery ancestor to the mad French architect Francois Roche, who has designed buildings specifically intended to necrotise and rot. I met him recently – we were interviewed together for ICON magazine, an architecture journal – and stood stunned and fascinated as he described his “strategies of sickness” for this building he was projecting on a big screen, his “Thing That Necroses.” On completion of a building, Roche hires a writer to produce a piece of (science) fiction about it, in order to control the story and render it impermeable to critics. As if to say, the criticism is not the story, this is the story.
LONE SLOANE features a mysterious character called Kurt Kurtsteiner. Kurt Wargar and Kurt Steiner were two pseudonyms of the French science fiction writer Andre Ruellan. Ruellan once wrote a novel called LE 32 JUILLET (JULY 32nd) in which the protagonist finds himself within an extradimensional city that is in fact the innards of a vast animal, a suppurating organic city that is trying to digest him.
The head of Jack Kirby gnaws on the end of the Dominican cigar I’ve given him because I’m sick of wasting my expensive Romeo Y Julietas on the complaining bastard and tells me that he knows about architecture too. He designed vast architectural conceits for a theme park to be based on sf writer Roger Zelazny’s novel LORD OF LIGHT via an intended film adaptation by one Barry Geller. Kirby said the project would be “very valuable to humanity.” Neither film nor park were ever made. But Kirby’s design sheets were lifted by the CIA and used as part of an elaborate stunt to free six American citizens during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis.
The head of Jack Kirby smirks. “I am a concept man,” he says to me (he said it to Barry Geller). “I can get to the nut of a story.” He knows everything connects through him. He sees the nut of the story.
Somewhere, Francois Roche is thinking about designing a theme park inside a vast artificial stomach that very slowly digests the buildings and the people. There will be Science, and Fiction. He is happy.
Mark Frauenfelder wrote:
Jean Giraud's stunning cartoons scan like movies.
"The Long Tomorrow" could have been the prototype for Blade Runner. His designs have appeared in Tron, Alien, and The Abyss.
But attempts to turn his stories into movies have always fallen through. Until now.
"The Airtight Garage" is headed for the big screen, produced by legendary Japanese filmmaker Kurosawa and animated by the people who brought you Akira.
By Mark Frauenfelder
Will next year be remembered as the year that French comic book artist Moebius finally conquered America? Will kids get to cruise in spaceships across his frozen, ochre planet-scapes, courtesy of their neighborhood location-based-entertainment theme park? Will moviegoers have the opportunity to groove on the cool computer effects of his animated The Airtight Garage? Will they recognize Moebius as the same artist who gave them the space suits in Alien, the characters in The Abyss, and the designs in Tron?
Maybe. Jean Giraud - aka Moebius - is widely recognized in Europe as the gifted creator of surrealistic western, science fiction, and fantasy comics, but he's practically unknown in the US, except among the discrete group of adults who read comic books. Giraud has tried several times to make a movie, but he hasn't been able to break his run of bad luck.
If creative genius were all it took to make a movie, Giraud would have made one long ago. He is regarded by many critics as the artist who changed the look of science fiction, not only in comic books but in films as well. "Moebius was a major precursor in gritty, ground-level science fiction. Before Moebius, science fiction was glistening starships," says Kim Thompson, co-publisher of Fantagraphics, the Seattle comic book company responsible for the brilliant Love & Rockets, Eightball, and Hate. "Graphically, his work was a revolution. Moebius is one of the few European cartoonists who's big in the US, because he funneled a lot of American influences into his comics."
"The Long Tomorrow," a story written by Dan O'Bannon and drawn by Giraud that appeared in the French magazine Metal Hurlant in 1977, has a dystopic urban feel that can be described in two words: Blade Runner. No wonder Giraud has helped to flesh out the visions of movie directors Ridley Scott and Jim Cameron.
Moebius's first opportunity to make his own picture came when he teamed up with Chilean filmmaker Alexandro Jodorowski to create an adaptation of Dune (not related to the DeLaurentis/David Lynch disaster of the same name). The money for Dune ran out somewhere between the time Giraud finished designing the sets and characters and the time cameras were supposed to roll. His next project, Starwatcher, was slated to be the first feature- length animated movie to be made with 3-D computer graphics. But the film's producer died in a car accident, and shortly thereafter it was discovered that the French production company bankrolling the film was FF85 million (US$15 million) in debt. (Many suspected the car accident was no accident.)
Then, in 1990, Soyuzmultfilm, a Russian animation studio, announced that it was bringing one of Giraud's most famous comic book stories, "The Airtight Garage," to the screen. But when the Soviet Union dissolved, so did the movie deal. It seemed that Giraud just couldn't crack the movie nut. Now, independent movie maker Philippe Rivier wants to change that.
In the '60s, in a provincial town in the south of France, young Rivier would queue up behind the rest of the villagers making their weekly pilgrimage to Nimes's magazine store. They were all waiting to buy the latest copy of Pilote, in which the new chapter of Jean Giraud's Lieutenant Blueberry awaited them. Giraud's weekly comic strip, scripted by Michel Charlier, told the story of a US Cavalry lieutenant in the Wild West. Completely unlike the American comic books of the day, it aimed to imitate motion pictures, because, as Giraud explains, "for my generation, pictures, especially American pictures, were synonymous with culture, total art, philosophy."
Lieutenant Blueberry remains his most popular work, based on unit sales of books, but after a decade of drawing in a conventional genre and style, Giraud felt that his personal expression was being cramped: "I was looking for something that would allow me to maintain contact with another universe." That something was a radical departure from drawing cowboys and Indians on the Great Plains. "All of a sudden, in the late '60s and early '70s, I discovered the American underground, Robert Crumb, and all that jazz, and I felt 'the times, they were a-changing,' and consequently, I found my own personal way of expression through Moebius."
In 1975, Giraud and a couple of other experimental French cartoonists started a magazine called Metal Hurlant (republished in the US as Heavy Metal). It was in Metal Hurlant that French readers - and movie directors around the world - discovered not only a fine storyteller and cartoonist, but an artistic genius. By the '80s, Giraud was creating sets and costumes for motion pictures, and in 1985 he was awarded the highest French award for cultural and artistic achievement by President Francois Mitterand.
Now, twenty-five years after the cool summer mornings spent reading Blueberry on the sidewalk in front of the newsstand, Philippe Rivier is seeing one of his dreams come true. Rivier has picked up the pieces that the Russians dropped and has signed on to produce The Airtight Garage as an animated feature. "It's a treat to be working with somebody with such an incredible imagination, because it makes you realize that all the little parts of life that you think are so important don't matter that much," says Rivier. He says that he has secured the US$20 million production budget, and that a famous rock group (rumored to be U2) will provide the soundtrack.
This might be the start of another sad "Moebius can't make a movie" story if it weren't for Kurosawa Enterprises USA, which has hooked up with Rivier and Starwatcher Graphics (Giraud's US corporation) to produce The Airtight Garage. Kurosawa is working on securing a worldwide distribution deal, and is supporting the animation production in Japan.
Japanese film master Akira Kurosawa and French comic master Moebius make a complementary team. Giraud started out making Western comics and then moved into science fiction. Kurosawa directed Seven Samurai and Yojimbo, which became the basis for two world-famous westerns: The Magnificent Seven and A Fistful of Dollars. His film The Hidden Fortress foreshadowed the plot of Star Wars.
Rivier says that one reason he was so excited to have animation buff Kurosawa involved with the movie project was that the director has access to Japanese animators. The Starwatcher movie never got past a six-minute demo because nobody involved in the project realized how expensive it was to make a full-length movie using only high quality 3-D computer graphics. This time around The Airtight Garage will use a combination of traditional cel animation and computer animation. The cel animation will be done in Japan under the direction of Katsuhiro Otomo, whose animated feature Akira was a huge hit in Japan and a cult classic in the United States. Like Giraud in his cinematic approach to comics, "Otomo uses traditional cinematography techniques for animation," says Rivier. "His angles and camera movement look like real life movies." The computer animation will be done in the United States. Though Rivier says he's been talking with Jim Cameron at Digital Domain, they haven't chosen a studio yet.
The move from making comic books based on western movies to making science fiction movies based on comic books is just one of many odd, circular trips Giraud has taken. His definition of the Wild West sounds like a description of cyberspace: "It's about the contact with nature, not completely primeval but not yet under the control of man; it's about technology that is already impressive but retains its human dimension; it's about the forces of government trying to exercise pressure but failing."
Giraud is optimistic that finally his movie will be made. If all goes well The Airtight Garage will be in full production by the time you read this, and released by Christmas of 1995. "This is like a dream about to come true, because I have been wanting to make this film for quite a few years now. But the truth is, it would have been difficult to do it the way I envisioned, because the computer technology was not available yet. I am now hopeful that we'll be able to create the kind of striking and powerful images and effects that I hope to employ in faithfully conveying the universe of The Airtight Garage."
If Giraud's movie hopes come to fruition, an interactive version of The Airtight Garage universe might appear on our planet as well. Avatar Partners, the virtual reality development company from Boulder Creek, California, that makes the financial product vrTrader, is planning to develop a family of virtual reality games based on the film. Their ambitious project includes home games (for Sega, 3DO, IBM, and the upcoming Nintendo/SGI gamebox), tele-games in which people play in a graphical MUD, and a location-based environment. Peter Rothman, president of Avatar, plans to develop the games parallel to the movie's production and to incorporate computer animation developed for the movie into the games.
Giraud is familiar with the computer as an artistic tool. His first experience with digital art was his work on Tron. "Later I began experimenting with my son's Amiga system, and eventually I learned how to do real artwork using paint box programs."
Giraud views the computer art process as a "form of pure graphic expression. I personally am fascinated by its seemingly direct link with the unconscious mind. I've noticed that, after a while, you start using the computerized tools like a sleepwalker. You travel half-consciously through its infinite and incredibly flexible range of forms and colors for hours and hours, without an actual pen, brush, or a tube of paint. You can enter an unbelievably complex domain, where you can break a picture, take it apart, change it, put it back together, start it all over. Computers make artistic expression and the expression of the unconscious mind one and the same thing. A true artist doesn't become warped or lost because of this infinity of possibilities, because he learns to recognize, to feel the moment when his true oeuvre has emerged and is there."
As much as he enjoys using computers, Giraud is not about to throw away his brushes and Bristol board. "There are still some forms of pleasure derived from putting a pen to paper that you can't yet get from working on a computer."
Giraud will surely derive some pleasure from making the film version of The Airtight Garage; but it has also become a matter of spiritual survival. Of his prior experience with the film industry, Giraud says, "I discovered that people who make movies regard filmmaking almost as a matter of life and death. They feel they're going to die if they don't make their films. I am starting to understand that."
TheButcher wrote:Too bad this never happened.
Kevin Mahadeo wrote:War, what is it good for? For comic book readers, the answers is high-octane action, commentary on the human condition and reality television taken to the extreme as seen in the upcoming miniseries "Cyclops" by writer Matz and artist Luc Jacamon.
Originally published as a French graphic novel in 2006 by Casterman, "Cyclops" finally makes its way to American audiences by way of Archaia, who previously brought over the duo's first collaboration together "The Killer." The publishing company announced the news Friday at its All Access panel at Comic-Con International in San Diego and plans to release the first issue of the miniseries in Spring 2011. Taking place approximately fifty years in the future, the story follows Douglas Pistoia as he finds himself drafted into a war where soldiers wear cameras that broadcast their actions all across the globe. As Pistoia continues to rise higher and higher in rank, he begins making decisions and following orders that soon bring into question his own humanity. The graphic novel delves into ideas behind the privatization of war and the evolution of the entertainment industry as reality TV continues to progress into stranger and more unusual territory - but the title mainly tells a very human story about how much it costs to lose one's self.
The Creative Talent Network (CTN), one of the entertainment industry’s most exclusive communities for top talent artists in the film and animation industries presents in a US exclusive appearance the multi-faceted legendary author and comic strip artist Jean Giraud "Moebius" in “An Evening with Moebius” held on November 20 in Burbank CA.
Internationally recognized, Jean Giraud's work has profoundly influenced the worlds of science fiction, animation, publicity, 3D imagery and video games for over thirty years. His drawings have also attracted the attention of great filmmakers including Luc Besson’s 5th Element, James Cameron’s Abyss, Steven Lisberger’s Tron and Ridley Scott’s Alie among many others.
Like the Moebius strip, whose two ends fold together to form a one-sided loop, the artist sees his identity as dual. Known as both Gir and Moebius these dual pseudonyms reflect his own shifting artistic identity resulting in a variety of fully realized styles, from the detailed realism of Blueberry, to the dreamlike drawings of Arzach.
Having not been in the United States for over 15 years "An Evening with Moebius" is a rare exclusive opportunity to see and hear from this internationally recognized artist. Now less than 70 days away this once in a lifetime opportunity with limited seating is designed to promote a "special event" atmosphere that includes moderated interview, presentation, drawing demonstration along with surprise special guests. All attendees are invited to the after hours cocktail party directly following the event. Only one US appearance. Tickets $75.00.
An Evening With Moebius
Special event and cocktail reception
Saturday Nov 20th, 2010 - 8pm
Reservations available at: http://www.regonline.com/ctnx2010
Burbank Convention Center
2500 Hollywood Way
1-800-604-2238 (USA Toll Free)
1-818-667-3224 (USA Local)
Moebius is coming. There are few living illustrators whose name possesses a true mystique, and near the top of that list is Jean Giraud, a.k.a. Moebius, the 78-year-old artist whose work has rippled throughout pop culture and influenced several generations of filmmakers and comic-book artists – as well as fashion designers, musicians, video-game creators and pop artists of every stripe. He also worked for Hollywood with memorable concept or design contributions to “Alien,” “Tron,” “The Abyss“ and “The Fifth Element.” The French creator hasn’t been stateside in more than a decade and a half, but on Nov. 20 he is a featured speaker at the CTN Animation Expo, a three-day event at the Burbank Convention Center. We caught up with a key expo organizer, Tina Price, via e-mail to talk about the international visitor and the event as it goes into its second year.
the fondation cartier pour l'art contemporain presents an exhibition devoted to the work of
french comics artist jean giraud, more commonly known by his pseudonyms moebius and gir.
'moebius-transe-forme' is the first major show in paris dedicated to giraud's contribution to
the graphic medium, chronicling his earlier work to his more progressive delineation that often goes
beyond the traditional boundaries of the discipline. presented in an impressive collection of
original notebook sketches, comic book panels, paintings, unpublished drawings as well as
an animated film, the exhibition explores the theme of metamorphosis, an overriding motif present
in the artist's body of work.
TheButcher wrote:HERO COMPLEX EXCLUSIVE
Moebius on his art, fading eyesight and legend: ‘I am like a unicorn’
For his fans, the man called Moebius could never live up to the mystery conjured up by that name. Like Houdini or Hendrix, Fellini or Frazetta, the 72-year-old French artist’s name has become supercharged by the unreal, which has made it disconcerting to see him sipping from a beige coffee cup in a hotel room near the Burbank Airport while a maid attempted to lug her vacuum cleaner through the doorway. “We need a moment,” the artist said with a Parisian bow of the chin and an apologetic smile. “It’s time to talk about art.”
The name on his passport is Jean Giraud and he was born in May 1938 (just one month before Superman arrived in a small rocket from another planet in the pages of “Action Comics” No. 1) and he has long been regarded as the most important cartoonist of his country. That phrase, however, falls wildly short of capturing the essence of his career and breadth of his influence through comics, book covers, paintings and movie work. As filmmaker Ridley Scott said last year of the Moebius influence on contemporary sci-fi film: “You see it everywhere, it runs through so much you can’t get away from it.” Perhaps, but the artist is still caught off guard by the breathless reception he gets these days. In late November, Giraud made a relatively rare visit to the U.S. to speak at the Creative Talent Network Animation Expo and again and again he was approached by fans and younger professionals who gushed.
“They said that I changed their life,” Giraud whispered in amazement. “‘You changed my life.’ ‘Your work is why I became an artist.’ Oh, it makes me happy. But you know at same time I have an internal broom to clean it all up. It can be dangerous to believe it. Someone wrote, ‘Moebius is a legendary artist.’ I put a frame around me. A legend — now I am like a unicorn.”
The affable artist has been enjoying a surge of affection in his home country, too, with the large and lavish exhibit at Fondation Cartier Pour L’Art Contemporain recently staged in Paris. The collection features enormous pieces — entire walls have been given over to the artist’s oddly serene images, which veer from Old West frontiers that Sergio Leone would find welcoming as well as fantastic beasties that seem to roam the dream-time landscapes bordered by the imaginations of Winsor McCay and Rene Magritte. Also Moebius has just returned to his most famous fantasy character, Arzak, the traditionally tight-lipped traveler who, after 36 years of gliding in silence, speaks for the first time in the hardcover comic book ”Arzak: L’Arpenteur” (which has yet to be translated for the English-reading audience).
The recognition is plainly pleasing to Giraud but bittersweet realities tug at the corners of his smile. He is dealing with profound vision problems and finds that the time devoted to his true love, writing and drawing comics, is diminishing as he uses his hours to paint the large commission pieces that sell for tens of thousands of dollars. And though he has enjoyed some memorable success in Hollywood (he was responsible for design elements in “Tron,” “The Fifth Element“ and Scott’s “Alien“) he looks back on his work with film as a sour reminder of what could have been if timing, geography and luck had worked in his favor. He relates all of this things with a wink and a shrug.
“After all the years I have a problem with my eyes. In my left eye I have the cataract. They took my eye out, they took it to a shop. They did the sort of sushi chef stuff to it” — here he does a chopping-board pantomime — “and they put it back and now it is special. It is like the Terminator and his android eye. The vision in my left eye is different in the right eye and it is very difficult to have the skill I had. The computer is very good for me, I can magnify my work very easily. With the painting, it is very expensive there are a lot of people who want to have my stuff. The level of price increases every year. It is a better, for me, way of life. But with my eye it is not that easy.”
Giraud was born in the Paris suburb of Nogent-sur-Marne and by 18, with little formal training, his cowboy adventure tales were being published in the pages of Far West magazine. In his early 20s, he became the apprentice of the Belgian artist Jijé, best known for his work on “Spirou et Fantasio” and the western adventure comics series “Jerry Spring.” Giraud worked on one of the ”Jerry Spring” books and the experience clearly informed his first signature creation, Blueberry, the Old West wanderer who first appeared on Halloween 1963. The stories of Michael “Blueberry” Donovan — a Southerner framed for murder who rides the range and fights against bigotry despite (or because of) his heritage –were written by Jean-Michel Charlier until his death in 1990 when his longtime collaborator took on both the writing and art chores.
“I started in 1957 when I sold my first story to a magazine,” he said. “It’s impossible to count how many stories I did, how many pages. But there have not been very many characters. I have just six, you know, and a lot of it started with Blueberry.”
The western still holds a special place in the heart of Giraud — he could barely, for instance, contain his excitement about the release of the Coen brothers film “True Grit” — and in his native country the long, lonesome ride of Lt. Blueberry is regarded by many as the defining work. But while the realistic frontier tales gave him a compelling storytelling outlet, his imagination was restless to explore strange new vistas. That led to the 1960s adoption of the pen-name Moebius (as well as a third identity, Gir).
“In the beginning I had two different levels,” Giraud said. “To be an artist in comics because it was my dream as a teenager and when I was 7, 8, 10. I was such a fan. I committed already to drawing. The comics were not only stories to enjoy for me they were drawings that possessed me. I saw very early on the difference with my friends. They were using comics like a book but to me I saw a drawing exposition. The purpose was different for us, the experience was not the same. The second level for me, another side – which would maybe be my Moebius face – was the other wonderful art I was discovering with a lot of appetite. The expression of art as something bigger than life, bigger than anything. There was something very mysterious about that and beautiful. It was a kind of heaven with Picasso and everybody at the same table. I wanted to be part of that. For me it was a feast through the ages. Timeless.”
At that point, though, there were frustrations with the divides between the hard-bordered world of comics and the judgmental canvas of the art world.
“There was a new generation of comic book artists in America and Europe [coming up in the 1960s and 1970s] and we wanted to connect the ambitions of art and comics,” Giraud said. “[To combine] the dream of being artists and the culture and traditions of doing comics. We wanted to put art in comics and comics into art and then send it to the audience. Into the dream, that was the dream of painting and drawing and doing everything. But especially the painting. I started trying to be a traditional painter with brush. I never started with oil. I’m not really completely traditional but with the brush I wanted to do something almost the same, to imitate oil with the brush and after that with acrylic and after that with watercolor. Always it was about color. The color for me is so very important. It is part of my open dream in art, not only in comics. In the 1970s, I made a bridge between the two things.”
The 1970s brought Giraud a strange new character, an odd fellow with a strange, tall hat and a great winged beast. ”I did the first Arzak in 1977. It was very strange. We were creating the magazine Heavy Metal – in France it was Screaming Metal, Metal Hurlant – and we wanted to change everything. We wanted to be completely original and bizarre. That story was in the first issue and the next four after that. I didn’t myself know what I was doing. I just wanted it to be different. It was mute. It had no story, almost, and it was strange in the situations and the background. When it was finished it came out as a book … and it was like the stone in ’2001: a Space Odyssey,’ the monolith, and it gave me a specific energy through all those years…the first one had no story so everything was possible with it I did a lot of posters, pictures, drawings, all of this guy with this guy with the strange hat and that bird.”
Two years ago, Moebius was eager to return to the storyteller mode with a new comic book epic. He put pencil to paper in search of a new face but the sketch lines on the page took him back to an old friend. ”I was looking for a new character. But I didn’t want to do a new character, not really, or I was not sure. So it came back to Arzak. The question then was it possible to redo Arzak as the mute and I said no. The time is now to give life and to incarnate him. Before it, the first stories, it was like watching from a distance with difficulty, there’s much that was not known. To find his voice I had to build the world around him, the context, where, why, how — all of those questions and the answers give to Arzak his position.”
He said there may be more to come. “In the first book with Arzak I tried to do a story where possibilities were open and the doors were not closed too much. It was a moment, not a story. The world and the stories are built around what has come before. I want to create a house not a box. I cannot tell you where he’s going, but I can tell you it will be great. My pleasure is to do the stories. I am a storyteller. I must manage between the pleasure and the work. It is also a pleasure for me to do the paintings but is different. I try to make time for both.” Then his head tilted in consternation and he turned to an interpreter who helped him find the phrase he wanted. “A balance,” he said with an expression of exaggerated defeat.
With an eye to the 1960s and America, when Marvel comic books were crackling with the creations of Jack Kirby, Giraud said he was most intrigued by the work of R. Crumb and the underground movement that was taking the storytelling traditions of comics and using them for startling expressions of self and wonderfully subversive commentary on the world beyond the page. With a confessional whisper he added that he was not a man of the times when it came to mind expansion. “I did mushrooms in 1964, I did them only once. It was very violent on my stomach. It was not comfortable. There was psychic adventure for others but for me there was no comfort.”
Giraud met Kirby once near the end of the artist’s life and “it was a very warm meeting, I was a very big fan, of course,” and the French admirer famously took on one of the American icon’s creations for the 1988-89 Marvel miniseries “The Silver Surfer: Parable.” It was a landmark moment for Marvel Comics and even popped up as a random topic in the submarine-crew dialogue of the film ”Crimson Tide,” much to the delight of Giraud. “I was glued to my seat in the theater, I can tell you,” he said with a vigorous laugh.
Filmmaking and Hollywood have been elusive for Giraud and he can tick off the failures and fizzled adaptations. Even the successes were limited.
“‘Tron’ was not a big hit,” he said of the 1982 film that recently yielded a sequel that again used his design work as a starting point for some of its digital creations. “The movie went out in theaters in the same week as ‘E.T.’ and, oh, that was a disaster for it. There was also ‘Blade Runner’ and ['Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan'] that summer so it was a battle of giants. ‘Tron’ was a piece of energy trying to survive. It is still alive. It survives. And the new movie is what Steven wanted to do back then but at that time CG was very odd and we were pioneers. I almost did the first computer-animated feature after that, it was called ‘Star Watcher,’ we had the story, we had the preparation done, we were ready to start. But it came apart; the company did not give us the approval. It was too far, the concept to do everything in computer animation. We were waiting, waiting, and then our producer died in a car accident. Everything collapsed. That was my third contribution to animation and my worst experience.”
In 1982, Giraud and director René Laloux released the feature-length animated movie “Les Maîtres du Temps” (released in English as “Time Masters“) based on a Stefan Wul novel. The artist winces at the mere mention of the project. “It’s a strange story, it’s a small movie, and cheap — incredibly cheap –it was more than independent. When I saw the film for the first time I was ashamed. It’s not a Disney movie, definitely. But because the movie has, maybe a flavor, a charm, it is still alive after all that time. More than 35 years now and it is still here.”
The artist says he finds it hard to retrace his steps and he nodded toward his wife and business partner, Isabelle Giraud, leaning over a laptop computer nearby.
“She says I exist because I always do something new, but many people they exist because they do something that is always the same,” Giraud said. “It is a kind of a performance to always stay; the audience sees them and admires it because they remind them of the past and they seem to always stay young, stay strong, stay active. The purpose of transformation is not for everyone.” A musical analogy was offered; Bob Dylan continues to push and experiment and revamp his music and persona instead of trying to stay forever young, while the Rolling Stones tour with all the familiar hits as a tenacious declaration that, no matter what the calendar says, time is on their side. “Yes, that it is. The Rolling Stones keep their audience and new ones come in and understand it. Their career is a piece of art. Dylan has pieces all over and it’s a diffused audience and there are chapters to him.”
The man they call Moebius trailed a finger along the brow above his healthier eye. “I have no explanation but I am interested in being alive. No, seriously, staying alive for an artist means to always be in an unknown part of himself. To be out of himself. The exhibition in Paris, the theme was transformation. Art is the big door but real life is a lot of small doors that you must pass through to create something new. You don’t always need to go far. If you are in the space station Mir and you need to fix something, you go outside, but not too far. If you travel too far you’ll die. Outer space is not human but you can visit. You need to be a little bit out there but you need to stay close to human.”
– Geoff Boucher
Andy Khouri wrote:Moebius -- aka Jean Giraud -- is an illustrator whose work we've discussed at relatively great length here at ComicsAlliance. Described by our own David Brothers as "your favorite artist's favorite artist," Moebius is best known around the world for his beautiful works like The Incal, The Airtight Garage, Arzach, Blueberry and, of course, Silver Surfer: Parable, which he collaborated on with Stan Lee. The beloved 1998 story is one of just a handful of projects Moebius has created within mainstream American comics. While few in number and mainly taking the form of covers or pin-ups, each image of American superheroes and comic book icons the master sends into our orbit is memorably beautiful.
Humanoids is preparing to release this week a new hardcover collection of The Incal, one of Moebius' most sought after and long out-of-print European works (created with Alejandro Jodorowsky). Hopefully it will be the first of many such reprints of Moebius' largely out-of-print English editions. We'll have more on The Incal later, but for now we thought it was a good time to assemble some of the artist's unique interpretations of some very familiar icons to prepare you for that gorgeous book and also just because these are awesome.
Rich Johnston wrote:We respectfully ask the estate of Jean Giraud, aka MŒBIUS, to authorize the publication of English-language editions of his comics by HUMANOIDS PUBLISHING, FANTAGRAPHICS BOOKS, or any other suitable English-language publisher that shows interest.
Craig Fischer writes on behalf of the Moebius USA Petition Facebook page.
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