Like most people with even a passing interest in illustration and/or science fiction, I was saddened to learn last week of the death of the legendary French comics artist Jean Giraud, better known as Moebius. I think I first encountered his work among the production designs for the movie Alien when I was in my early teens, and later I sought out all the comics, published sketchbooks and collections of his work that I could find. I’m not a big comics fan, and I don’t much like the actual stories of many of the Moebius strips I’ve read, but his drawing – especially his line work – is extraordinarily spare and vibrant, and his visual imagination is spectacular. (What a strange artistic establishment we have, that turns celebrity self-publicists like Tracey Emin and Damien Hirst into household names while dismissing a draughtsman of Moebius’s skill as just a comics guy…)
But although many people outside the world of fandom may not know his name, they would certainly recognise Moebius’s work. He had a huge influence on the way modern science fiction looks, working on, or at least inspiring, many of the trend-setting movies of the past few decades. And because product designers often take their cues from such movies, echoes of his visual ideas have crept into real life too.
Here’s a link to the best of the Moebius articles I read last week, on the Tor website (where I also pinched this version of Moebius’s print Stargazer from). It’s by the Bristol-based SF author Tim Maughan, who knows far more about all this than I do, and it recounts Moebius’s early career and explains how, via his work on the Greatest SF Movie Never Made, he changed the look of SF cinema for ever. Whether you’re a Moebius fan already or are coming to his work afresh, it’s well worth reading: Moebius – the Visionary’s Visionary.