18 Tips for Comic Book Artists by Jean “Moebius” Giraud: #12

12) Beware of the devastating influence of North American comic books.

…or the works of Frank Frazetta — or any other art that displays immediate, dazzling or hypnotic power on its surface. It’s easy to be seduced away from the development of your own style; you risk becoming just another clone of your hero. Study them like crazy, if you want — but also always try to look below the surface to see if their work has true depth and longevity. Frank’s stuff does, primarily because it’s so personal and is such a deep expression of him and who he is — but the work of most of the current lot of popular superhero artists will fall by the wayside in a few short years, as it just doesn’t have the depth or layers to sustain any amount of serious interest with anyone whose tastes have matured.

Jean “Moebius” Giraud occasionally delved into the world of mainstream superheroes.

His most famous collaboration in this genre was with Stan Lee for some Silver Surfer comics.

The mystical nature of the Silver Surfer was a good fit with Moebius.

Giraud also created a series of Marvel superhero pin-ups.

He never failed to put his own stamp on each character.

He saw and interpreted them all with fresh eyes.

The artists in Mexico (where I believe Giraud was speaking) seem to only study their surface effects: a little bit of anatomy mixed with dynamic compositions, monsters, fights, screaming and teeth.

I don’t know about you, but with me that stuff gets very boring, very quickly and looks painfully adolescent and unsophisticated. The over-the-top agonized expressions on the faces of so many of these overly-muscled superheroes make it seem to me as if they’re suffering from terminal constipation, as if they’re straining to force out the world’s largest stool. I find such stuff embarrassing.

I like some of that stuff too, but there are many other possibilities and expressions that are also worthy of exploration.

Discovering and experimenting with those alternate forms of expression is what ultimately separates the men from the boys.

Here are some of Jean’s other forays into the worlds of superheroes:

Even Jean’s pictures of superheroes are always thoughtful, beautifully designed and hauntingly classy.

Next: Music and Drawing

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