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JEAN “Moebius” GIRAUD – Part Six

Quality and Characteristics of his work
Sergio Aragonés
pointed out to me one day that everything in a Jean Giraud drawing has a function. If you built it, it would work. That’s just one small indication of how Giraud so thoroughly realized his worlds.

An example of Moebius' fine pen work

Technique: Pen & ink, Brush, Paint
Although Giraud became a master of every medium he touched, Jean primarily became known for his extraordinary skills with pen and ink as well as watercolor and gouache. Not surprisingly, considering his tendency to constantly challenge himself, he eventually became proficient with digital color as well. Jean’s line of serigraphs were especially striking.

Jean’s pen work could be breathtakingly simple or astonishingly complex. His line weight was always perfect for the subjects and styles he was depicting. The styles he selected to use were determined by whatever would most effectively tell the story at hand.

One of the most interesting gigs Jean ever landed was when he was approached to design an entire floor of the Metreon, a Sony-owned building in San Francisco, intended as the first of a proposed chain of urban entertainment centers. Each of the Metreon’s four floors was assigned to a different artist (one of the floors, for example, was devoted to Maurice Sendak).

Jean went the distance with this one. He was extremely hands-on with every detail. He chose all the paint colors for the various rooms and designed exquisitely sculpted bas-relief decorations for all the walls and doorways — he essentially designed every cubic inch of his floor. Giraud even designed his arcade’s video games. Visiting the Airtight Garage (Jean’s floor was named after a popular Moebius graphic novel) was like taking a trip inside Moebius’ head.

Sony was blown away by the detail of his designs for the Airtight Garage. They understood that Jean went far and above the call of duty on this one, way beyond what he was obligated to do in the job description. Knowing Jean’s love of the Old West, Sony purchased an unexpected bonus for him in appreciation of his extra efforts: they presented him with an original Frederic Remington painting.

Sadly, the Airtight Garage floor of the Metreon no longer exists. I thought it would be there forever. I wish I had done a thorough photo documentation of Jean’s amazing space.

5 thoughts on “JEAN “Moebius” GIRAUD – Part Six

  1. Okay the wealth of Moebius material here is making me wish I had a bunch of it collected in one place. So is there a best collection of Moebius’s art that anyone here would recommend? If not are there plans for one now that he’s gone?

  2. And if there isn’t a best volume of Moebius art would anyone care to recommend their top three?
    I’d very much appreciate it.

  3. Well, I guess if you don’t have the Pope as your patron your master works will be subject to lesser minds. Hey! Did Moebius design any churches?

  4. Aaron,

    Sadly there isn’t a lot of Moebius available and even less in print, not in English. Humanoids released three books over the last year or so but they are all sold out. There’s supposed to be another edition of the Madwoman of the Sacred Heart released soon but that’s not an art book. It sequential art provided by Moebius for the narrative provided by Alexandro Jodorowsky, in other words it’s what passes as a graphic novel. It’s good!
    So, finding a nice collection means digging through the secondary market. Moebius has a website but it’s in French. It does have some great books for sale and I hope Bill can recommend some. The newest Arzak is available there in three editions for their original prices in Euros (roughly trading at $1.60 per Euro). My library consists of a lot of out of print books I bought and traded for over the years but all of them are no longer in print. I have the new Arzak (in French) which features a nice overview of Arzak with a lot of gorgeous illustrations.
    As far as collections of just art? Marvel put out three, CHAOS, Metallic Memories and Fusion, in English, but they’re expensive now (it’s been a while since even seen the original French counterparts available anywhere). There’s also Starwatcher from Dargaud/Aedena and Made in L.A. from Casterman, both are in French and very expensive. Sometimes these books show up on eBay and they sell for a song or a steal. Keep looking and you might get lucky. There’s another book and it tends to be expensive but it’s an all art book of recent Blueberry art. Blueberry was a great Western comic strip that Jean Giraud worked on before his Moebius phase. However, the art in this book is both a homage to the characters in that earlier work but also has a nice artistically nuanced take on it. It has a brilliant blue cover with a small head image of Blueberry. It’s a gem of an art collection. It’s been overlooked a couple of times and I saw one sell for under $30, a steal compared to the prices it routinely sells for.
    On the horizon there are rumors of Taschen putting together a large volume but the same rumor also states it will be expensive like the Taschen “Ali” book. I hope there will be affordable editions if this sees the light of day.

  5. I’d go with Rick’s recommendations and add Venise Celeste. The translated collections Graphitti Designs put out were terrific, too, especially the limited signed editions.

    The Jimi Hendrix portfolio (I didn’t mention this in my tribute) is jawdropping — some of Giraud’s best work. I wonder if this was “official” (licensed through Experience Hendrix) or just published throwing caution (and legalities) to the wind. I am certain it now commands a high price.

    I had no idea the prices of all these book collections have skyrocketed so much! I bought them all as soon as they were published so, other than the premium of they’re being imports, paid pretty reasonable prices for them. What I’ve got on Jean fills two long bookshelves. He was incredibly prolific, as I have noted.

    Stuart Ng books is always a good source stateside for the work of Moebius. That’s where I purchased the last Arzack book.

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