We all lost one of the corners of the comic book sky last week: The magnificent Jean Giraud (also known as Moebius) has died. If you know him only as one of those two names, you’re missing half his career. Giraud, or “GIR” was probably the best illustrator of western comic books ever to pick up the pen, and Moebius was certainly the greatest illustrator of Science Fiction/Fantasy comic books of all time. Amazingly enough, they were both the same man, and both an incalculable influence on me since I can remember discovering ARZACH in high school, and Blueberry in college.
Besides losing a legendary comic artist, the world lost a lovely and whimsical human being when Jean passed away, and my first thoughts after I heard he was gone, were of a small moment I remembered from a meal we once shared. I share it now, with you.
It helps if you remember that MARRIED TO THE MOB was a Michelle Pfeiffer movie from the early 90s. I think it was out in the theatres when Jean made this joke.
Is this moment as important as the Airtight Garage, or The Incal or Metal Hurlant? I don’t know. But it was charming and human, and whimsical, and unwilling to be cross or annoyed at the world. And who doesn’t treasure that?
There are four postcards of Moebius’ doodles that are stuck in the wall near where I draw. They’ve been there for years. Here they are:
Those are the wee bits of Moebius that greet me every day in my studio. Charming, and human, and whimsical, and unwilling to be cross or annoyed at the world.
Ty the Guy OUT!
HERE NOW, BONUS TRIBUTE TIME:
This month has also seen the passing of Sheldon Moldoff and Ralph McQuarrie.
Sheldon Moldoff drew the Batman I first encountered…he was the guy I THOUGHT was Bob Kane when I was a very young kid, because Bob Kane was signing his name to all of Sheldon’s work.
I cannot tell you guys how much I LOVE the 50s and 60s Sheldon Moldoff version of Batman, with ACE, Batwoman, Bat-Mite and the Flying Batcave. I don’t see that stuff as corny or camp, I see it as the first version of Batman I ever saw, and my nostalgic affection for it is hard to hide.
Before there was ‘JOKER’S FIVE WAY REVENGE” and the dark, sombre Batman of Neal Adams and Denny O’Neil, we had “ROBIN DIES AT DAWN”, a comic that got under my skin and freaked me out when I was about six. I recall it as one of the first comic books that had an emotional affect on me, and it still holds a special place.
I also remember reading a Golden Age Hawkman story in a reprint book from the 70s and being surprised that Sheldon Moldoff USED to draw like Alex Raymond back in the 40s. Golden Age Hawkman stories became my Holy Grails. I looked for them everywhere, and copied the line work and textures.
I saw this stuff before I saw the REAL Alex Raymond…or even Eisner, or Fine. Moldoff was the first Golden Age artist I specifically remember seeking out…the first one to convince me there might have actually been a Golden Age.
STAR WARS borrowed heavily from many influences: E.C. Comics, John Carter novels, Flash Gordon serials and Moebius’ work in Metal Hurlant…but the one person most responsible for the look and feel of the movie of my lifetime was Ralph McQuarrie.
It started with his production paintings. They were leaked to the world in an article in STARLOG magazine a few months before the movie came out, and those paintings were enough to get my little legs scurrying to the movies the day it opened.
Sure, it’s the robot from Metropolis standing on John Carter’s Barsoom…but that’s what makes it GREAT! Ralph knew where this Star Wars movie was coming from, and where it was going, and he started it all with these paintings. For making our lives a little more fantastic, I thank you, sir.