This weekend, the comics world lost one of its iconic figures — and the science-fiction movie world one of its greatest influences — with the passing of Jean Giraud. Better known by his pen name of “Moebius,” Giraud was France’s best-known comics artist, and helped inspire the design of many sci-fi movies including Ridley Scott’s films Alien and Blade Runner, Terry Gilliam’s Brazil, and Luc Besson’s The Fifth Element. “Moebius is to comic books what Miles Davis is to jazz: the master,” Besson once said. According to the Los Angeles Times, Giraud died on Friday night or Saturday morning after a battle with cancer. He was 73.
Giraud was born in France in May 1938 and, in his 20s, made his reputation with the Old West saga Les Aventures de Blueberry, penned by Jean-Michel Charlier. In 1974, the artist launched the adult sci-fi and fantasy comics anthology Métal Hurlant, which was published here as Heavy Metal. Moebius’ detailed, intricate artwork would have a massive, and lasting, influence on the science-fiction genre from Alien, for which he supplied concept designs, to the novels of cyberpunk novelist William Gibson. “I was having lunch with Ridley (Scott),” cyberpunk novelist William Gibson once wrote. “And when the conversation turned to inspiration, we were both very clear about our debt to the Métal Hurlant school of the ’70s — Moebius and others.”
For more on Jean Giraud’s life and influence, check out the documentary, Moebius Redux: A Life in Pictures.