Jean Henri Gaston Giraud (born May 8, 1938) is a French comics artist. Giraud has earned worldwide fame, not only under his own name but also under the pseudonym Moebius, and to a lesser extent Gir, the latter appearing mostly in the form of a boxed signature at the bottom of the artist’s paintings.
Jean Giraud was born in Nogent-sur-Marne, in the suburbs of Paris, in 1938. At 18, he was drawing his own comic strip, “Frank et Jeremie” for the magazine Far West. In 1961, Giraud became an apprentice of Jijé, one of the leading comic artists in Europe of the time, and collaborated on an album of Jerry Spring. In 1962 Giraud and writer Jean-Michel Charlier started the comic strip Fort Navajo for Pilote. It was a great hit and continued uninterrupted until 1974. The Lieutenant Blueberry character, created by Giraud and Charlier for Fort Navajo, quickly became its most popular character, and his adventures as told in the spin-off Blueberry, are possibly Giraud’s best known work in his native France. Giraud’s prestige in France – where comics are held in high artistic regard – is enormous; In 1988 Moebius was chosen, among 11 other winners of the prestigious Grand Prix of the Angoulême Festival, to illustrate a postage stamp set issued on the theme of communication. Under the names Giraud and Gir, he also wrote numerous comics for other comic artists like Auclair and Tardi.
Moebius has contributed storyboards and concept designs to numerous science fiction films. In 1982 he collaborated with director René Laloux to create the science fiction feature-length animated movie Les Maîtres du temps (released in English as Time Masters) based on a novel by Stefan Wul. In 1988 Moebius worked on the American comic character The Silver Surfer with Stan Lee for a special two-part limited series. Giraud is also known to be a friend of filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki. From December 2004 to March 2005, the two of them shared an exhibition at La Monnaie in Paris.
I don’t have much to say about Moebius as I haven’t read much of the stuff he’s worked on at all, shamefully. As I mentioned in one of the previous 70 AOB posts, my knowledge of European comics is sadly lacking when compared to what I know about the American or even Japanese variety. His linework is great, and his painted work is absolutely stunning. His Batman work (and his work in American comics in general) is quite limited, consisting of the pin-up at the top of the post and an 8-page story, examples of which can be seen above and below this paragraph. I can’t remember the circumstances, but this short story was intended for publication by DC as a bona fide Batman story until someone in the upper echelons nixed it, presumably due to its less than badass depiction of the Caped Crusader. The story was ultimately published by the Heavy Metal-inspired Penthouse Comix (which was related the smut magazine of the same name) in 1995 under the title “This Is Not A Batman Story”.
Thanks to Scott for the assist.