Jean "Moebius" Giraud, the brilliant and uber-influential French graphic artist/comic book auteur has died. This is a huge bummer. His sci-fi visions influenced filmmakers and fans alike, and his Western work is legendary. He just had such a huge imagination and such a clean yet personal style, sparse yet voluptuous, his panels and pages blow open the doors of the reader's imagination.
Tom Spurgeon has the best obit I've yet seen. Just one selection, about his name and Heavy Metal magazine (the American import of Metal Hurlant, how I came upon his work:
Giraud created the powerful "Moebius" handle for the loose, satirical work he had done for the magazine Hara-Kiri in the early to mid-1960s. He simply liked the name, and didn't even know if it referred to a person with whom he might have to share the appellation. In 1975 he resuscitated the name for the new group he co-founded Les Humanoides Associes and their magazine Metal Hurlant. Described by Giraud as a natural reaction to a groundswell of storytelling from comics-makers that had no natural place to put this material -- you can see precedents in some of the short stories Giraud did for Pilote just proceeding these newer comics -- and therefore needed to create a new press to do so, all in the tradition of the French avant garde. That magazine would become the home of two of Giraud's best-remembered series, Arzach and The Airtight Garage. Giraud would later describe the revolution driven by his work and others as one of creative choice rather than content, that the feeling of the artist inhabiting the work was more important than the kind of work being done. He drew a connection to the undergrounds and cartoonists like Robert Crumb, although he felt that the work of he and his peers existed in an entirely different cultural context.
Even his one Silver Surfer story, with Stan Lee scripting, is legendary:
He will be missed.