Jean Giraud: Mobeius – A Tribute

Jean Giraud: Mobeius

A personal reflection on Jean Giraud (pen name Mobeius) the French artist who died yesterday. Back in the 1970’s when I was living in the Netherlands, I came across the fantastic work of Mobeius in a magazine called Metal Hurlant (Screaming Metal). Although the magazine was in French, and although my French language skills were not too brilliant, it didn’t deter me for buying the magazines as I loved the beautiful illustrations. In fact my favourite Mobeius character was ‘Arzach’, and there were no words, like a silent movie the pictures themselves narrated the story, words were not needed. Below is an example of an Arzach story.


PARIS — French comics artist Jean Giraud, known by fans from Hollywood to Japan as Moebius and the creator of unsettling, eye-opening fantasy worlds in print and on film, has died at 73.Publishing house Dargaud announced the death in a statement and hailed “one of the greatest artists of world comic art.” France’s Europe-1 radio said he died Saturday after a long illness, according to his family.

Mr. Giraud worked on several Hollywood films including “Alien,” “Tron” and “The Fifth Element” and was a co-founder of U.S. comics magazine Heavy Metal in 1975.Born in 1938, he first found success with the “Blueberry” western series in France in the 1960s before moving into science fiction. He worked under his real name as well as the pseudonym Gir but was best known as Moebius.

The hallucinogenic Western movie Blueberry (Renegade in the USA) was filmed by Jan Kounen starring Michael Madsen famous (for me) for it’s impressive and elaborate ‘ayahuasca’ scene complete with Shipibo icaros. A brief note: Jan Kounen contributed a foreword for the book I co-authored ‘The Ayahuasca Visions of Pablo Amaringo‘. Accordingly the art of Jean Giraud was influenced by his involvement in shamanism and  hallucinogenic plants, as this review from the Fondation Cartier describes;.

Trance as a Creative Process

Metamorphosis is not only to be found in the shape-shifting forms within the artist’s work or his alternative identities, but is also an essential part of the artistic process he has defined over the years. Following his two trips to Mexico in 1955 and 1965, he would develop new perspectives on his work. It was in Mexico that he first encountered the infinite horizons and extraordinary natural forms of the Mexican desert that would become an important part of his drawings from Blueberry to Arzach. In Mexico, he would also discover the shamanic culture of Native Americans and experiment for the first and only time with hallucinogenic mushrooms. This powerful experience would lead him to consider the trance as a creative process—a technique that would allow him to explore the strange and fantastical and to defy, within his drawings, the rules of nature and verisimilitude. For Moebius, the state of trance also has the potential to bring about metamorphosis.

Mobeius Official Website

Moebius - Arzach

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Moebius - Arzach

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Moebius - Arzach


Moebius - Arzach

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Moebius - Arzach

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Moebius - Arzach

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Moebius - Arzach

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Moebius - Arzach

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