40 Days Dans Le Désert “B” / 40 Days In The Desert “B” (1999) Stardom/Moebius Production 24 x 16cm, 72 pages
40 Days Dans Le Désert “B” (40 Days In The Desert “B”) is a wordless, dreamlike masterpiece told in 70 beautiful drawings. The story revolves around a shamanic figure (also known as the Techno-Boudha) seated alone in the middle of a featureless desert landscape who whilst sitting in deep meditation is visited by many supernatural visions and soon the protagonist (and reader) are taken on a surreal transformative journey. The “40 days” in the title of this work is an allusion to the number of days and nights that the Abrahamic prophet Jesus (or Isa) is said to have spent fasting in the desert wilderness whilst resisting temptation.
Moebius executes a tour de force in glorious highly detailed draughtsmanship on every millimetre of every page of 40 Days Dans Le Désert “B” with his medium of choice the Rotring Rapidograph technical drawing pen. Employing full hatching/crosshatching & stippling throughout whilst utilising different pen thinnesses (0.35mm, 0.18mm, 0.13mm) to channel decades of artistic expression into each carefully crafted drawing to create a sense of depth and movement within each line. The final spellbinding result for the viewer after reading from end to end is a truly inspiring epiphany to behold.
In 2010 to coincide with the Moebius Transe Forme exhibition at Fondation Cartier in Paris, France held between 2010 to 2011 that would sadly be Moebius’ last exhibition, a DVD was released called Métamoebius which features 2 documentary films directed by Damian Pettigrew, the first Métamoebius (2010) and an earlier documentary Mister Gir & Mike S. Blueberry (1999). Of particular mention within the documentary Mister Gir & Mike S. Blueberry is a rare glimpse of Moebius drawing the final pages of 40 Days Dans Le Désert “B”!
In the CTN animation eXpo 2010 – An evening with Moebius interview hosted by Animation Director John Musker, Moebius recalls his memories of 40 Days Dans Le Désert “B” (at 1:35:30) and shares some wonderful insights behind it’s creative process:
“…And this is different, it’s a series of drawings I did in 1999. I was doing Blueberry and after a day working on Blueberry I wanted to rest a little doing that. Instead of watching TV, I used to spend my time drawing…You know, I had a book with me and I was carrying that book everywhere, to the dentist or waiting for the bus… I used to do those drawings without pencil and mainly with my Rotring, total improvisation you know because it is an accumulation of lines and details.”
La Folle Du Sacré-Cœur (1992-1998) / Madwoman of the Sacred Heart (2012) Les Humanoïdes Associés/Humanoids 19.7 x 26.7cm, 192 pages
Madwoman of the Sacred Heart follows the life of Alan Mangel, an highly esteemed professor of philosophy at the prestigious La Sorbonne university, who has all the trappings of success: money, a marriage, academic merit. However on Alan’s 60th birthday his world is turned upside down, as something challenges his long held preconceptions and inhibitions.
Although Moebius is indeed credited as the illustrator for Madwoman of the Sacred Heart alongside longterm creative partner Alejandro Jodorowsky on regular writing duties, the traditional look of some of the illustrations feel more in keeping with Jean Giraud’s earlier “Gir” incarnation (better known for Blueberry).
This comic book is mature both in it’s erotic art style and also in it’s storytelling as we explore a protagonist in the latter Autumn season of their life where most of their beliefs have already been well rooted, only for (as the reader shall see) the proverbial rug to be pulled from under their feet.