Moebius: Venice Celeste (Celestial Venice) collects work by Moebius made during his auspicious trip to Italy in the early 1980s that was to be an inspirational voyage that paved the way for a 9 page comic (that this art book takes it’s name from) and also one of the first works penned under Jean Giraud’s other nom de plume “Jean Gir” (see Moebius: Starwatcher).
Moebius: Venice Celeste is separated into the following sections:
Préface de Milo Manara (Preface by Milo Manara),
Les Fantasmes du vieux Mœb (The Fantasies of the old Mœb),
Les Merveilles de L’Univers (The Wonders of the Universe),
Jean Gir, le nouveau Mœbius (Jean Gir, the new Mœbius),
Carnaval Vénitien (Venetian Carnaval).
At the time of writing there is an ongoing free exhibition of Moebius called “Les Beaux Voyages de Moebius” (The Beautiful Journeys of Moebius) taking place from 11th May – 24th November 2019 in Venice, Italy at the CA’ASI Architecture Studio as part of the Venice Biennale 58th International Art Exhibition that celebrates Moebius’ first visit to Italy and showcases part of Moebius’ oeuvre of the period.
The Art of Tron (1982) Little Simon/Simon & Schuster 22.8 x 30.2cm, 64 pages
Released to coincide with the major motion picture Tron (1982) directed by Steven Lisberger, the enlightening book The Art of Tron written by Michael Bonnifer (a publicist who worked on Tron), offers a rare glimpse of the creative process behind this innovative and audacious film, featuring concept art by Moebius who worked on the storyboards, designed costumes and vessel design alongside a team of many other artists.
Mockba (1990) Stardom 11.5 x 15cm, 85 black & white and colour pages
Mockba (pronounced Moskvá and how the Russians write the name of their capital city Moscow in Cyrillic), is a small signed and numbered limited edition of 1500 and the first publication under Moebius’ Stardom imprint released in 1990. Mockba’s little red book presentation is a clear nod to Chairman Mao’s “Little Red Book” of the People’s Republic of China. The author and title text on the front cover are in large, gold lettering and set to the likeness of Moebius’ own handwriting whereas underneath the subtitle “Carnet de bords” (which means “record book” or “log-book” in English) is in smaller, uppercase lettering.
As you open this tome you discover a short 2 page introduction in French by Moebius that in English roughly translates:
“Carnet de bords
There is a tradition of the travel diary, which seems to be threatened by all the modern processes of film-making, all of them more and more practical, more and more efficient.
However, a simple notebook and some pencils can alone open all the doors of imagination and dreams.
Thus, over the years, I have filled many notebooks, some dragging in the back of my pockets for many months, filling up slowly, random waiting, dirty airport seats or even subway platforms … Others, more rarely, closing in one go, like this one, by example, realised in a short week and almost exclusively in the sinister and disproportionate hall of a big hotel in Moscow.
Sometimes, drawings and texts correspond well to the idea that one is commonly made of a travel note, but most of the time, one will search in vain for any relation with a place or a precise event. We can even estimate that the artist will have done as well, if not better, staying at home in the comfort of his studio.
However, these devotional drawings, even and especially the abstract ones, are transcriptions of states that could only be provoked by the journey and its tribulations, sketches on the spot, not of what happens in front of the eyes of the traveler, but from what is happening behind, where the magic mirror of the secret reality of the world unfolds to infinity.”
Beneath Moebius’ introduction is a drawing of a figure seated on a bench, writing into a small book (not unlike the one the reader is currently holding in their hands) and beside them a suitcase covered in stamps likely of places that they have visited.
Once you explore more inside Mockba, the more the pages resemble a sort of personal sketchbook and flows like a visual diary kept by Moebius in 1989 which for historical context was the same year that the Berlin Wall fell in Germany that once separated East and West Berlin and that would lead to the Reunification of Germany, followed years later by the collapse of the Soviet Union in Russia.
Griffes D’Ange (1994) / Angel Claws (2013) Les Humanoïdes Associés/Humanoids 30 x 40cm, 72 pages
Moebius not only pushed the gamuts of bandes dessinées in his prodigious creative tenure but also explored dreams and erotic expression as early as La Bandard Fou in 1974 and later for a new monthly comics magazine (A Suivre) (meaning To Be Continued). For the (A Suivre) special Hors Série (Out of Series) themed issue: Silence, On Rêve (Silence, We Dream) released in 1991, Moebius produced a short 8 page comic on the subject of dreams called Marie Dakar told through the dreams of a couple in bed. Panels from Marie Dakar would later resurface a year later in Virtual Meltdown, for example if you look at page 6 of Marie Dakar, the bottom panels grace the front and back covers of Virtual Meltdown. On page 7 of Marie Dakar you can see a clear influence in style to Moebius’ later work in 40 Days Dans Le Désert “B”.
Further into Silence, On Rêve there is a 5 page section called “Rêves par la Bande” (Dreams by the Gang) featuring some of Moebius’ more wetter dreams on the erotic spectrum.
In 1992 Moebius released an erotic portfolio called Histoire d’X (History of X) of a signed & numbered limited edition of 500 that further delved into erotic themes and would later with recurring collaborator Alejandro Jodorowsky be repurposed and extended further to spawn the erotic tale Griffes D’Ange (Angel Claws). Griffes D’Ange is an erotically charged story of a young woman exploring her sexuality told through the explicit imagery of Moebius and mature language of Jodorowsky.
The cover for the Griffes D’Ange limited numbered edition of 800 book features a drawing by Moebius of a lady with their semi-nude back to the viewer that upon closer inspection one will notice that the lady’s back is slightly bloodied. This cover image was inspired by an iconic fashion photograph called Mainbocher Corset captured by German photographer Horst P. Horst in Paris, 1939.
Miyazaki-Moebius (2004) Monnaie de Paris 23.5 x 30.5cm, 104 pages
Two great masters renowned the world over, Hayao Miyazaki auteur of Japanese manga & anime and Jean Giraud “Moebius” genius of French bandes dessinées & science fiction film, and were for years also mutual admirers of each other’s art.
These two creatives titans would join forces and hold a prestigious joint exhibition simply titled ‘Miyazaki-Mœbius’ held at the Monnaie de Paris in France between 1st December 2004 to 13th April 2005.
This exhibition revealed great creative parallels between both artists and featured 300+ original drawings and images on display. For those who could not make it to the event, an accompanying catalogue was released showcasing some of the pieces from the exhibition.