2001 Après Jésus Christ / 2001 After Jesus Christ (2000) Stardom 24 x 16.5cm, 40 pages
On the hardcover of 2001 Après Jésus Christ (2001 After Jesus Christ) the central protagonist Jesus (or Isa) stands alone within an empty desert landscape, facing towards the east. This cover would later be paralleled for the French 2nd Edition of 40 Days Dans Le Désert “B” (40 Days In The Desert “B”) but instead with the Techno-Boudha seated on the ground, holding a bow and arrow, also facing (and taking aim) towards the east.
2001 Après Jésus Christ opens with a preface written in French by Max Armanet titled Nouvelle apocryphe (New Apocryphal) giving an insight on the project’s creation and the premise of the narrative. On the pages on the left of 2001 Après Jésus Christ is an accompanying story also written in French by Jean-Luc Coudray and opposite on the pages on the right is Moebius’ illuminating artwork.
Where the title of 40 Days Dans Le Désert “B” contained an allusion to the titular Abrahamic prophet, 2001 Après Jésus Christ makes direct reference to the historical figure but reimagined 2 millennia later by Moebius. Through artistic interpretation, Moebius’ Jésus is athletic, bohemian and Middle Eastern. Moebius’ art inside feels vaguely Ligne Claire (clear line) in style but with subtle line details, filled with natural, earthy colours that are occasionally juxtaposed with splashes of luminescent tones.
2001 Après Jésus Christ uses a thicker print stock than 40 Days Dans Le Désert “B” but instead with a fine horizontal grain and as with with 40 Days Dans Le Désert “B” also printed in Italy at Artegrafica Silva.
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.”