The Art of Moebius

The Art of Moebius (1989)
Byron Preiss/Berkley Books/Epic Comics
21 x 27cm, 96 pages

Bearing the familiar image of Starwatcher II that first featured on the cover of Moebius: Starwatcher released a few years earlier but this time however on the cover of The Art of Moebius the image is instead framed in a pastel lavender.

The Art of Moebius, book
The Art of Moebius

The Art of Moebius trade paperback opens with an introduction by filmmaker George Lucas who is best known for his original Star Wars trilogy:

“In all his drawings, Moebius, demonstrates a command of many disciplines in art. He is a master draftsman, a superb artist, and more: his vision is original and strong. Since first seeing the Moebius illustrations in “Heavy Metal” years ago, I have been impressed and affected by his keen and unusual sense of design, and the distinctive way in which he depicts the fantastic. Perhaps what strikes me most of all about his work is it’s sheer beauty – a beauty that has always given me great pleasure.”

The Art of Moebius, introduction by George Lucas

Some of the work featured in The Art of Moebius appeared previously in his art book Moebius: Starwatcher but not featured are the preparatory sketches and line work behind some of Moebius’ wide ranging work including for his aforementioned Starwatcher series of serigraphs. Also of interest is work by Moebius done for film projects such as Little Nemo in Slumberland (1989) based on Winsor McCay’s groundbreaking comic strip of the same name.

The Art of Moebius, Jimi Hendrix
The Art of Moebius, Futura
The Art of Moebius, Nemo
The Art of Moebius, Crystal Major/Cristal Star (early designs)
The Art of Moebius, The Golden Triangle (early designs)
The Art of Moebius, Starwatcher III (early design)
The Art of Moebius, Starwatcher I (early design)
The Art of Moebius, City of Fire: The Street (with Geof Darrow)

Worthy of mention and found within the final pages of The Art of Moebius is the inclusion of work from Moebius’ rare notebook Roma-Amor or Viamor (1988).

The Art of Moebius, Roma-Amor/Viamor
The Art of Moebius, Roma-Amor/Viamor
The Art of Moebius, Roma-Amor/Viamor
The Art of Moebius, afterword

Moebius on how Roma-Amor /Viamor came to be:

“I went to Italy for a month, to Naples and Rome, and one day, I was walking through the streets, when I saw an artisan making little notebooks, with nice paper and nice covers. So I bought one. At the time, I thought I would give it to somebody as a present, but I should have known better. I can never resist a notebook.

 So I began filling it with drawings. I drew in every kind of situation: in the train, in the plane, waiting for friends, waiting for a car, in coffee shops, in the street, in bed, at the hotel. Everywhere. I tried to do these drawings without any kind of preconceived ideas, just following my inspiration. I emptied my mind and let the drawing emerge. If there is a repetition of characters and themes, which there is, it is because it is like a psychic map of my spiritual landscape at the time.



Moebius: Starwatcher (1986)
Éditions Aedena/Dargaud

24.5 x 29.7cm, 104 pages

An androgynous, pointed hat stargazer, sitting with a book of Jack Vance’s Tschaï and holding in their hands a mysterious box… The eponymous Starwatcher is another of Moebius’ iconic creations that has gripped the imagination of comic book readers alike just as Arzach did a decade before.

Moebius: Starwatcher is a magnificent art book collecting Moebius’ oeuvre during the 1980s and also some lesser known works Jean Giraud made during a period he was briefly in Tahiti when part of a commune/cult set up by Jean-Paul Appel-Guéry (to distinguish these works apart from Moebius he usually penned them under “Jean Gir”). Starwatcher was released under Moebius’ newly founded French publishing house Éditions Aedena, named after the The Aedena Cycle (later known as The World of Edena) story arc that Moebius was in the middle of drawing at the time that follows the interstellar journey of repairmen Atan and Stel. Éditions Aedena would later expand its operations into the US market and would rebrand this new anglophone publishing venture as: Starwatcher Graphics.

Starwatcher, book
Signed Starwatcher drawing by Moebius inscribed to a friend from Palo Alto

Moebius: Starwatcher collects the book La Mémoire du Futur (The Memory of the Future) first published in 1983 under Éditions Gentiane (Jean Giraud’s earlier publishing entity which predominantly published work from his other alter ego “Gir”) as well as gathering together work from his portfolios of the time and is divided into the following sections:

Autobiographie (Autobiography),
La Mémoire du Futur (The Memory of the Future),
Futurs Magiques (Future Magic),
Un Après-Midi a Pharagonescia (An Afternoon in Pharagonesia),
Destin 3 Pour Edena (Destiny 3 for Edena),

Starwatcher, Autobiographie
Starwatcher, Autobiographie
Starwatcher, La Mémoire du Futur
Starwatcher, La Mémoire du Futur
Starwatcher, Futurs Magiques
Starwatcher, Futurs Magiques
Starwatcher, Un Après-Midi a Pharagonescia
Starwatcher, Un Après-Midi a Pharagonescia
Starwatcher, Destin 3 Pour Edena
Starwatcher, Destin 3 Pour Edena
Starwatcher, Starwatcher
Starwatcher, Starwatcher III
Starwatcher, Starwatcher I & II
Starwatcher, Cristal Star

Such was the enduring appeal of Moebius’ Starwatcher character that a short 5 and a half minute 3D animated pilot film Starwatcher (1991) was made which had accompanying music written by pioneering Greek composer Vangelis (known for his timeless score to Blade Runner (1982)) for a planned Starwatcher feature length film (years before Pixar would later make that breakthrough with their first 3D animated feature film Toy Story (1995)) and also had Blade Runner’s director Ridley Scott attached to it too. Alas the untimely passing the following year of Alain Guiot the executive producer and founder of Starwatcher’s French production studio Videosystem/Medialab and then it’s subsequent acquisition by Canal+ sadly put an end to the dream project.