0. An introduction to the excursions & excavations




Note to the reader:



(Michael Moorcock, A Cure for Cancer)



When I returned to reading the comics of Jean Giraud, it wasn’t with the intention of writing about them. That dawned on me slowly, and I did it for my own amusement. A few pieces I wrote may be viewed, for what they’re worth, elsewhere on this site.

     And when I had the idea of writing—or trying to write—thirty-six brief essays on the Garage, to correspond to the number of installments of the original serial, it was as purely a whim as any that ever captured my fancy. 2020 was an odd sort of a year, and, with time on my hands and freedom from distraction, I imagined it might take two or three months to knock together a sequence of notes (most under 1000 words) that would satisfy this modest plan. As with the earlier “A to Z”, I intended only to proceed, in a spirit of play, in order to see what I might learn, and what I might have to say.

     It took longer than expected. I’ve done other things as well, but this is one of the ways I spent my time over the past year. Much of it was written in 2020, but I put the finishing touches to it this year, 2021. In some places, where I wrote “last year”, I meant 2019. I don’t suppose it matters very much.

     This is not an exhaustive study of the Garage, but may prove exhausting for the casual reader. At around 65,000 words, the thirty-six sections add up to something like a short book (you’ve been warned) but you needn’t feel under an obligation to begin at the beginning or end at the end. Feel free to dip in anywhere. Wherever you start, you’ll find that each sentence, and every successive word that taxes your patience, is also an invitation to stop. I’ve declined to provide individual sections with cliffhanger endings. But readers of Mœbius may find some of it worth reading or quarreling with.

     Obviously it presumes an acquaintance with and some measure of interest in The Airtight Garage or Le Garage Hermétique; but it may also serve as a critical introduction for those unfamiliar with it. If you’re one of those, you ought to know there are spoilers. Stay alert and be prepared to avert your eyes.

     And perhaps it’s also a sort of prolegomena to a new edition in English, which is long overdue. I’ve no idea whether it’ll happen, and I’m not going to waste anyone’s time complaining about it; but it’s a misfortune for potential readers that so much of Giraud’s work (including, but not limited to the Garage) is unavailable in English, except on the collectors’ market. Some of it’s simply unavailable in English.

     I console myself by remembering how little my French-English dictionary cost me, and invite you to enter the labyrinth. Whether you lose yourself is entirely your affair... 


May 2021