Rediscovering Mœbius

Some notes and essays exploring the comic book work of Jean Giraud

If you’re reading this because you have an interest in comics, or in the history of comics, or, more particularly, in the artist known as Mœbius—or possibly, more generally, in science-fiction and fantasy—you might as well know that you’re reading words written by someone to some extent like yourself. I won’t insist on the resemblance, but I wish to reassure you that I, too, am a reader, and pretend to no special knowledge or inside information.

     Over the past couple of years I’ve indulged in what has seemed a Herculean fit of collecting. Having had my interest piqued by Dark Horse’s three-volume printing of Inside Mœbius, I succumbed to an inclination to acquaint myself with some works I’d neglected, beginning with those that were available, and—once I was on the slippery slope—pursuing some that weren’t. At each step I told myself, this is far enough. Then the ground would give way beneath my feet, and I’d begin building up momentum again.

     My decision to attempt to read Tueur de Monde and Le Major in French led me farther afield than I expected to go. I’ve never strayed far from my native language, and never with confidence, but the expedition on which I set out in 2018 may be considered a feat of enthusiasm. I tell you this so you’ll know you’re entitled to approach with a measure of caution some conclusions based on my readings in French, as well as some of the rude translations I’ve attempted.

     On the other hand, much of what’s easily available on the internet concerning Jean Giraud and his work is far from complete. Generalizations are misleading, errors are commonplace. I have not the ambition, the competence nor the interest to supply a complete account of Giraud’s life and career, but the incentive to share something of my small and belated adventure in reading is underwritten by a wish to make available, within a small compass, some information I did not come by easily. At the same time, it’s no part of my intention to produce a quick digest of Giraud—and his alter-ego, Mœbius—for those who don’t enjoy reading, or who are easily bored.

     Prospective readers and newcomers are advised to read with caution, because I presume a critical interest in the works referred to. Indeed, some of my nit-picking is surely presented in greater detail than any but an enthusiast might be expected to bear. And while some pages may pique the curiosity of readers—particularly with respect to works by Mœbius either currently unavailable or not easily available in English—other pages contain spoilers, and reveal terrible secrets.

     There is no need, however, to fear any theoretical bias. If anything, my ground-level readings may seem too purely descriptive, and such arguments and conclusions as I advance are constructed locally, on an ad hoc basis. Even so, I hope some of the information presented here may prove interesting or useful to some readers at least.

     But these pages are in no sense consecrated to useful information. As ought to be nakedly evident, I also have opinions. You might as well know it. I hope you don’t find them too persuasive. You’re welcome to discount them.