Merci au maître, Moebius

This is from a much-loved T-shirt I bought years ago in Angoulême. At first I wore it as often as I could, then reserved its use for special occasions or when luck was needed. Now, it’s full of holes and really should be thrown away. But the reason I’ve held onto it is the reason I made a pilgrimage to Angoulême in the first place: Moebius.

There is little I can add to the many tributes which have already been posted, except a short, personal note. I remember, in the 1980s, my excitement at being able to walk into a Paris department store (not a comic shop!) and buy a lavish hard-backed comic album. I chose this one.

It was the second volume of a story I was unfamiliar with, and it was in French, but Moebius’s art was all I needed. (I was later astounded by the Blueberry strips serialised in the rough newsprint pages of comics newspaper Speakeasy.)

I never consciously tried to emulate him, there was no point. He was, in the words of Leonard Cohen, ‘a hundred floors above me’. But he inspired me in another way; with work of such transcendent imagination and superhuman technical prowess in the world, I had all the proof I needed that the comics form was one of limitless potential. One I should explore.

The only time I was in the same room as Jean Giraud, he was on stage at a London comic convention. He was demonstrating, of all things, t’ai chi techniques. Somehow his flowing movements and serene concentration seemed to fit perfectly with his sublime artwork. I felt I was watching some kind of elevated human being who had everything worked out and would live to be 100.
His work will live much longer than that.


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