Moebius, artist who worked on ‘Alien,’ dies at 74

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Moebius, artist who worked on ‘Alien,’ dies at 74


French comic-book artist and designer Jean Giraud, known as Moebius, died Saturday aged 74. [AFP/yonhap]

Moebius, the French comic book artist and designer whose spectacular science fantasy-based works influenced Hollywood classics such as “Alien,” has died aged 73 after a long illness.

Moebius - or Jean Henri Gaston Giraud - was one of France’s leading cartoonists who also found fame in Japan and the United States.

“He died this morning following a long illness,” a friend and colleague told AFP.

“The whole profession is in shock, totally devastated, even if we knew that he was seriously ill,” Gilles Ratier, head of France’s Association of Comic Book Critics, told AFP.

Colleagues paid tribute to the artist who is generally acknowledged as having been one of the most daring and innovative in his field, and whose striking ideas reached across the world and into the world of cinema.

Giraud, who grew up drawing cowboys and Indians, found fame when he created the western character Lieutenant Blueberry in 1963. He adopted the pseudonym Moebius for his illustrations in science fiction books and magazines.

He worked on top French magazines, including the politically incorrect but visually arresting “Metal Hurlant” (Heavy Metal), a mixture of science fiction and epic fantasy, which was featured in a 1981 animated film of the same name.

He also collaborated with Japanese manga artists and even co-produced an adventure of U.S. comic book superhero The Silver Surfer, working with Stan Lee, himself a legend in the field.

His influence also spread into cinema, with him putting his stamp on the first “Alien” film and the science fiction adventure “Tron.”

In 2010-11, France’s Cartier Foundation for Contemporary Art acknowledged his stature, staging a major retrospective of his work.

Giraud was born in Nogent-sur-Marne, east of Paris, on May 8, 1938.

After art school he began training as an illustrator for advertisers and the fashion industry before turning to comic strips.

“My ambition was tremendous,” he once told AFP.

“I wanted to rock, so everybody in the comic industry would be stunned.”

Tributes were quick to come in as news of his death spread.

Fellow artist Boucq told AFP Moebius had been a “master of realist drawing,” with “a real talent for humor, which he was still demonstrating with the nurses when I saw him in his hospital bed a fortnight ago.”

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