This was the cover of the first Metal Hurlant I ever saw. I was — what — 14, and on a French Exchange to Paris and this beautiful magazine filled with comics opened my mind to what comics could be, and the art of Jean Giraud, AKA Moebius, made it so powerful and perfect. He drew different stories in different styles, and everything was beautiful. I bought a copy. I could only afford the one copy, but one was enough.
I couldn’t actually figure out what the stories were about, but I figured that was because my French wasn’t up to it.
I read the magazine over and over and envied the French because they had everything I dreamed of in comics - beautifully drawn, visionary and literate comics, for adults. I just wished my French was better, so I could understand the stories (which I knew would be amazing).
I wanted to make comics like that when I grew up.
I read them when I was in my 20s, in translation, and discovered that they weren’t actually brilliant stories. More like stream-of-consciousness art meets Ionesco absurdism. Didn’t matter. The damage had long since been done.
I met Jean Giraud on a couple of occasions. He was sweet and gentle and really… I don’t know. Spiritual is not a word I use much, mostly because it feels so very misused these days, but I’d go with it for him.
We wanted to work together. I wrote the Sandman: Endless Nights story DEATH IN VENICE for him to draw, but his health got bad, so P. Craig Russell drew it. Moebius’s health improved a little, and he asked if I could write him a very short story, perhaps 8 pages, and make them all posters, so I wrote the DESTINY story in Endless Nights for him. His health took a turn for the worse, and Frank Quitely drew it. And both Craig and Frank made magic with their stories, but somewhere inside I was sad, because I’d hoped to work with Moebius.
And now I never shall.
RIP Jean Giraud, 8 May 1938 - 10 March 2012