I never knew who he was until a few years after the turn of the 1980s when Heavy Metal, an animated film made in 1979, showed up on cable tv back in the day. I was entralled by some of the short stories in there and especially when Waldenbooks existed in the mall, the magazine Heavy Metal, which the film was based on, intriqued me. I was too young to read it until the late 80s when I became familiar with his name and started to connect with his beautiful stylized art to the Heavy Metal film.
It also helped by the fact when I visited the defunct North Coast Nostalgia comic shop in Cleveland Heights, they would have a huge graphic novel section featuring some of his graphic novels translated to English. I once saw a beautiful poster of his rendition of Iron Man with vibrant colors and one of the cleanest line art I've ever seen that was expressive in its own right, that's not so different than Herge's.
Although, one could say his approach is stylized realism with various line texture and patterns to differentiate spatial distance and form of the characters and environment involved. His work definitely plays a lot with spatial distance or the use of negative space in an effective manner. His style is also cinematic in tone and pace as if he was a film-maker producing a storyboard which also is reminiscent of manga in Japan. Katsuhiro Otomo, another illustrator I admire, had a similar spatial distance and stylized approach to Moebius, to a degree that they both utilized a sense of far and close up shots in dramatic ways.
Ironically, I did'nt know he was from France until years later upon doing research on his work.
What blew me away was the discovery that he had a hand in breathing life into one of my favorite films TRON, Blade Runner, ALIEN and a few others. If I had known who he was, I would've followed his work early on. It did'nt matter truly because I'm glad to know that his stylized work made the original TRON unique, along with Syd Mead's famous lightcycle design.
It was evident coming from the costume designs and circuitry art. The line art, again, was coming from his hand. It was synonymous with TRON. It was also at the time I was into video games in the early 80s that tied in with my fascination for the film with the virtual world as a new frontier to explore. Although, William Gibson, author of Neuromancer, would be one of the early visionaries of that term 'cyberpunk'.
Fortunately, I have the Art of Tron and Art of Moebius which complemented each well since they are a strong reminder of my early influences. Especially the fact I got ALIEN Vault which commemorates the making of ALIEN in 1979 and how Moebius' storyboards and costume design informed Ridley Scott's vision.
That image above? Take away the colors and you'll see how his line art is formed. I chose this image because the character himself is one of his most iconic creations and I could never forget that look that it would seem that I can imagine he must've had a conversation with Terry Gilliam about an offbeat, otherworldly tale to portray. Still, it was that european vibrancy that made this image effective that one does'nt see much here in the United States.
By the way, he did collaborate with Mr. Gilliam on "Brazil".
He was born in 1938 and passed on in 2012 recently last weekend with great sadness. He was one of the greatest illustrators today and has transcended to another world. Nothing but respect for what he has achieved. If you've never seen his work, please do yourself a favor and check out his work.
I salute to Jean Giraud aka Moebius.