Saturday, March 10, 2012

RIP Jean Giraud / Moebius

I'm trying to do my cover work today, and Jean Giraud's passing colors my thoughts. Actually, truth be told -- his death doesn't dominate as much as his life and work do, on a day like this.

I met him in 1997.

Back then, I could barely even call myself a professional illustrator. I think I'd done only two cover gigs at that point in my career -- both for the now-defunct Mojo Press, owned by Ben Ostrander and edited by Rick Klaw. We were at San Diego Comic Con. Mojo Press had a booth there. I was signing books at the booth, along with Mike Moorcock and other creators. Amongst Mojo's first new published offerings was a book called THE BLUEBERRY SAGA: CONFEDERATE GOLD, which collected Moebius' amazing Lieutenant Blueberry strip work.

I don't remember exactly when Moebius came to the booth. But when he did, it seemed like a giant wave of fanumanity (note to self: trademark this word) simultaneously lined up, as far as the eye could see, in front of Mojo's booth. The people. Just. Kept. Coming. Moebius shook hands with everyone behind the booth, and said hello -- a perfect gentleman in good spirits. He was offered a chair. There was a stack of BLUEBERRY books waiting for him. He sat down, and pulled out his pen.

I stood up, parked myself behind his right shoulder, and didn't move a muscle for about 25 minutes. During that time, he gracefully and graciously greeted every fan in line. He signed every new book handed to him. He did a drawing in every book for every fan. And as far as I can remember, every single drawing was completely unique.

Each took maybe 30 seconds to do. It was like a projection beam was blasting a dream from the middle of his forehead onto the page. He was merely tracing what the dreambeam was showing him. I'm not even sure his penpoint lifted off the paper for some of those sketches. Some seemed like just one continuous mark -- a sinuous line that might define a cowboy hero, an alien explorer, or an entire world.

Mesmerizing is not a big enough word.

To be that great, and to be that good to people -- that's the benchmark. It was a great thing to see at the beginning of a career. And very humbling. Still is.

Thank you, Jean Giraud.


Blogger Jetse de Vries said...

Great anecdote, John.

I've always been a huge fan of BLUEBERRY (even more than of his Moebius works) and am quite saddened by Giraud's passing.

Time to read some BLUEBERRY comics.

9:32 AM  
Blogger John Picacio said...

Thanks, Jetse....'appreciated. :)

7:01 AM  
Blogger Mair said...

John - what Jetse said - great anecdote...the emotion of the experience came through...a very humble person...

8:22 AM  
Blogger John Picacio said...

Thanks, Mair -- see you in Seattle! :D

4:46 PM  

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