1938 2012

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100 Illustrators that all Illustrators should know: #74

Jean “Moebius” Giraud (1938-2012)

Country: France

Famous for: Heavy Metal, Metal Hurlant, Arzach, L’Incal, Blueberry, The Airtight Garage, Alien, The Fifth Element, Dune, City of Fire, Edena, Silver Surfer, Tron, Les Maitres du Temps, Willow, The Abyss

Influenced: Geof Darrow, Phillippe Druillet, Phillippe Caza, Hayao Miyazaki, Katsuhiro Otomo, Enki Bilal, Tanino Liberatore, Milo Manara, Georges Bess, William Stout, Arno, José Ladronn, Juan Gimenez, Sylvain Despretz, Ridley Scott, Richard Corben, Alejandro Jodorowsky, Mike Mignola, Mark Bode, Katsuya Terada, Frank Cho, Vittorio Giardano, Frank Miller, Brandon Graham, Brendan McCarthy, Francois Schuiten, Marc Bati, Francois Boucq, Frank Quitely, Neil Gaiman, Paul Pope, Mike Allred, Phil Noto, Killian Eng, George Lucas, Blade Runner, William Gibson, Federico Fellini, Sci-Fi and Fantasy culture, concept art, animation and comics as a whole

Influenced by: Gustave Doré, Jijé, Jean-Claude Mezieres, Possibly Virgil Finlay, Will Eisner, Frederic Remington, Western Comics, Herge, Art Nouveau, 

Jean Giraud, widely known by his pen-names Moebius and Gir, was a French comic illustrator and author, considered to be one of the most influential artists in the industry across the entire globe. Growing up in German-occupied France, Giraud found solace and escape in a small local theater that would play an abundance of American B-Westerns, which is where he’d develop a love for the genre. In 1954, Giraud received his only technical training at the École Supérieure des Arts Appliqués Duperré, where he’d produce western comics, much to the disappointment of his teachers. It is here where he’d meet close friend and fellow artist, Jean-Claude Méziéres (co-creator of Valerian). Giraud would not graduate and left the school in 1956. In the late 1950s, Giraud was drawing his own western strip for the magazine, Far West, very much influenced by the works of his later mentor, Joseph “Jijé” Gillain. In the 1960s, he developed the Lieutenant Blueberry character with Jean-Michel Charlier, a title he’d work on under the pseudonym, Gir until 1974. This is partly due to Giraud wanting to explore  and develop the work of his Moebius alter-ego, as he had a growing interest in science-fiction and fantasy. That same year, Moebius, along with artist Phillipe Druillet and writer, Jean-Pierre Dionnet created the comic anthology magazine, Métal Hurlant (”Screaming Metal”) under the collective Les Humanoides Associes. Such stories published in the publication were The Long Tomorrow, Arzach and The Airtight Garage. Metal Hurlant would later become known as Heavy Metal Magazine in the U.S. becoming a bastion for adult-oriented illustrated stories, with a focus on genre imagery. In 1980, Moebius worked with frequent collaborator, Alejandro Jodorowsky on the acclaimed L’Incal series. A couple of years later, Moebius would start collaborating on an ambitious portfolio with pupil, Geof Darrow, entitled City of Fire. Aside from working with Marvel Comics and other publishers, Moebius worked on a slew of films from the 70s-90s as a concept artist. These films include Alien, Tron, The Abyss, Willow, The Fifth Element and Jodorowsky’s unrealized adaption of Frank Herbert’s Dune. Moebius’ work is categorized by a range of qualities, producing incredibly simple work and exceptionally detailed work alike, both in the tradition of ligne claire, and hatch-heavy linework. 

Sadly, Moebius passed away in 2012 after a long battle with cancer, though his legacy has only gotten more celebrated since. Ridley Scott is known for having said that Moebius’ sci-fi imagery is so influential that everything made in the genre now either directly or indirectly shares his DNA, with concepts inspired by or even stolen in such properties as Star Wars, Halo and Nausicaa and everything in-between. Celebrated artists, authors, directors, animators and illustrators such as Hayao Miyazaki (Spirited Away) , Federico Fellini (8 ½, Amarcord), William Gibson (Neuromancerand Katsuhiro Otomo (AKIRA) have cited him as a primary or strong influence on their work(s). 

IL PLEUT SUR SANTIAGO a.k.a. サンチャゴに雨が降る (Santiago Ni Ame Ga Furu) is a French-Bulgarian film made by Helvio Soto in 1975 that depicts the 1973 Chilean coup d’etat.

Apparently Noboru Ishiguro (24 August 1938 – 20 March 2012) one of the directors of “MACROSS: Do You Remember Love?” had a fondness for documentaries and films based on actual events, in especially for “IL PLEUT SUR SANTIAGO” which translates to “It’s Raining on Santiago” a film directed by Helvio Soto a Chilean filmmaker who recreated the events during the last days of the government of Salvador Allende and the Chilean coup d’etat in 1973.

Ishiguro liked so much the production that he decided to capture it as the premiere aboard the SDF-1 MACROSS.

Eiko Ishioka: Celebrating the designer’s extraordinary costumes for Bram Stoker’s Dracula

Today’s Google Doodle celebrates the life of Japanese visual artist and designer Eiko Ishioka (1938-2012) on what would have been her 79th birthday.

Born in Tokyo, Ishioka trained in advertising before casting her unique eye for patterns and detail towards more creative avenues, designing sets, costumes and promotional materials for operas, album covers, music videos and movies, working with such cutting-edge artists as Miles Davis, Björk and Tarsem Singh.

Ishioka’s best-known and most enduring work remains the Oscar-winning costumes she created for Bram Stoker’s Dracula in 1992, a spectacular restaging of the classic 1897 horror novel from Francis Ford Coppola, director of The Godfather trilogy (1972-90) and Apocalypse Now (1979). The pair met when Ishioka designed the Japanese poster for the latter film and struck up a friendship.

Given imaginative free-rein by Coppola, Ishioka’s costumes for star Gary Oldman brought the vampire count to life and freed him from the black cape and evening wear the character had become associated with through iconic Universal and Hammer portrayals by Bela Lugosi and Christopher Lee.

Her vivid designs are crucial to Dracula’s arresting visual impact - a contribution rivalled only by Polish composer Wojciech Kilar’s stirring orchestral score - and do much to counteract the film’s somewhat questionable casting choices, with Keanu Reeves as wooden as a stake playing heroic lead Jonathan Harker.

Here are five of Ishioka’s most extraordinary creations from an under-appreciated movie packed with invention.

Blood red armour

Coppola’s film opens on the plains of Eastern Europe, where Oldman’s Vlad Tepes is leading an army of Christian knights into battle against invading hordes from Turkey. Victorious, he returns home to find his bride, Elisabeta (Winona Ryder), has killed herself - believing him dead - and forsakes god in despair.

Ishioka clads Vlad in an all-crimson suit of armour replicating the sinewy texture of flayed muscle, its helmet cast in the shape of a wolf’s head. Impractical, historically improbable but an utterly gorgeous flight of fancy.

Dragon’s tail kimono

When English estate agent Harker first arrives at Castle Dracula, he is greeted by the count wearing a flowing scarlet silk kimono that trails behind him, a gold phoenix embroidered on its breast.

Decrepit, ravaged by age and blood-starved, the robe gives the craven creature an Old World elegance and refinement at odds with the decay of his failing body. It’s the most clearly oriental design Ishioka brings to the film and one of cinema’s most unforgettable costumes.

Satanic vestments

The clothing the count wears in Transylvania nods to the character’s ancient lineage and provides a direct contrast to the Bond Street tailoring he favours in the West.

The billowing metallic gown above, rich in jewels and patchwork curlicues, resembles a bishop’s vestments and is entirely in keeping with the Satanic perversion of Christianity the demon represents.

Clothing as character

The 19th century gowns worn by Dracula’s female leads - Ryder and Sadie Frost - are largely true to the period but Ishioka nevertheless finds room to introduce unique character notes.

Frost’s Lucy Westenra, for instance, is introduced wearing a peppermint green party dress patterned with entwined snakes, a motif hinting at the character’s overt sexuality, which Dracula will duly exploit. Later bitten and laid to rest, Lucy rises from the grave in an Elizabethan burial gown whose lace ruff was inspired by an Australian frill-necked lizard - typical of Ishioka’s left-field approach.

The open-necked red gown worn by Ryder above leaves Mina Harker vulnerable to the monster’s fangs while simultaneously conveying the character’s latent passion and sensuality, its three-quarter length sleeves capturing the drama of the Romantic period.

Sunglasses after dark

Never afraid to play with chronology, Ishioka’s move to modernise Dracula culminates in the revolutionary, though entirely practical, decision to hand him a pair of sunglasses.

Rejuvenated by fresh transfusions upon his arrival in London, the younger count tours the West End in a fine charcoal top coat, waistcoat and matching hat, his dandyish shades shielding him from fatal sunlight and adding a steampunk flavour to the production, repeated in the striped straightjacket Tom Waits’s Renfield sports in the asylum.

People You Should Know: Mœbius

Jean Henri Gaston Giraud (French: [ʒiʁo]; 8 May 1938 – 10 March 2012) was a French artist, cartoonist, and writer, who worked in the Franco-Belgian bandes dessinées tradition. Giraud earned worldwide fame, predominantly under the pseudonym Mœbius, and to a lesser extent Gir, which he used for the Blueberry series and his paintings. Esteemed by Federico Fellini, Stan Lee and Hayao Miyazaki among others, he received international acclaim.[1] He has been described as the most influential bandes dessinées artist after Hergé.[2]

His most famous works include the series Blueberry, created with writer Jean-Michel Charlier, featuring one of the first anti-heroes in Western comics. Under the pseudonym Moebius he created a wide range of science fiction and fantasy comics in a highly imaginative and surreal, almost abstract style, the most famous of which are Arzach, the Airtight Garage of Jerry Cornelius, and The Incal. Blueberry was adapted for the screen in 2004 by French director Jan Kounen. In 1997, Moebius and co-creator Alejandro Jodorowsky sued Luc Besson for using The Incal as inspiration for his movie The Fifth Element, a lawsuit which they lost.[3]

Moebius contributed storyboards and concept designs to numerous science fiction and fantasy films, including Alien, Willow, Tron (1982), The Abyss (1989) and The Fifth Element.