Comic book artist Jean Giraud dies

Artist known as Moebius worked on 'Abyss,' 'Tron,' 'Silver Surfer'

Jean Giraud, one of the world’s most prominent comicbook artists and a key contributor to the look of films including “Alien” and “Tron,” died of cancer in Paris on Saturday, March 10. He was 73.

The artist, who drew for more than 50 years, was better known as Moebius.

His conceptual design work and storyboards were used in several films, including “Alien,” “Tron,” “The Abyss” and “The Fifth Element.”

Giraud also worked on a two-issue Silver Surfer comicbook series known as “Silver Surfer: Parable” with Stan Lee but was best known in France for his “Lieutenant Blueberry” character, an atypical Western hero that he created with Belgian scribe Jean-Michel Charlier.

Jean Henri Gaston Giraud was born in Nogent-sur-Marne, a suburb of Paris. At 16, he attended the Arts Appliques, where he began drawing and selling Western comics. In 1959-60, he served in the French military in Algeria.

His affinity for Westerns flourished with the 1963 birth of the “Lieutenant Blueberry” series, in which he was often credited as Gir. Giraud based the character’s look on French thesp Jean-Paul Belmondo. He later moved on to science fiction and fantasy, for which he utilized his Moebius moniker.

In 1975, he became one of the founding members of the comicbook art group Les Humanoides Associes, with whom he started the magazine Metal Hurlant, the magazine known in the English speaking world as Heavy Metal, a mix of science fiction and epic fantasy that served as a basis for the 1981 animated film of the same name.

Giraud’s talent as an artist drew him into the film business, starting with Ridley Scott’s “Alien” in 1979. He also worked on Disney’s original “Tron” in 1979 as well as 1980s films “Willow” and “Masters of the Universe.”

Last year, France’s Cartier Foundation for Contemporary Art staged a major retrospective of Giraud’s work.

He is survived by his wife, Isabelle.