Legendary Artist Jean Giraud, Alias Moebius, Passes Away

Jean Giraud, the enormously influential French comic artist widely known as Moebius, passed away this morning in Paris following a long illness, RFI reports. He was 73.

While Giraud and his works are far better known in his native France than in the United States, it's virtually impossible to overstate his influence on comics artists, writers and readers around the globe. For evidence, look no further than Twitter, where "Jean Giraud" and "Moebius" are worldwide trending topics.

Co-creator, with writer Jean-Michel Charlier, of the Western comic strip "Fort Navajo" and its hugely popular spinoff "Blueberry," Giraud was born in 1938 in the Parisian suburb of Nogent-sur-Marne, where he spent his childhood drawing cowboys and Indians.

Trained at the prestigious Ecole des Arts Applique in Paris and apprenticed to celebrated Belgian artist Jije, Giraud began using the pseudonym Moebius in 1963 for his more experimental science fiction and fantasy work. The name disappeared for more than a decade, only to be revived in 1975 when Giraud co-founded "Metal Hurlant," the acclaimed anthology that serialized his famed comics "The Airtight Garage" and "Azrach." In 1981, Giraud collaborated with Alejandro Jodorowsky on the science fiction comic "The Incal.".

Giraud also famously teamed with Stan Lee for the two-part "Silver Surfer: Parable," published in 1988 by Marvel.

A prolific storyboard artist and concept designer, Giraud worked on such science fiction films as "Alien," "Tron" and "The Abyss." His "Blueberry" was adapted as a live-action movie in 2004 (Giraud even appeared in a cameo role).

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