Sunday, 16 December 2012

Signing contracts

So the day has come that my secret project is to be signed with a publisher. I'm off to sign the paper work later today in London.

It's an exciting day as it means the story that I have been chipping away at for the past year now has an official green light to go into production. I've worked on several iterations of the script treatment (which was an interesting experience) and now all parties are happy and the first episode has been signed off. I am having a lot of fun creating the world for this story and I can't wait to share it with you all

In terms of theme, design and art it is a return to the things I love the best - sci-fi, fantasy and a dash of horror.  

An official announcement is still some time away so I still cannot tell you anything more but stay tuned for more details as they happen.

"All things are connected..."

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

ALIEN - The Original Art Edition

I was only a child at the time of the release of the original Alien and I was super eager to see the movie. 

The reason for this eagerness is due to the Heavy Metal comic book adaptation of Alien. I had stumbled across the book when it had been on display in my local branch of WH Smiths, flicking through its pages I was captivated by the amazing imagery on display - it was like the best ever edition of 2000ad I had ever seen! Also on display was companion book The Book of Alien which was full of photographs of the titular alien and the spaceship designs. I was eventually steered away from the books by a member of staff who then warned me that the books were not intended for young boys of my age and was only for adults. Nothing could have made me want to look at the book more than a warning by an adult especially a comic book; it had become a forbidden treasure.

A year later I found a second hand copy on a market book stall. I pestered my parents to buy the book for me, they had no idea that it was based on a hardcore (for the time) 'X' certificate movie. I soon had the book in my possession and I read it over and over, it made me more desperate to see the film.
I saved my pocket money to buy copies of Starlog and Fantastic Film magazines just so I could look at the photographs and concept artwork from the film.

The Alien comic book with its graphic scenes of gore and adult language soon came to the attention of the public moral guardians. The book was featured on the BBC 'Watchdog' program; a show where disgruntled members of the public complain about what they consider foul in popular culture. All of this just heightened the aura around the book and the film. 

Years later when I saw the movie it did not disappoint - At the age of twelve I had become a ravenous Alien movie fan and Star Wars and Doctor Who were quickly forgotten. I collected anything with the Alien logo on.

The book has been out of print for a good few decades and has now been re-released in two editions by Titan Books - a copy of the book as it was on its original release and the other being an over-sized hardback book known as the 'Original Art Edition.' 

The book is HUGE. I have used the bluray Alien box set as a size comparison.

The Original Art Edition is a reproduction of the actual original Walter Simonson artwork for the Alien comic book. If you are a fan of Alien and original comic art then this book is a must.

 It is a huge book! The photos on this blog do not do justice to the size of the book. The pages have been beautifully printed to reproduce the exact size and detail of the original art boards (with the print boundaries trimmed). Here we have the original artwork reproduced - warts and all, it is the nearest thing to owning the actual original artwork. Luckily for us Simonson kept all of his original Alien art boards, it is common practise for artist to sell their original pages to supplement their meagre income. You get to see the corrections, pencil lines and even coffee stains that make up the original art - it is a fascinating process that you would not normally get to see.

At the back of the book is the original comic book script by Archie Goodwin (based on an early draft of the movie script complete with deleted scenes) and an interview with the artist who talks about the process of putting the book together. There are also some very interesting 'try out' pages that Simonson submitted in order to get the job of working on the book. These behind the scenes pages show us what the artist imagined what the film might look like with no reference photographs and only extracts of script to work from.

A beautiful book from Titan and highly recommended for all fans of graphic art and the Alien movie.

Monday, 5 November 2012


An update on my work. As some of you already know, I have been hard at work on writing and drawing a graphic novel. I cannot yet reveal the details of the story but I can say that I am in talks with a major well known publisher and I am very excited about the possibilities of this deal. All I will say is that if you like comics, film or TV then you probably own a number of gorgeous books by this publisher!
Over the past few months I have been bashing my script around and working on various redrafts, it's harder than you think writing a graphic novel! I had hoped to be drawing by now but I am taking some very sound editorial advice to make sure the script is as good as possible before commencing on the final artwork.

Here is a little sneak preview of the pencils from one small panel from a sample page.


I hope to reveal more exciting news as it happens.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Mike Singleton - RIP

The Lords of Midnight and Doomdark's Revenge

I was very sad to learn of the untimely death of veteran games designer Mike Singleton on October 16th 2012. The Lords of Midnight and its sequel Doomdark’s revenge were true ground breaking classic video games and very much in my all-time top ten games list. 

The Lords of Midnight, first released on the ZX Spectrum in 1984, was the very first game that made me believe in a virtual world and that a humble video game could also work on a story telling level. Mike Singleton was a pioneer of game design and world building and this week the industry lost one of its great unsung heroes.

Every time I played this game I lived and breathed that world and its characters. The game felt alive with possibilities and a purpose and I obsessed about the open ended gameplay. The characters of Luxor the Moon Prince, Rorthron the Wise,  Morkin and Corleth the Fey became my first believable video game heroes. I even kept a diary whilst playing my game, my encounters, battles and losses became my own personal folk tales. The game had a sense of literature that made me want to read books that had similar themes, I discovered Tolkein through my love of playing The Lords of Midnight.

The first person view point gave the game a realistic edge over the simple crude graphics of other games of the time. Looking out across the frozen planes of Midnight and seeing mountains and forests as well as the distant banner of great armies that I could travel towards made for an intoxicating chilly atmosphere of discovery and danger. Aided by the fact I played the game in winter in a house with no central heating and on a tiny black and white telly all helped to make it feel as if I was traveling across a frozen world locked in perpetual winter. The world and its layout of snow covered open plains, forests, mountains and citadels is still indelibly etched on my mind, just as Tolkein’s Middle Earth was after reading the Lord of the Rings books (which this game owes much to).

 For those of you have never played Lords of Midnight it was one of the first games to combine strategy gameplay and AI with simple but beautiful first person graphics. The game could be played as either, a straight adventure game, a strategic warfare game or both. The aim of the game was to stop the forces of the evil WitchKing from over running Midnight with his own armies. The player started out by controlling a small group of characters that travel the world of Midnight recruiting other Lords, these Lords also controlled their own armies. Once a Lord is successfully recruited (which was not always a given), their armies could be moved and controlled by the player. For its time the graphics were ground breaking as was the details found within the game play. Each Lord had his, or her own, strengths and weaknesses and morale, as well as allegiances with other Lords. The game was turn based with the player moving his armies and then the computer moving its own. The turn based nature made for very gripping strategy game-play as you never knew what the next day/round would result in. This game made you think about your moves and each decision had an outcome in the field of battle.

Mr Singleton followed up the Lords of Midnight with Doomdark’s revenge. Doomdark's Revenge featured more detail, more complex characters, objects and even changing weather conditions! He really performed miracles on a tiny 48K of memory and simple 8 colour graphics. 

Mike Singleton had always intended for the Lords of Midnight series to be a trilogy but the third game was not forthcoming on the spectrum, I waited year after year for the third part, hoping. During that time I read an interview with Mike Singleton about his plans for the third game - The Eye of the Moon. He revealed the fate of some of the characters from the earlier games and that it would be set decades after the events of Doomdark's Revenge - I hung on every plot reveal, as if I was getting insights into some great novel or a film series. I was that enthralled by the series of Midnight games.
A third midnight game was eventually released on the PC many years later but it seemed a shadow of its former glory and I did not play in case I ruined the memory of those first two cherished games.

 Honestly, I loved these original games, I still do. The none linear narrative and the attention to detail in the elegant yet complex game design, the mix of strategy and adventure and even the striking packaging of the games were all very much ahead of their time - they were the Morrowind/Oblivion/Skyrim of their time.

When I eventually sold my Spectrum and all of my games, in order to upgrade to a Commodore 64, I still kept my copy of The Lords of Midnight. I still have this boxed copy somewhere in my house; a memento of more innocent times.

Even to this day I always hoped and dreamed that maybe Mike would make a new Midnight game in the style of the original two. I knew he was working on an update of the original game to play on the IPad and using touch controls with improved AI and graphics (though hopefully not too improved). It is a game that I still am still eager to play again, like visiting an old friend. I had hoped that if the remake had performed well enough Mike would have properly concluded the trilogy by making Eye of the Moon in the same style.

Rest in peace Mike Singleton and know that you made many gamers happy during those dark 8 bit winter months of 1984 onwards. You showed us that games  were capable of producing stories, characters and open ended game-play. You have influenced a generation of designers, coders and artists. Your legacy in the history of video games will live on.

You made two of my favourite games and for that, I thank you!

 Long live the Lords of Midnight!

Here are extracts from the original Crash Magazine review of The Lords of Midnight from 1984.


Beyond have produced a game of immense complexity that transcends the simple word-matching of the mainstream adventure and in many respects more resembles a strategy war game. Many features of the game are new or are developed to an elaborate degree setting new high standards in Spectrum software.

The cassette is accompanied by a lavish booklet giving thorough and very sound playing instructions. When I say you will need them, and you most certainly will need to read some of the hints given, I mean this as a compliment to the inventive depth which pervades the whole project.

Although this game is so complex it is difficult to review in the few days available there is one feature which impresses on the very first frame of the game. The graphics which show your journey through the land of Midnight are little short of stunning. The panoramic views are drawn in full perspective and consecutive moves see mountains, forests, hills, citadels, towers and fortresses rising in stature as you approach or fade to distant outlines as you leave. The screen as a whole is very well presented as if designed by a graphic artist. There is no crude split on the main screen but instead a pleasing mixture of superb views of the scene, tastefully redefined characters for the text, a heraldic shield depicting the crest under which your character fights, and highly decorative and detailed representations of the numbers and type of foe you might come across. These last are the best I’ve seen on the Spectrum.

Possibly the most pleasing aspect of the Lords of Midnight is its wonderfully coherent storyline.

You initially have control over four characters: Luxor, Morkin, Corleth the Fey and Rothron the Wise but as you progress such characters as the Lord of Shimeral and the Lord of Brith and their armies add support to the forces of the Free.

If I run through a typical game it may show you some of the great features it has and perhaps some tips if you’ve already got a copy.

My tactics, and remember you’ll need them as this is very much a strategy game, involved building up armies at the Citadel of Shimeril guarding the western route into the tranquil south-east and at the Keep of Athoril which overlooks a major route south.

At the end of the seventh day at nightfall, when looking throughout the eight compass directions, I could see the silhouettes of the towers, citadels and armies that surrounded me, my thoughts turned north to Morkin who I now knew had this very day penetrated deep into the dark Mountains of Ugrorn, into the Tower of Doom and at this very moment was wondering how he might get back with that precious object held tightly within his grasp. He had the Ice Crown.

Overall Value10

To read the full Crash review, go here:

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Dan Fortesque - "Back from the dead!"

Well he may never have gotten an official sequel after MediEvil 2 but it looks like Sir Daniel Fortesque, hero of Gallowmere, has been resurrected one more time for Platstation All-Stars Battle Royale.

You can see a video of Sir Dan in action here...

A few people have emailed me to ask me what I think to Dan appearing in the game and what do I think to this iteration of him? My answer is that I think he looks mighty fine, he looks more like "Resurrection Dan" than the original games but that is no bad thing in my book.
Having had nothing to do with this game or this iteration of Dan I couldn't tell you if they have used my original voice from the previous games for this version of Dan.

EDIT - They didn't, he sounds more like the Swedish chef from the Muppet Show than Dan Fortesque, not nearly angry or vocal enough for the old school Dan. :)

I think most of the original team (who have subsequently moved on from Sony) would be surprised if they had learned back in 1996 that a game character they were working on would be appearing in a game in the year 2012! It's good to see the old fella back, all be it in a cameo role. 

Friday, 27 July 2012

MediEvil Scrapbook Video

I was sent a link to a fan made video featuring various bits of concept art and promotional materials from the MediEvil game series. A lot of the original crayon drawings are from 1995 onwards. It's still nice to see the MediEvil games getting some love from the fans.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

H.R. Giger Museum: Alien - Prometheus

In anticipation of the release of Ridley Scott's Prometheus I though it timely to post my photographs of my visit to the H.R. Giger museum from 2007.

I have been fortunate to have been able to travel to art exhibitions and galleries around the world that have displayed the works of some of my favourite film/concept/comic book artists; Moebius, Miyazaki and way back in 2007 I travelled to Switzerland to visit the H.R. Giger Mueseum.

The Giger museum is located in the beautiful area of Gruyeres at the Chateau St. Germain in Switzerland and is worth a trip if for the journey alone.

The train journey to Chateau St Germain takes a journey through the lush mountainous countryside of Switzerland. When you reach St Germain you would scarcely believe that the "God of Biomechanics" would have chosen such a lovely location to house his nightmarish unearthly work.

Chateau St Germain is a perfectly charming small walled medeval village. After a short uphill walk from the train platform you pass through one of several gateways and once insdie you are greeted by lovely white washed rustic shuttered houses and rising cobbled streets.
Gruyeres is famous for its local cheese and there are many chances to sample this famous dairy product and have a cheeky beer or a strong coffee in one of the several cafes or restaurants.

A view from an upper floor window looking down at St Germain's high street. Chateua St Germain is situated on a hill which means you get some fabulous views of the surrounding countryside. Flanking St Germain are lovely hillside valleys, forests and snow capped montains.

But where is Giger?

After few minutes walk we finally get our first clue of the whereabouts of the Giger museum. Above the archway is a metal sign proclaiming "Museum H.R. Giger."

Before reaching the entrance to the museum, visitor are treated to some of Giger metal sculptures. I wonder what the locals think of their quaint charming village being home to such wierd otherworldly gargoyles?

Time for a quick photo opportunity next to a female scuplt that has a resemblance to the biomechanoid she creature from the film Species. Not a particularly good film it has to be said, but Giger's creation for the film was a highlight.

And finally we come to the entrance to the museum itself. The museum operates a strict over 18s policy as the contents of the museum are pretty hardcore in terms of sexual imagery. There is also a no-camera regulation that is enforced as you enter the museum.

The interior of the museum is like a cross between a high class strip club and a haunted house tour that just happens to be an art gallery.
What surprised me upon coming face to face with the artwork was the size of the paintings - a lot of them were the size of an entire wall. It is always worth seeking out original art whenever possible. Seeing original art can be quite a breathtaking event as the artist's work can have a very different impact when seen in the flesh/canvass and can often bring a whole new perspective to an artists oeuvre. Giger's original works are no exception to that rule.
Walking into and through the museum has the effect of having passed through a portal into a medeval biomechanical church - where flesh, sex and machine meld together to become something new and unique. You soon begin to forget all abot the lush green normality of the world outside, as if the colour green no longer existed.

Giger has studied as an industrial designer and this is very evident in his mechanical aspects of his work and never more so in a room that houses his metal work sculptures that he created for an aborted version of the film Dune. Giger not only paints and draws but he is a very hands on artist, building huge metal scupltures that dominate some of the rooms of the museum.

The ALIEN concept paintings occupy a room that is dedicated to the works created for that film. It was a real thrill to come face to face with the actual original concept art after seeing them only in books.
But the best thrill of all is coming face to face with the actual Alien itself. Giger has created two full size bronze statues made from the casts of the original costume he built for the film. One of the statues stands in a glass display case and the other hangs from the ceiling like a great spider ready to fall in unsuspecting visitor - or anyone found taking photographs!
The actual Alien is HUGE! It towers over you like a giant biomomechanical hybrid of a man, a shark and a large cock! The enormous height of the creature really does not come across in the film and I was really taken aback at the size and power of the creature. Even in this inert for it felt like looking at the Devil itself. The toothed phallus head of the creature struck a primordial fear into my soul, it was as if my subconcious registered this creature as something I should be running from - just as I would run from a deadly spider or a shark..
The smooth skull like face of the creature consisting mostly of gleaming metal teeth seemed to hold me in a hypnotic grip - just like a rabbit caught in the headlights of an oncoming vehicle I found it impossible to look away. I could now understand why, in the film, the characters of Brett and Lambert were frozen with terror and awe when faced with the metal giant.

The original painting of the derelict spacecraft. The actual model that was built by Giger was not on display at the museum. I think the actual model is in the hands of a private collector.

The original painting of the "pilot" of the derelict. I have always wondered about the fossilised remains of this creature and I hope the Prometheus film does not disapoint. The one thing I love about the Alien film is its "alien" nature and mystery. The other films in the series loose that factor and the alien itself is just reduced to being a simple animal-esque monster or even worse; cannon fodder.
The large sculpture of this creature that Giger built for the film was saddly vandelised and destroyed after a premier of the film back in 1979. It would have been amazing to have seen the original giant sized sculpt of this prop.

One of several concept paintings of the fully grown Alien. This actual painting that was on display was a reproduction as the original had been stollen many years before. Somewhere, a private collector has this original painting in their possession.

The alien has both a graceful beauty and a disturbing sexual quality. The creature from Alien still holds a strange fascination for me, despite being copied, plundered, diluted and abused (Alien v Predator). No other Alien movie quite captured the quality of Giger's original biomechanical design.

So... this was only a tiny portion of the painting and sculpts that were on display at the museum and I did rather focus on the Alien aspect of Giger's work.
I would have taken a lot more photographs of the museum but the strict no photography rule prevented this and back in 2007 digital cameras were abit more conspicious than they are today. I am sure with the advance of small camera phone it would now be a lot easier to snap of a few cheeky shots of the works.

The Giger Bar

After the museum it is worth checking out the Giger designed and owned bar. The bar is situated across from the museum and is a great place to have a calming beer and a tray of grilled cheese. Giger designed all of the interior to the bar and sculpted all of the fittings. It was like sitting inside the ribbed belly of some gigantic alien being.
As you sip your beer you cannot help but check out all of the details inside the bar. It really is the most visually impressive bar I have ever been to and it is free of charge to enter unlike other artist owned bars I can think of (cough - David Lynch - cough).

I loved these oversized chairs that are attatched to the bar. Sitting in one of the chairs makes you feel small like a child as your legs dangle from the chair, your feet barely touching the floor.

The detail on the furniture such as the chairs is wonderful. The leather cushions that are built into the chairs are sculpted and manufactured to resemble Giger's work, it felt criminal to even sit on them!

Check out the detail on the table legs and the stone floor. I love the aztec/circuit board stylings of the floor tiles.

When you want to get away from the bar you can retire to one of the cubby holes to chill out and relax with a beer. Perhaps not the place to go on a first date, I think the diseased stone babies built into the walls might not make the most romantic of settings.

Leaving the bar we discovered an outdoor area behing the museaum. Giger had placed some biomechanical garden furniture in the area, it was as it his work was attempting to integrate itself with the natural beauty of the countryside. I quite liked the moss and fallen leaves that had settled on the weathered stone bones.

When you have had enough of biomechanical genetalia and diseased babies you can continue to explore St Germain. We walked to the top of the hill that the village is built upon and looked out at the natural beauty of the Swiss countryside. The rolling hills, mountains and expansive blue sky were a healthy contrast to the dark nightmarish world we had inhabited for the last few hours.

I would recommend this trip for two very good reasons:

1. The Giger museum, it really is a wonderful experience to see the large original works of art.

2. The beautiful countryside of Gruyeres, it really is breathtaking and perhaps the most beautiful clean place I have ever explored.

So... Prometheus, will it live up to the legacy of Giger and Alien?

Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Dr Who Toy Photography Book

Here's a fun "hobby" project that I have been working on - The Doctor Who Monster Toy Book

A digital download book for children of all ages who enjoy toys and Doctor Who or just enjoy looking at crazy retro sci-fi toy monsters.

This is a teaser image for a digital book project that I have been putting together with a group of model makers and photographers - the history of the old classic Dr Who TV series, retold using action figures, custom made monsters and hand made model sets.

A lot of painstaking work and ingenuity has gone into the photographs that readers will be suprised and delighted by.

There will also be features on how to create playsets and miniature photographic tips making it an entertaining read for children and adults alike!

The book should be available for download in early May.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Moving on...

Just a note to say that I have moved on from Sony Computer Entertainment to pursue my own personal projects by writing and illustrating narrative work in the field of graphic novels as well as other personal projects.
I am super excited by the potential of these projects and I hope to make some official announcements later in the year and can't wait to share these projects with you all.

Please note:

From putting this website up online I have been recieving a number of emails and even CVs and demo discs from would be designers and artists regarding potential possible posts at Sony. Unfortunately I cannot help with any of these requests and you would be only wasting your time sending me demonstrations of your work in regards to working at Sony as I am now no longer connected to that studio.

Please address any enquiries of job postings to the Sony Cambridge Studio with "Mark Green" being your point of contact and not myself.

For any other possible project work or events that may be of interest to me then please email me at the email address supplied on this website.

All the best,


Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Moebius 1938 - 2012

For this week my blog will be dedicated to the memory of master artist Jean Giraud and his two alias – Gir, the gritty Wild West realist and Moebius the dream surrealist. 

Jean Giraud who died on Saturday March 10th 2012 aged 73.

Outside of my involvement with Games he was my number One inspiration in all things art.

Ever since I was a child I have loved comic strip art, there is something about the visual story board nature of the work and the clean crips lines and colours that have so captured my imagination - more so than books, music or even film (which comes a close second). As an adult I still love graphic arts but I have never really indulged in macho super hero stories, I find them a little samey and tiresome - I was always more into the fantastical abstract nature of visuals and story telling where anything was possible and things were a little less coherent and suprising, Moebius was that perfect fit.

It is true to say I am in awe of his artistic output, his work triggers all the right areas of my imagination; from the crowded futuristic streets of the Long Tomorrow, the aerial wonders of Arzak to the beatiful visions of Desert B. It is hard to sum up the sheer volume of work from this multi faceted artist who has given me and many others so some much enjoyment over the decades.

Moebius preparing giant works of art at the Transe Forme exhibition in Paris 2010.

A starting point - France

In Giraud's native France comic books, or Bande Desinee as they are known, are not seen as a niche art form as they are in the UK but are accepted as classical art and a part of the mainstream culture. You are just as likely to see an exhibition for Moebius in France, or the many other talented French BD artists as you are say, Monet, or other classical artists. French BD’s are also beautifully painted/illustrated book and are released as gorgeous A4 sized hardback volumes, they make US graphic novels look like cheap mass produced pamphlets.

Every year I take a trip to Paris to recharge my creative batteries and excitedly trawl through the Bande Desinee shops of the city in the hope of discovering a new piece of Moebius art or a book that I had never seen before.

In the UK there is no website or news channel in the English language that is dedicated to the  arena of French BDs, it is the tyranny of living in an English speaking country in that so much of our "culture" is imported from America and less so from our European neighours. For me the French BD market is a mystery that I experience like a treasure hunt, never knowing what I am going to unearth next.

In France Jean Giraud/Moebius is an art superstar and one that is unfortunately not that well know in the UK. At home we seem more obsessed with trendy celebrity designer artists of the moment than true artistic visionaries in it for the love of the art and the long haul.
Jean Giraud with David Lynch at a printing press in Paris.

I have spent hours flicking through my Moebius books or gazing at a surreal illustration, they are like a puzzle box that I vainly try to decipher. The draftmanship of his art is astounding, the visual language is beautiful - my mind is always taken on a journey when I look at Moebius' work.

My next visits to Paris will be tinged by sadness knowing that I will never see a new piece of Meobius artwork that exists beyond March 2012 but also grateful for the huge body of work he leaves behind, some of which I will attempt to highlight in the following texts.

Metal Hurlant (Heavy Metal) - Moebius

I first discovered Moebius in the pages of Metal Hurlant, which became known as Heavy Metal when published in the US. As a curious young teenager when I found a stash of the Heavy Metal magazines hidden under my parent’s bed for reasons that you can see in one of the images below. I was confused by the images that adorned the pages – the colourful highly detailed strips looked like science fiction and fantasy but they were also very pornographic, it felt very naughty and adult, a forbidden world that I should not be looking into but one which stimulated me in many ways! So I put the exotic magazines back under the bed but the images had been seared into my brain and the damage was done.

Metal Hurlant, first published in 1974 (some five years before Star Wars), was a ground breaking science fiction magazine that was formed by a group of talented French artists and writers that included Jean Giraud. The nearest comparison in the UK would be 2000AD (1977 onwards) which was very much aimed at children unlike the very adult material found in Metal Hurlant. One ground breaking strip that started life in Metal Hurlant was created by Moebius and is known as Arzak.

Arzak is a beautifully rendered world featuring a silent hero who flies across an ancient alien world atop a giant flying bird made out of concrete! Moebius was to return to this world time and time again throughout his years. Arzak had two unofficial offspring – the books and film Nausicaa of the valley of the wind (1984) and the video game series Panzer Dragoon.

Pages from Arzak. I saw the top page for sale in a gallery in Paris - it wasn't cheap!

Moebius was so taken aback by the similarities between Hayao Miyazaki’s Nausicaa and Arzak that he travelled to Tokyo to visit the fledgling Ghibli Studio and demanded to see Miyazaki. Miyazaki admitted that he was a fan of Moebius’ work and thankfully the two became great friends and even worked together on a joint exhibition in Paris (2004/5) – Miyazki/Mobius: Two Worlds, Two Hands for a Single Soul.
I still remember excitedly heading to the exhibition building and having my heart in my mouth when I saw the flags that hung along the exterior of the hall proclaiming; Miyazaki/Moebius! I spent an entire day pouring over the sketches, paintings and productions samples from Miyazaki and Moebius. It was a treat that I shall never forget.

Miyazaki discusses the work of Moebius.

Moebius was never one for simple narratives, his stories and worlds are dream like, surreal, abstract but work within a logic all of their own that seem to make sense. Do not look for super heroes or gun toting American muscle men and black cloaked villains when you read a Moebius strip. What I think continues to attract me to Moebius and Miyazaki's work is that their narrative are made up of shades of grey and not just black and white good versus evil. Each artists work has a strong connection with nature and I am sure this is what attracted the two maasters to each other's work.

Other popular strips that Moebius created within Metal Hurlant are the adventures of Major Grubert who first appeared in the story The Airtight Garage (Le Garage Hermetique). Major Grubert is a pith helmeted debonair hero who travels through different dimensions encountering a cast of strange and exotic aliens and humans with magical powers.

You can certainly see the influence Moebius had on artist Geof Darrow. Darrow later worked with Moebius on a portfolio of illustrations known as City of Fire (which is now very rare). Darrow later went to work with the Wachowiski Brothers on The Matrix movies.

Concept art in film and the influence of Moebius on film

Jean Giraud has inspired generations of artists, graphic designers, film makers and video game concept artists and designers for decades, many paying homage directly and some doing so without ever knowing it. Prominent film makers such as Ridley Scott, James Cameron, Hayao Miyazaki, Felini and Joderwosky have either worked directly with Jean Giraud or have admired his art.

Throughout my mid teens and without knowing it I was being further influenced by Giraud's creations - even thought I did not know it at the time, I was to see his work pop up in popular films like Alien, Tron, Blade Runner and even Star Wars – Lucas was a well known Moebius fan and his Tattoine world owes a lot to Moebius’s alien desert worlds.
I discovered that apart from drawing and writing countless graphic strips Giruad was also working as a concept designer in Hollywood and at Disney, he later went on to design the alien creatures and environments of James Cameron’s The Abyss and later was the conceptual basis of Luc Besson’s The Fifth Element.

Perhaps my favourite Moebius film concept design is that of the astronaut outfit worn by the doomed crew of the Nostromo in Alien. This outfit is a mix of deep sea diver and a samurai and still to this day looks fantastic - being both futuristic and retro at the same time adds to its timeless appeal. The costume design (particularly the helmet) was homaged recently in the Duncan Jones film - Moon.

Alien - The best astronaut designs ever commited to film - possibly so.

One of the most lauded science fiction films for its vision of a gritty futuristic city - Blade Runner, owes a huge debt to Moebius. Ridley Scott a self confessed Moebius fan kept copies of Heavy Metal magazine to draw on for reference during the making of Alien. The long Tomorrow which was first published in Metal Hurlant was a story co-created by Dan O-Bannon (who co-incidentally was also the original writer of Alien) and Moebius. The story became Scott's unofficial design bible for Blade Runner. In the opening intro by Ridley Scott on the recent Blade Runner special edition an original Moebius drawing can be seen on the wall behind Ridley Scott - a sneaky homage to the debt the film owes to Moebius.

Amongst the low life and trash of the 199th level of the city from the Long Tomorrow - template for Blade Runner's city.

You can see the design of the flying cars from the same story used by Luc Besson in his movie - The Fifth Element.
A piece of Alien concept art adorns the cover of a magazine.
One of Moebius' many concept designs for the ground breaking computer graphics film - Tron.

Blueberry - the work of Gir

 Before Moebius there was Jean Giraud’s other persona – Gir. Gir was the realist and he worked on the popular gritty Old West series of books - Bluebery. In stark contrast to the dream worlds of Moebius, Gir’s work is grounded in reality, full of arid canyons, mountainous landscapes, filthy Western towns, a colourful cast of outlaws, heroes and villains.
Gir had been working on the Blueberry books from the early 1960s for the French magazine Pilote, Blueberry is as popular as Tintin and Luck Luke in its native France.

The "Moebius" alias came about during the early 1970s when Giraud had a yearning to break free from the constraints of realism and move into the surreal and science fiction, so he created the name Moebius so that he could work outside of his Blueberry work. Eventually Moebius consumed Gir and in 2005 Giraud drew his last Blueberry book. 

When I visited the exhibition Moebius-Transe Forme at the Foundation Cartier in Paris I was taken aback by a huge encyclopaedic book that contained all of Gir’s Blueberry work within, it must have been thousands of highly detailed pages! The entire career of most artists would have normally have been summed up in that one gigantic volume but for Jean Giraud it was only a small portion of his overall oeuvre.

I own a massive beautiful print of this artwork, that saddly, I only bought in Paris a few weeks before Giruad's death.

A film was made of Blueberry starring Vincent Cassell as Lt Blueberry. The film featured an extended trippy drug induced dream section that was pure Moebius and not quite true to Gir. It was as the Moebius persona was too strong to resist and had seeped its way into the fabric of the film's reality. I am sure Moebius must have been very happy with that sequence in an otherwise traditional film.

Gir's humourous take on the Japanese Lone Wolf/Baby Cart manga and transplanted into the American West.
The contrast in Jean Giraud’s work is staggering, even in his later years he was still developing new styles as an artist, never being content to work in just one medium or style.

The Incal - Moebius working with Jodorowsky

Moebius would team up with Spanish film maker Alejandro Jodorowsky (El Topo, The Holy Mountain, Sante Sangre) to create a number of fascinating BD books, the most popular of which is The Incal. Moebius and Jodorowsky were a perfect team, not least because of the love of Mexico that the two shared – both Giraud and Jodorowsky had lived in Mexico for many years. Jodorowsky and Moebius seemed to exist in similar magical spiritual head spaces and together they created a whole Space Opera universe that featured a cast of characters based on Tarot cards and a story that featured metaphysics and a satire on religion.

Before working together on books the two had colaborated on an aborted film version of Dune which pre-dated Lynch's film version by some years. For Dune, Jodorowsky had recruited an amazing art team that consisted of Moebius, H.R. Giger and Chris Foss, with special effects work being directed by Dan O'Bannon. Salvador Dali was to play the Emperor of the known Universe and Pink Floyd were to provide the soundtrack. There is no doubt that this film version of Dune would have been a wild ride indeed! Due to spiralling budgets Jodorowsky's Dune was sadly lost to the limbo of development hell. The art team would stay together and move onto Ridley Scott's Alien movie.

A documentary detailing the development of Jodorowsky's Dune is to be released in 2012 and is one I cannot wait to see. The passion for the project from Jodorowsky is clear to see and hear in the following trailer...

Jodorowsky discussing his time in "development hell," a place that I too am very familiar with in my games work.

Years later Jodorowsky would try to sue Luc Besson on plagiarism grounds for his film The Fifth Element, due to its blatant similarities to The Incal, a film on which Moebius seved as a concept designer!

Further Moebius works - what dreams may come...

Moebius continued to expand the possibilities of his worlds and the spirituality they conatin within, his art taking on more organic forms as he moved away from the limitations of human experiences and even the human form itself. In later interviews Moebius said that he no longer cared for recreating accurate representations of the human form in his drawings, it was his subconscious at work and the mind should not be hindered by the technicalities of physical barriers.

In later years Moebius produced many large scale beautiful painting such as this one.

Moebius experimented with organic shapes, he draws lots of inspiration from natural rock formations and crystals.

One of many large painting commissioned from Moebius depicting Desert B.
Whilst living in Mexico for many years the young Giraud would love to explore the open landscapes and would find great inspiration in the rock formations, canyons and open skies. His love of Mexican culture, desert landscapes and his love of Wild West movies is very visible in his work.
It is no secret that for a while Giraud experimented with various drugs and was so taken aback by the visions he had under the influence of mushrooms that he vowed never to take magic mushrooms ever again.

Giraud discussing his out of body visions whilst under the influence.

Moebius and Japan

In another country where comic art is also accepted as an art form and a part of mainstream culture is Japan. I have already mentioned the influence that Moebius had had on the young Miyazaki which came in the form of Nausicaa but there was a further direct collaration between the French artist and a Japanases Manga atists and this came in the form of the book - Icaro.
Moebius had worked with Japanese artist and writer - Jiro Taniguchi, to produce Icaro, with Moebius on writing duties. I had always loved a previous book by Taniguchi by the title of The Walking man (which I highly recommend) - this was the simple tale of a Japanese salary man who one day decides to walk a different route home from work and re-discovers the simple pleasures of the world around him from when it is viewed form a different perspective. When I had learned that Moebius had collaborated with Taniguchi I could not wait to see the book.
In Icaro our hero who has the power to fly simply wants to escape his high tech prison and to able to fly above the Earth. Icaro is imprisoned in a high techh laboratory like a caged bird by a scientific organisation. The freedom to fly and experience life from a different perspective or aspect is a common theme found in both the works of Moebius and Taniguchi. The artwork and story in Icaro is impressively detailed with a delicate poetry all of its own.

Inside Moebius

 In the last few years of his life Giraud’s health began to falter and he battled to retain his eyesight and to keep on working. As Moebius he wrote and illustrated a series of books that he created without any fore planning and was a stream of consciousness that spills out over the page - titled Inside Moebius. In the books the older Giraud wrestles with all of his differing personalities and his creations. He bickers with his younger self, argues with his consciousness (who occasionally appears as an infuriating Mickey Mouse character) and journeys through various desert worlds that exist within his mind – the different deserts representing different aspects of his inner world. The books are drawn straight onto the page in the style of coloured sketches or doodles that form a narrative stream of consciousness from Giraud as he reflects on his life's work and what it all may mean. I have no idea as to if the writer and artist knew at this point that his health was ailing but the books do seem to conjur up the portrait of a man nearing the end of his work and looking back on his life with a sense of pride, whimsy, humour and possible frustrations.

The stream of consciousness that is Inside Moebius. Some sections of the book certainly give Picasso a run for his money.

Last books - Moebius

Moebius' later work began to take on a more hallucinogenic subconscious tone, none more so demonstrated in the book 40 days dans le desert B in which a hooded robed character meditates in the subconscious landscape of desert "B." In the book we are treated to amazingly detailed full page illustrations of mind bending transforming landscapes and visions as our metaphisical narrator meditates on his surroundings.
If you want a snap shot of Moebius' later visionary work then I would highly recommend tracking down this book but it is becoming increasingly harder to find.

The visions that await you in "Desert B."

Other books of note are the wonderful small sized (about A6) hardback pocket books - La Faune de mars and Major. Both are beautifully produced tiny books that feature hundreds of tiny ink drawings that Moebius had produced many years ago. After seeing the walls of the Transe Forme exhibition adorned with these hundred of tiny original drawings these two volumes have become two of my favourite books.

For his last books (that I am aware of) Moebius returned to two of his best loved characters – Major Grubert and Arzak.

Chasseur DePrime is a beautifully illustrated demonstration of the power of Moebius’ line work. Again the narrative soars through traditional story telling techniques and high levels of the abstract.

Tome 1 of – Arzak: L’Arpenteur which was all drawn digitally and shows that Giraud moved with technology. Giraud would do frequent experimental jazz shows at art festivals where he could be found drawing with his Wacom pen and computer free-styling his paintings along to experimental Jazz.

Closing thoughts on an artistic legacy...

On this page today, I have presented to you only a small fraction of Jean Giraud's life long work but I hope I have highlighted to you why I love his work so much and its influence on popular art and culture.

For me Giraud is like Salvador Dali, Picasso, Robert Crumb and Sergio Leone all stirred into one and that still wouldn’t be the whole of the man.

 My experience of Jean Giraud’s work has been like visiting an archeological dig whereupon I had uncoverd an ancient alien culture that I have little understanding of. I can see all the pieces but I have no idea how they all fit together.
I am always drawn back to Moebius’ vast amount of work in the hope of deciphering the art, of discovering some new hidden secret within those worlds of the surreal, the terrible and the beautiful. Everytime I look at Moebius' work it feels like my mind has been opened, expanded and all without the need for taking any sort of drug. The art is liberating, it allows one to soar above the world to enter a dream reality.
The fact that I have to go to France to hunt for new works as so little of Giraud's work has not been translated into English or is available outside of France (some would say that this is a criminal loss) makes the art seems even more enigmatic, exotic and mysterious. Even without the ability to read many of his works the art transcends the limitations of my langauge skills, all I need is my imagination to enjoy the pictures. Words are not needed when encountering dreams.

Do not be sad at the passing of an artist but revel in what they leave behind for the present and the future.

For further information on Jean Giraud's art you can watch the BBC documentary on Youtube, but I would like to stress that it is no comparison to actually looking through his books or seeing the actual artwork for real.

Jason Wilson - March 13th 2012