The Profound Influence of Moebius on Cyberpunk Art and Aesthetics #cyberpunk

In this series, we’ve talked about the influence of Japanese anime on first-generation cyberpunk and the influence of the early nineties MTV series, Aeon Flux, on second-generation cyberpunk, but there’s one comic artist who had more influence over the development of cyberpunk than anyone else: French artist and illustrator, Jean Henri Gaston Giraud (who worked under the name of Moebius).

The influence of Heavy Metal magazine in the 70s, on all envelope-pushing sci-fi and fantasy, cannot be overstated. This adult comic art magazine was light-years ahead of its time. It’s hard to describe now how innovative, bleeding edge, and shocking it was. And one of the most potent muses haunting its transgressive pages was Moebius.

In this video on Cartoonist Kayfabe, Ed Piskor and Jim Rugg discuss the influence of Moebius and Heavy Metal, on comics and sci-fi in general, and specifically on cyberpunk. They pay special attention to the July and August 1977 issues, arguably the most important issues in the magazine’s history. These two issues feature a number of Moebius comics, but the heart of them is two-part story, “The Long Tomorrow,” written by Dan O’Bannon with art by Moebius. That one piece is often cited as a direct influence on Blade Runner, Neuromancer, John Carpenter’s Escape from New York, and much of the c-punk to follow. Not only was the art hugely influential, but O’Bannon’s story mixed gumshoe detective noir with a near futuristic setting, i.e. “high-tech, low-life.”

[Contains cartoon nudity and adult themes]

And then, of course, there’s The Fifth Element, which is pure Moebius as he and his daughter did the production design for the film.

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