In 1991, Jean Henri Gaston Giraud (aka Moebius) and a team of animators created this gorgeous short pilot for a film called Starwatcher. According to this Wired feature that Mark wrote in 1994, "Starwatcher was slated to be the first feature-length animated movie to be made with 3-D computer graphics. But the film's producer died in a car accident, and shortly thereafter it was discovered that the French production company bankrolling the film was FF85 million (US$15 million) in debt. (Many suspected the car accident was no accident.)"
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Shedworks is making a video game and I don't care what it's about or whether it's "good" because it looks like Jean "Moebius" Giraud drew every frame of the teaser animations, and I am sold. Emerging from a shed in North London, the unnamed project is by Gregorios Kythreotis and Daniel Fineberg.
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When you are trying to imagine the details of an alternative world, try Moebius. Moebius (one of the pseudonyms for the French artist Jean Giraud) practically invented the now-common idea of a well worn future – that place far ahead that is gritty, patched up, organic, and old and new at the same time. Think Star Wars, cyberpunk, Blade Runner. Moebius is a fabulist. His strange drawings, designs and comics have shaped movies such as The Fifth Element and Alien, and influenced directors such as Fellini and Miyazaki. Moebius was a prolific artist, starring in his own series Heavy Metal, and appeared in many other publications, yet little of his work remains in print in English. Out of all Moebius’ (Giraud’s) work, I suggest this book, 40 Days in the Desert. Long out of print, and rare even when first published, this is an extended visual poem. The version of the book that I have is Japanese, but that is okay because there are no words in this story. It is timeless and eternal and other-worldly. With thin sure lines, this wordless sequence tells a mythical story in some alien place. There are about 100 drawings depicting surreal worlds with an ominous tension. Something is about to happen, or just happened, but you are not sure what. All you know is that you have never seen anything like this, and that maybe it is true. It makes me want to unleash my imagination.
40 Days in the Desert
2009, 152 pages, 6.5 x 10.5 x 0.8 inches
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A problem crops up when filmmakers try to adapt epic fantasy worlds to the big screen—particularly beloved, richly-imagined literary ones. Sacrifices must be made. Characters are cut, and plotlines are re-routed. Scenes and places don’t match what readers have pictured with their minds. Fans of the original book cry foul.
In the case of director Alejandro Jodorowsky, his vision for Frank Herbert’s masterwork Dune was so over the top, so surreal (and, at times, so absurd), it probably would have blown the minds of critics before they had a chance to grumble.
That is, if Jodorowsky’s translation and transmogrification of Dune had ever been made. It never was.