Loss of Inspiration

March 16, 2012

Recently, two giants in the comic book art and movie design world have passed away. Ralph McQuarrie, who brought the visual look to “Star Wars” and its universe to life passed away on March 3. Shortly after that, Jean Giraud, or Moebius to many of devoted fans, also passed from a long term illness.

I am sad at both of their passing. Both were inspiring artists at one point or another influenced my foray into art. The lasting impression they leave behind is enormous.

When I watch the original triolgy of “Star Wars” episodes, I could not help but think of Mr. McQuarrie’s work. The shape and feel of all backdrops, the look of the characters, the settings of the worlds, all have roots with what he came up with. All three movies highlighted his work with its futuristic industrial design of most everything. His work was not limited there, as he was the chosen artist to help conceptualize other famous movies, such as “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” “ET, the Extraterrestrial,” and “Jurrasic Park.”  What stood out in my mind were his conceptual illustrations of Darth Vader and an early version of Luke Skywalker, and the X-Wing fighters. ‘Awesome’ was the term I described these illustrations with when I had first encountered them. I still describe them the same way.

I had no idea that he helped create the look and feel of the television series “Battlestar Galactica.” I had always thought “Star Wars” and “Battlestar Galactica” had a certain aesthetic that was the same, I just couldn’t put my finger on it. Now a million years later, I know why.

I have read many of Moebius’ work through “Heavy Metal” magazine and the many other publications. I was introduced to his work by my comic book loving buddy Jeff, who was a huge fan of his work.  I was able to read his copies of “The Airtight Garage,” “Arzach,” and “Blueberry.” I had once owned a copy of the “The Silver Surfer” collaboration with Stan Lee.

The most enduring impression that Moebius’ work left on me was how graceful it was. The art defined the story just as words would describe the scene. “Blueberry” was rough and coarse as you would expect from a western. “Arzach” was fantasy with graceful lines and a hint of detail here and there to remind you that it was not flat space that you are looking at.  The combination of his illustrative narrative along with collaborative efforts of many famous authors like Stan Lee and Alejandro Jodorowsky made his work a powerhouse in the fantasy art and comic book art scene.

When you lose a source of inspiration, it is gut-wrenching for a time. They won’t be able to create more of the fantastic works that keeps you inspired and enjoy as a fan of art. They haven’t really left us, as their work has become their legacy and continue to inspire artists for generations to come. There is an incredible amount of their work available to be seen and discovered. To celebrate their lives, go and find them, and find what inspired you as an artist or fan.


One comment

  1. […] Adventure > Loss of Inspiration — reflections on the recent death of Ralph MacQuarrie and of […]

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