Jean Giraud 1938-2012

By Armand Cabrera

The French artist Jean Giraud, who went by the pen name Moebius died on March 10th 2012 after a long illness, he was 73.

I was first introduced to his work in the 70’s when Heavy Metal, the American reprint of Metal Hurlant hit the stands here in the USA. For someone raised on American comics his work was boundary stretching and beautiful. He drew like no one else and elevated comics to an adult level in theme and content. His line work was precise and seemed effortless, like Fred Astaire with a pen; you knew it was a lot harder than it looked.

He was not a super hero guy, although after modest success here in America he did draw some super hero comics for Marvel. He had an exquisite sense of design and color, a wry sense of humor and a seemingly endless well of creativity. He worked doing design for movies like Alien, The Abyss and The Fifth Element. He got his start drawing Blueberry, a western but is primarily known in America for his series The Airtight Garage and Arzach

I had the pleasure of meeting him at a show of his work in the San Francisco Bay Area in the Nineties. There were 100 pieces of art on display at the show, everything from comic pages to film design to personal work.

He was soft spoken and gracious. He seemed genuinely surprised that people loved his work and you felt he really didn’t care about success or fame and would much rather be drawing. He was an artist’s artist in that sense.

Review: The Dead Rider Crown of Souls written and illustrated by Kev Ferrara

By Armand Cabrera

As an artist, I’m interested in process, for me it is where the art is in any creative endeavor. In my experience great artists fall in love with the process of creation and do all of the hard work it takes to make something worthwhile.

My interests in art are not just in traditional painting, I love the various forms of expression people use to tell stories including comics.

Kev Ferrara has created a 112 page graphic novel called The Dead Rider Crown of Souls.   At first glance the story will remind you of the old EC Comics or the Warren Publications of Eerie and Creepy. It is well written and beautifully illustrated by Kev.  It’s obvious from a look at his work Kev cares about process and he has put his heart and soul into this project and for that reason it is one of the most satisfying graphic novels I’ve read in a long time. 

The design and execution of the book is of the highest quality. Everything is thought out and made to enhance the storytelling to keep the reader immersed in the tale.  Like I’ve said it shares a lot in common with early comic greats like Al Williamson, Bernie Wrightson, Angelo Torres, Wally Wood but also their influences from Pyle and Brandywine traditions to Edwin Austin Abbey and Joseph Clement Coll. Kev is not copying those artists though, he is matching the quality of their creations with his own artistic style.

I wrote to Kev and asked if he could send images of some of his process so I could share it here and he was gracious enough to provide an example that show his approach and explain what he does to complete a page.

He says he likes to start with a sketch usually in ballpoint pen or a tech pen but sometimes in pencil. The point of these small sketches is to capture the action/feeling/emotion and get near the drawing stage. 

These sketches are almost always smaller than they will be in the finished drawing. When he is satisfied with this he blows them up in the computer creates an arrangement of the sketches so they read well and explain the action of the scene. 

Then he prints the full page of sketches at a really high contrast and traces it off onto illustration paper at 10 x 15, sketching the basics in pencil then really refines the drawing and then inks it.

 Once these stages are finished he scans the pages back into the computer colors them in Photoshop and letters them in Adobe Illustrator. 

The Dead Rider is in stores now or it can be ordered online, 112 pages filled with beautiful art and an interesting story and well worth the price.