Saturday, March 10, 2012
In 1993 I was working at Geppi's Comic World in Baltimore's Inner Harbor - a small, traditional superhero comics shop.
It was a quiet day in the store when someone walked in and began browsing the shelves with his back to me.
I said, "If you need help finding anything, just let me know."
"I do, actually," came the reply.
The voice sounded familiar, and I immediately began trying to place it. Just as I had pretty much decided it was the voice of one of my uncles, the person speaking turned around and it was Robin Williams. He was in town filming the "Bop Gun" episode of Homicide: Life On The Street (a performance for which he would later receive an Emmy nomination).
"Do you know if you happen to have," he asked, "any Moebius?"
After taking a moment to calm down upon unexpectedly coming face to face with the actor, I knew what he was looking for and where to find it - it was shelved with all the weird, European comics stuff. We didn't have a ton of it, but we had enough for him to build a respectable stack.
"Have you ever checked any of this guy's stuff out?" he asked.
And aside from thumbing through it, I hadn't. I stupidly considered it "that weird European, sci-fi/fantasy Heavy Metal-ish stuff" and pretty much just ignored it.
I said, "Not really."
He told me, "You really should, his art is amazing."
I promised I would. Williams pretty much bought us out of our Moebius books, made a joke about Batman and Robin, and took off.
I then thumbed through a couple of the titles left behind and immediately revised my take on Moebius - from ignorant indifference to a persistent wish that more of his work would be collected and released in America.
I was captivated by the sheer beauty of vision and obsessive precision of linework of Moebius' art. Reading his books opened up a world of European masters for me that if not for him (and Robin Williams) I may have otherwise missed.
Moebius (aka Jean Giraud) died today in Paris of cancer at the age of 73.