In American comics you've got your Jack Kirby and you've got your Steve Ditko. The number of artists who aren't influenced by them is infinitesimally small. But there has been, over the last thirty years, a slowly growing contingent of superhero artists who use another guy as their touchstone -- hero of
French comics Jean Giraud or, to be more precise, Moebius, as he prefers to be known when talking about his SF and fantasy work. He only really came to prominence on this side of the Atlantic around 1978-9, when the English translations of Métal Hurlant
began to take off in the States, but within a few years you could see his influence on the likes of Walt Simonson and Art Adams, an influence that has spread down to 2011 in the drawings of Frank Quitely, Geof Darrow, and others -- not least because his style seems to be a natural starting point for, bitte Gott hilf uns
, imitators of Rob Liefeld to up their game. And let us not forget his international influence: Miyazaki's Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind
manga is noticeably Moebius-like, though mixed with Miyazaki's own genius it's one of the few pieces of such work that can stand toe-to-toe with the Frenchman's best and not be knocked flat to the canvas.
But as much as I love his art, what drives me absolutely mental about Moebius is his taste in stories. While acknowledging that it is just a matter of taste, I can't stand the preciousness of, say, Alejandro Jodorowsky, and that's the sort of thing Moebius returns to again and again with all of his collaborators and in his own writing. It's maybe tilting at windmills in a genre that co-opts everything fantastic and turns it into stew, but I do prefer straightforward story-telling.
This brings me to Silver Surfer: Parable
, for which Moebius supplies the art and Stan Lee provided the story. I don't think I'm going against the critical grain to say that Lee's muse had long since wandered away when this was printed in 1989. I can see that you'd have something interesting if this had been made twenty years prior to that (and preferably twenty-five), but Lee's writing had collapsed in a thick dust cloud of ponderousness and self-seriousness by the time this made it to print.
So I'm not going to try very hard to sum up the story here, particularly the second plot arc. It soberly informs us that religious leaders are often interested in their own power and people rely on religion to avoid thinking, which is bad, m'kay? And it does so with a singular lack of finesse. Instead I'll focus on the Surfer and Galactus and the A-Plot, which...( ...brings a lot of the pretty )