Moebius Library: The World of Edena is the first volume in Dark Horse’s new Moebius Library, showcasing the legendary French cartoonist. Long unavailable in English, it's the American welcome he deserves with a spectacular hardcover album of the entire Edena saga, annotated with notes from the artist and his studio. Mike Richardson, publisher and founder of Dark Horse, takes us inside this remarkable book.
Jean Henri Gaston Giraud, better known to American comics fans as Moebius, was one of the founders of Les Humanoïdes Associés and ultimately of the French science fiction, horror, and fantasy anthology Métal hurlant (published in English as Heavy Metal). It was within those pages that I first became aware of Jean’s work. I cannot overstate the impact his work had on artists and fans throughout the world.
Jean established himself in France with the western series Blueberry, which he created under the name Gir. Though I’m a fan of all of his work, my own favorites were his classic Arzach and The Airtight Garage series, which took a dreamy, surreal (and groundbreaking) approach to science fiction and fantasy.
In the late eighties I was able to persuade him to come to Portland for a signing at one of my comic shops promoting Dark Horse’s release of his The Horny Goof & Other Underground Stories. In those days, Jean, working under his Moebius alias, was a rather mysterious, even “metaphysical” presence in the comics world. Our success with that first publication led to a line of books that included Arzach & Other Fantasy Stories, The Man from the Ciguri, Madwoman of the Sacred Heart, H.P.’s Rock City, and Exotics, as well as regular contributions to our two anthologies, Dark Horse Presents and Cheval Noir.
After Jean’s passing in 2012, his former collaborator, Geof Darrow, arranged for me to sit down with his wife, Isabelle, and Claire Champeval. After much discussion over the following months, we came up with a plan to work together with the goal of presenting Jean’s work in a series of high-quality books.
Moebius Library: The World of Edena is the first collaboration between Dark Horse and Moebius Production and features a previously unpublished chapter of the Edena Cycle. The World of Edena is a perfect example of Jean’s unique style and showcases the extraordinary vision he possessed as both artist and storyteller.
Early in The World of Edena, we see interstellar repairmen Stel and Atan driving an ancient Citroën into a city built around a strange, mesmerizing pyramid. Although the tale began as a short story commissioned by a French automobile manufacturer, Moebius found the two characters and his subject matter so interesting that he spent decades expanding his initial concept and turning it into a complete graphic novel.
Stel is subjected to frequent mystical visions and confusing hallucinations. The power of lucid dreaming and the use of our dream states for spiritual enlightenment are ideas explored throughout The World of Edena.
The five chapters in The World of Edena were drawn during different times in Moebius’s long, eventful career. As Moebius continued the story, working chapter to chapter, he would often revisit moments from earlier chapters to bring unity to the entire project. On this page, we get a glimpse of a character who doesn’t return for another sixty-two pages—but the Buddha-like child seen here is an important figure in the chapter titled “The Goddess.”
After months of wandering through Edena’s strange forests and deserts, Stel is finally reunited with his spacefaring friend Atan—now changed into the beautiful, mystical Atana. Identity is another theme that Moebius explores heavily in The World of Edena.
A small group of brainwashed patriarchal-cult members known as “snufflers” argue in the desert. These stylized characters are examples of Moebius’s flair for unique design.
“SRA”—the final chapter in this Moebius epic—is presented in English for the first time. It completes Moebius’s main story about the paradise planet Edena, allowing readers to finally finish this circular story and return to the beginning immediately, if they choose to do so.
An exceptionally psychedelic page, as our main character Stel finds himself living in several different realities at the same time, with the walls between these dimensions finally breaking down.
Stel struggles to regain all of his memories as he heals and prepares to resume his quest in the city of SRA, which is filled with Lilliputian intellectuals and scientists.