dear god, there’s more of this stuff.
It’s been a year since Dylan died. I don’t know about you guys but when someone is taken from me they eventually become iconic. The memories of those people build into a single laser-focused point of reference. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not. Everything I think and feel about Dylan is slowly being distilled, by my memory, into a single phrase, a paragraph. I imagine with coming years, that paragraph will get filtered into a more succinct idea, a word. As yet, I can’t know what that word will be, he was a friend, a fellow cartoonist, a publisher, a mentor, a compatriot. Dylan was a good guy and I can’t stomach the notion of losing the nuances of what I liked about him.
The day Dylan died I was lying on my stomach on a sun washed, hardwood floor, drawing comics all day. I was living with a girl and her daughter and the familial sound of stomping feet and stern mom-voice was coming from downstairs. I was pretty happy that day even though I remember much of that time being stressful and crazy. I was watercoloring pages for an adventure comic that will eventually get done. It was fun to work in color, I was happy with the way things were turning out. I never have the ringer of my phone on. I’d put the thing in the corner of the room and wouldn’t check my messages until that night. I was really into working on the new story so the well-known urge to kill time through the internet was not with me.
I found out Dylan died through twitter. Not my preferred way of getting bad news. I checked my phone and there were a few messages, all with the same message. I made a phone call to a friend. We were both in shock and didn’t know what to say. My immediate thought was to call Dylan’s wife and offer any help I could but I figured those phone lines were pretty well tied up. I told my girl the news and went for a walk in the park. It was starting to get cold and I felt very, very alone.
I still feel that way.
I didn’t see Dylan a whole lot the last year of his life. I lived above the bad apple (the store Dylan co-owned) for a while and, after that, I stayed in the neighborhood so maybe I got to see him a little more than others. He was always a busy guy, always working and I am too in my way, sitting at my drawing table, not getting out much. Even in those brief moments of seeing him on my way to morning coffee or as he rushed out the door with a trolley full of books, I valued the time. I always felt happy after seeing that dude.
this morning I was browsing through a tumblr site dedicated to Moebius. You know the guy, he did a bunch of cool shit in Heavy Metal and designed stuff for Tron. Those are nowhere near his most impressive credits but I’m pretty sure that’s where Joe Average would know him from. anyway check out the link and see his great, psychedelic work.
that tumblr has examples of a meme that grew out of a drawing Paul Pope did copying a moebius drawing. I was originally going to draw a picture of Blueberry or Arzach or some other popular Moebius character but seeing the meme made me think I should contribute. plus it’s always nice to draw sexy ladies.
the reason for posting this is, I got to talk with Moebius briefly, at one of the San Diego comic shows. It was in the late nineties some time. I can’t remember exactly what year. It was one of the first I’d attended and the novelty and circus atmosphere was inspiring to me. The movie crowd had already moved into comic-con by that time but it wasn’t as egregious as it is now. I paraded around the convention floor with the Troma people for about twenty minutes, that was fun. I drunkenly, and not-at-all seriously, asked Julie Strain if she wanted to get a beer with me. She shot me down, of course. I hadn’t known at the time she was married to Kevin Eastman or I might have spent more time talking to him and less time making an ass of myself.
The highlight of the convention that year was talking with Moebius. I walked by his booth a few times and noticed no one was taking notice of him. He’s sort of a modest, unassuming guy but I expected there to be a line of some sort. Maybe I just caught him during a dry patch of the day or maybe he just wasn’t the guy people were coming to comic-con to see. This was still during the hayday of Image comics and everyone was crowding around Whilce Portacio.
I wandered up to him and said hi. I’m usually an awkward guy and I usually don’t approach people but I was a little drunk and I’d just read an interview with him so I felt like I had something I could talk about. Even though I’d read the interview, I didn’t know much about his career. I certainly didn’t know he’d worked on a version of Dune and I’d only read a few of his comics in Heavy Metal. I think at that time I hadn’t even read his Silver Surfer comic, which is probably his most widely seen comic in America. The interview mentioned Moebius’ interest in psychedelics and the work of Castenada (who I’d read a bit of) so I started asking him about that stuff. He didn’t give any earth shattering answers and I’ll be damned if I can remember anything he said verbatim but I was impressed with how open we was to me. I said about ten words to him and he just flew into a stream of calm and articulate thoughts. A few years later I realized his personality at that time seemed a lot like his drawings, assured, clear, brilliant, beautiful. Maybe he just happened to be on top of his game and he’s really just a dumb shit every other day but I find that hard to believe. It also didn’t hurt that I was an aspiring cartoonist, eager to hear what any older, successful guy had to say to me. I hold in high regard, all the people I talked to at shows back then. Moebius for me, is toward the top of that list because he’d been around for a long time and he still seemed to be enjoying his life.
I asked him about working on Alien. He said he didn’t do much work on it which I found hard to believe. He spoke well of everyone involved in the film and said he liked the movie. He had nice things to say about Giger, who, at the time, I couldn’t stand. I think Moebius might be the only reason I ever gave Giger a fair shake (I’m still not so keen on most of his work though)
I’m not very good of speaking highly of people, I think I get too sentimental but until I find out he secretly likes to smother kittens or something, I’ll have nothing but good things to say about the guy.