A Psychedelic Autobiography without the Psychotropics – “Inside Moebius” Part 1 Review

As a lover of fantasy and sci-fi art & comics, it didn’t take long to learn who Moebius was. Born jean Giraud in France in France, Moebius is one of the best and most prolific artists in his genre, while also a bit of an enigma. We should consider ourselves lucky that his final long-form work is now being released in English by Dark Horse Comics, as “Inside Moebius.”

Originally written as a journal for himself to document his journey to stop smoking marijuana, the book took a life of its own and emerged as an autobiographical outlet for the legendary artist. Crafted between 2000 and 2009, we get glimpses of not just who Moebius is, but his perspective on 9/11 and his own mortality following a traumatic event. It’s an existential look at life and beyond, and using the unconscious to understand the conscious. In dreamlike states, Moebius believes one can effectively reveal more about who they are. Translating that into a state of consciousness, however, is the challenge.

Part 1 represents the first two chapters in this improvised tome, meaning Moebius never had a script or any guidelines other than to start working as quickly as possible. His rationale, be as spontaneous as he could with his thoughts and create a stream of consciousness. Moebius drew the book as “finished sketches,” without any planning and a Bob Ross approach to happy little mistakes.

Taking place inside the clearly-fictitious Desert “B,” Moebius explores this desert wasteland (while sometimes being on the outside looking in). At times, the journal can transform from a comic-style book into a deconstruction of a comic, showing you just how internal and personal this story is to the author. Makes sense, after all, because this book is not just about Moebius – it is Moebius. How many other comic creators will sit down to a salad with their past-self and characters, resulting in a nearly violent intervention about Moebius’ drug use? Who else will sit down with that same past-self and reveal their concern and worry for the future immediately after the 9/11 attacks? Moebius.

If you think of other autobiographical comics that relate to drug use, typically it’s about their minds being altered through it. “Inside Moebius” flips the concept, giving us the fantastical story of a man trying to kick the habit and going on a spiritual journey into himself while not under the influence of a mind-altering narcotic. It’s a unique reversal of the trope that comic artists are all on something, but this time it’s about getting off of that something. Moebius withdraws into himself and his iconic characters to explore his inner-workings, and look beyond at and intangible concepts like life, death, guilt, and shame.

I greatly enjoyed the fast-and-loose style of drawing in this book. It’s clearly still Moebius, but seeing the sketches adds energy and immediacy to the work. The color palette is just as classic, but instead of hyper-detailed rendering, it’s getting a sense of the person as opposed to more realistic. I have never seen a bad Moebius drawing, and these loose illustrations showed me a side that I never knew I wanted to see so badly from him. It all ties together seamlessly to show us a psyche that is trying to clean itself out from not just weed, but the negativity that bogs Moebius down in order to free himself to soar to great heights.

Inside Moebius Part 1 will be available February 7 from Dark Horse Comics, so check it out if you are a fan of the great Moebius or autobiographical works. Fans of Moebius will really enjoy this side of him, and people new to this artist who may not have been interested in his other genres may be more keen to check out this unseen side of an artist whose legacy just became even more fascinating.

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