When you talk about the most important and influential names in comics, you have to include the late Jean Giraud better known by his pen-name Moebius. Held in high regard by various greats from the comic and entertainment industries – including Stan Lee, Hayao Miyazaki, George Lucas and Frank Quitely – there is no shortage of his work available for perusing, and all of it is a must-read. Occasionally though we have cases where titles slip through the cracks, including his epic The World of Edena of which the English translation was never completed, let alone collected together. Fortunately, with the launch of Dark Horse’s new Moebius Library imprint alongside Moebius Production in France, this classic is now available in its entirety for the first time in English.
Stel and Atan are interstellar repairmen trying to find a lost space station and its crew. But what they discover about the universe and themselves on the mystical planet Edena changes their lives forever and forces them into a multidimensional battle between good and evil.
Originally intended to be an advertising campaign for Citroen, Moebius found his original seven page assignment was growing page by page into something much bigger. The result of this expansion is one of the most fascinating reads you’ll see in comics and also a great showcase of Moebius’ talents. Right from the opening chapter, you get to see his amazing mechanical designs, his great sense of scale and character designs. But it is when Stel and Atan make it to Edena that he truly cuts loose as he creates a world which encompasses nature, technology and the supernatural. Beyond the beautiful backgrounds and set pieces, it is the more subtle techniques on display that are most impressive as Stel and Atan after sampling fruit and unprocessed water for the first time start to change from their rather simple character designs into the more lifelike characteristics they take on from the rest of the stories.
But it is not only Moebius’ artwork that makes this story great. The entire narrative is packed with fascinating themes that were very ahead of their time in comic publication. Stel and Edena come from a world where humanity is overly reliant on technology and processed/manufactured food which has lead them to appear as generic humans with no clear gender or defining characteristics. It is only when they find themselves forced into more natural surroundings that they become truly distinguishable and develop stronger identities in both personality and gender. It is after this transformation where they are introduced to a city where uniformity has gone astray and those who do not fit the bill (or where the standard mask) are forced to live in the tunnels below. This is only scratching the surface on what can be found when looking deeply at this comic.
Moebius fans need to have this in their collection without question, and anyone who has yet to see the works of one of the greatest talents to have worked in comics will find The World of Edena a great place to start.
Moebius Library: The World of Edena will be published by Dark Horse Comics on 10th November (£41.99, hardback, 344pp, 9781506702162)