Sunday, October 10, 2010

1987 – Moebius – The Airtight Garage

Moebius’ The Airtight Garage was volume #3 in a series of graphic novels published by Marvel Comics under their imprint, Epic Comics. This series of graphic novels reprinted Moebius’ work from the late 1970s with a translation from French to English done by Jean-Marc Lofficier.

For the 1980s, these graphic novels had a hefty price of $12.95US/$16.95 which put them out of my financial reach back then.

Apparently, The Airtight Garage took Jean “Moebius” Giraud four years to write and draw. This graphic novel presents the story in colour, which Moebius insisted either be done by himself or by assistants under his direct supervision. It also features a new translation which apparently corrected a few story inconsistencies.

Despite being popularly known as The Airtight Garage, a more accurate translation of the title is “The Garage Hermetic of Lewis Camelian”.

From Moebius’ introduction:
“With The Garage, it all started like that. I drew the first two pages with the feeling of making up a big joke, a complete mystery, something that could not possibly lead anywhere. And yet, at the same time, I was trying to create something that captured a feeling of joy and fantasy that I felt inside me, almost as if I was remembering the incomplete part of a dream.”

While I had difficult time with the story and the story-telling techniques, what kept me turning the pages was the art. Stunningly beautiful doesn’t even begin to describe Moebius’ work. Incredibly rich panels, stunning linework, and layouts with spectacular sci-fi fantasy scenes and technology. His detailed art work is balanced with simple caricatures that draw attention to themselves as your eye scans the panel. The colour work is beautifully done as well considering the technology of the mid-1980s.

I found the story difficult to follow and can honestly said I didn’t get it. The art is breathtaking, but the overall package didn’t work for me. The material felt very foreign and I’m bilingual in French! I can’t help but wonder what my 16 year-old self would have thought about the comic in 1987. He’d probably have been bummed out after dishing out $17 on this. 

An interesting homage to Will Eisner:


  1. Oh the days when Marvel comics were good! (I'm sorry, I can't help thinking that!)

    Excellent blog. I'm bookmarking it and suscribing to updates.

    Jim Shooter bless us all.

  2. That's why Moebius has to be paired up with a more cohesive writer.

    But yeah, I could look at his drawings all day.

  3. I just picked up the new collected Incal with art by Moebius. I agree with PJ Perez...Moebius benefits greatly when paired with a great writer, Jodorowsky in this case.

  4. We must remember that Moebius worked, for the Airtight Garage" with the technique of the automatic writing, without any scipted plot (that explain the erratic dreamlike sequences progression.) It was completly on purpose and kinda current in the french "Metal Hurlant" era. I always consider The Airtight garage more a graphic poem than a graphic novel. Personnaly it's my favorite from Moenius's comic books. It reminds me how the french comic industry was free at that time...

    Please forgive my bad english, i'm a french comic artist.



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