Among the many treasures I found at Floating World Comics in Portland was a box, right next to the cash register, with packs of Moebius trading cards. I asked owner Jason Leivian about them and he just laughed. I bought two packs.
I opened one of the foil-wrapped packs and found ten cards worth of delightful weirdness, with scans of Moebius’ artwork on one side, and a brief description of the subject on the back.
This is all real. We live in a world in which a trading card company — Comic Images of New Jersey — released a set of about a hundred Moebius cards in 1993. And now, more than two decades later, a comic shop owner in Oregon had a box of them for sale.
Jean Giraud, the artist best known by the pen name Moebius, passed away in 2012 (Kim Thompson wrote this touching and expansive obituary for TCJ.com.).
Here’s a sample of what was in the pack I opened (I still can’t bring myself to open the second one.):
Here is what was on the back of the card:
28. THE CONTROLLER
One of the directors of the ARMJOURTH secret police, he was the first to spot SAMUEL MOHAD and OKANIA on the splendid steam-powered train.
APPEARANCES: The Airtight Garage (1976-79) (in Moebius 3)
68: THE LIPPONS
The Lippons were small, peace-loving winged creatures who lived on Barascalpoe, and were hunted by men until they turned the tables.
APPEARANCES: Christmas on Lipponia (1977) (in Moebius 4)
The image at the top of this post is one I didn’t get in my pack, but wish I had. This is, of course, the artist himself:
In the history of comics and trading cards, the early 1990s were a time of ridiculous excess that often was forgiven by a market overheated with collectors who saw just about every new thing as an investment opportunity. By 1993, when Moebius trading cards made their debut, the bust was just arriving.
I first encountered Moebius in Marvel’s Epic Comics reprints of The Airtight Garage. I loved the pictures, but didn’t know what to make of the meandering storytelling.
I didn’t get hooked on Moebius’ work until after college, starting with Blueberry, the Western serial he did with writer Jean-Michel Charlier, and then with The Incal, the gobsmacking sci-fi masterpiece he did with Alejandro Jodorowsky.
Dark Horse Comics has done the English-speaking world a great favor with its relatively new reprint series of Moebius’ work, saving fans from overpaying for out-of-print editions. Now, if only we can get the Blueberry material back in print in English.
Note: I got the images above from the Flickr page of jejger, where you can see scans of the whole card set.