Valérian et Laureline Artist Jean-Claude Mézières Passes Away

posted on by Crystalyn Hodgkins
Prolific sci-fi artist also worked as conceptual designer on The Fifth Element film

The French newspaper Le Monde reported on Sunday that artist Jean-Claude Mézières passed away on Sunday. He was 83.

Mézières was born in Paris in 1938. He met frequent collaborator Pierre Cristin during air raids on Paris in World War II. At age 15, Mézières took classes at the School of Applied Arts, where he met fellow student Jean Giraud (who would be later known as Moebius). After high school he entered military service for a few years.

Mézières met up with Cristin again in 1965 when Mézières had moved to the United States to become a cowboy and Cristin was a professor at Utah State University. The duo began working together at that time, and then moved back to France.

Mézières and writer Cristin began publishing the science-fiction graphic novel series Valérian et Laureline in 1967. The anime studio Satelight co-produced a television series titled Time Jam: Valerian & Laureline with French animation studio Dargaud-Marina and distributor Europacor that aired in 2007. Sentai Filmworks released the anime on home video. The graphic novel series also inspired a live-action film in 2017.

The duo would go on to publish many other graphic novels together, including: La Cité des Eaux Mouvantes, L'Empire des Mille Planètes, Lady Polaris, and Atlas Cosmique: les Habitants du Ciel.

Mézières won the Grand Prize at the Angoulême International Comics Festival in 1984.

Mézières also worked as a conceptual designer on Luc Besson's 1997 film The Fifth Element. Mézières and Cristin published the Les Cercles du Pouvoir graphic novel in 1994, which featured a flying taxi that would later be included in the film.

Sources: Le Monde (Frederic Potet), The Beat (Dean Simons) via @TheSpaceshipper

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