The vicious COVID-19 pandemic has claimed the life of one of comics' greatest talents, Juan Giménez, who died yesterday at 76 in the Argentine city of Mendoza due to complications caused by the rampant virus. The artist's death was confirmed by his longtime publisher, Humanoids.
Giménez was one of the most acclaimed artists of his generation and was extremely instrumental in the far-out, sci-fi style seen in Heavy Metal and Métal Hurlant magazines, publications his work was prominently featured in starting in the late '70s. He went on to conjure up two legendary projects, the military sci-fi spectacle The Fourth Power, then the grand space opera saga The Metabarons, created with writer and filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky beginning in 1992, and published by Humanoids.
"I closely collaborated with Juan Giménez for 10 years and together, we created The Metabarons saga,” Jodorowsky said in an official statement. “What facilitated my task as we offered him to work on the complex world of the Metabarons was that he already embodied the immortal No-Name, the last Metabaron. In my unconscious, Juan Giménez cannot die. He will continue on, drawing like the master warrior that he was."
Juan Antonio Giménez López was born in Mendoza on Nov. 16, 1943. He attended Mendoza's National University of Cuyo’s School of Arts and Design before advancing his craft at the Faculty of Fine Arts in the University of Barcelona. His intricately detailed renderings of fantastic decorative machines and futuristic spacecraft were highly influential, and his signature style became quickly admired in numerous Italian and Spanish comics prior to aligning himself with Jodorowsky for Humanoids' The Metabarons.
This ambitious "Game of Thrones in Space" epic ran in eight volumes until 2003, and furthered ideas lifted from Jodorowsky's failed attempt to bring Frank Herbert's Dune to the big screen. It's a continuation of Jodorowsky and Mœbius’ provocative space opera, The Incal, which chronicled the tale of near-immortal galactic warriors, and still stands today as one of the monumental achievements in comics history.
“There are many artists who are adored by their fans, but only a select few are equally revered by their peers,” Humanoids U.S. Publisher Mark Waid said in a statement. “Juan Giménez was the latter, able to give us not only epic moments of space opera but subtle and moving moments of humanity. Worldwide, the comics community mourns for him.”
Creators and artists around the world, including Neil Gaiman, Mike Mignola, Matias Bergara, and Francesco Francavilla, paid tribute to Giménez on Twitter: