Moebius sued Luc Besson over Incal & 5th Element similarities- Was Moebius justified?

Case here (they lost) but did they have a point re The Fifth Element derivative copying of The Incal?

I saw the Fifth Element once in the theatre and once recently after renting it. I have read (several times; it’s one of my favourite SF books) all six volumes of The adventures of John Difool (that’s the title of the series in French). I never noticed that there was a similarity. From a layman’s point of view, I don’t think the accusations are justified - but what exactly is the accusation anyway? Plagiarism? Do you have a link with more details?

I’ll have to rent the movie again and compare it with the comic books.

What I find strange with this lawsuit, is that Moebius was involved with the making of The Fifth Element under his real name (Jean Giraud).

You rang? :cool:

[Spoiler alert]

Of course I’m a big fan, but I really don’t see the similarities. You had an androgyne
who helps save the world-but then not really because in the Incal the world is
transcended and reborn (as is our intrepid hero).

There’s no counterpart to John in the movie at all-sure you have Bruce Willis but he’s
just playing Bruce Willis like he usually does.

I found this quote amusing:

"Many people who have already read The Incal in French ask if it inspired The Fifth Element. It hasn’t been reported yet, but Humanoids is involved in a lawsuit right now with Luc Besson over The Fifth Element and The Incal. There are panels in Volumes 3 and 4 that are the exact same shots as in the movie. In fact, one of the original French books was titled ‘The Fifth Essence.’ If you want to have fun one day, pick up The Incal Volumes 3 and 4 when they come out and sit down and watch The Fifth Element. It’s like having a storyboard for the movie in comic book form.”

Only thing I can see then is some visual similarities-certainly in terms of plot there’s
virtually nothing.

Now I would like to see a real adaptation of the Incal , but that’s
another thread.

You’re right, detop, I had never noticed that in the credits (or maybe he didn’t appear in the on-screen credits?) IMDB says:


Jean Giraud - designer (as Jean ‘Moebius’ Giraud)

Yeah, that’s a big “WTF” for me too. I assumed he was responsible for the similarities.

Mobius was involved from a fairly early stage once Besson decided to go ahead with his long-cherished idea of making a big sf film; in ‘The Making of The Fifth Element’ book from Titan Publishers, which came out at the same time as the film, he says that to get Mobius onboard, he apparently related the entire film as he envisaged it to Mobius rather than give him a rough screenplay to read.
Besson also says he discussed the film a lot with him (and Mezieres) finalising the script and characters and the look of it.

At one point later in the book Mobius says something like, ‘I would draw and draw and Luc would tell me when it was right’. Mobius also says that, to him, the Bruce Willis character was a cross between Lieutenant Blueberry and John DiFool. At the the time he seemed perfectly happy that this was so.

I can check the exact quotes and dates this evening once I’m home if anybody asks…

He did appear in the credits. In fact when I saw it in the theater, I commented on that fact (also that the aliens seemed designed by Mézières). But on the link provided by astro, it says that it is Humanoids suing, so maybe he didn’t have a direct hand in it ?

I got the Moebius suing part from the wiki note on Incal

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