seems that both William Gibson and Ridley Scott were, at the time,
both very much influenced by much of the visual styles and artwork
featured in the magazine "Heavy Metal", notably the work
by French artist Jean Giraud, AKA "Moebius". One story
in particular, called "The Long Tomorrow", written by
Dan O'Bannon and drawn by Moebius, was a major influence on the
visual design of BR. Ironically, this story was in fact a parody
of early American Film Noir.
Gibson, in an interview by Lance Loud in an article on the 10th
anniversary of "Blade Runner" for the magazine "Details"
(October 1992 issue), had the following to say:
"About ten minutes into Blade Runner,
I reeled out of the theater in complete despair over its visual
brilliance and its similarity to the "look" of Neuromancer,
my [then] largely unwritten first novel. Not only had I been beaten
to the semiotic punch, but this damned movie looked better than
the images in my head! With time, as I got over that, I started
to take a certain delight in the way the film began to affect the
way the world looked. Club fashions, at first, then rock videos,
finally even architecture. Amazing! A science fiction movie affecting
"Years later, I was having lunch with Ridley, and when the
conversation turned to inspiration, we were both very clear about
our debt to the Metal Hurlant [the original Heavy Metal magazine]
school of the '70s--Moebius and the others. But it was also obvious
that Scott understood the importance of information density to perceptual
overload. When Blade Runner works best, it induces a lyrical sort
of information sickness, that quintessentially postmodern cocktail
of ecstasy and dread. It was what cyberpunk was supposed to be all
Also, here is an excerpt from an introduction Gibson wrote for
the graphic novel adaptation of his own "Neuromancer"
"So it's entirely fair to say, and I've
said it before, that the way Neuromancer-the-novel "looks"
was influenced in large part by some of the artwork I saw in 'Heavy
Metal'. I assume that this must also be true of John Carpenter's
'Escape from New York', Ridley Scott's 'Blade Runner'", and
all other artefacts of the style sometimes dubbed 'cyberpunk'. Those
French guys, they got their end in early."