“I think everyone who works in the field gets asked this. What does it matter how little or long it takes to do anything? If I did a page in an hour would, that make me better or worse? If it takes me two weeks, does that make me better or an idiot for taking so much time? The only thing that really matters is the result, I would say.”
As if Comic-Con International attendees didn’t have enough on their dance cards, here’s one more thing: Geof Darrow is debuting his “first-ever” published sketchbook in San Diego. Titled DMFAO, this limited-edition book is a mix of covers, commissions and rarely seen artwork Darrow has produced recently for U.S., European and Japanese publications. DMFAO will be available at Darrow’s booth (#5000), but he has no plans to sell it online or by mail-order.
Darrow got his start in comics with another art collection (a portfolio of prints) with Moebius in 1984 called La Cité Feu. Darrow met Moebius while the French artist was working on 1982′s Tron, and ended up being introduced to Frank Miller at Moebius’ home, which led to several collaborations over the years.
The artist is in the middle of a return to comics with new Shaolin Cowboy stories at Dark Horse, and he’s creating covers for Marvel’s Deadpool. Here’s a full look at DMFAO‘s cover, along with some recent work Darrow has put online:
Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy at our local comic shop based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on a splurge item.
If I had $15, I’d dutifully pick up Dark Horse Presents #17 (Dark Horse, $7.99). With all the stories and the variety of genres, this is a comics haul all under one roof. This month’s issue has a great looking Carla Speed McNeil cover, and inside’s star looks to be Richard Corben adapting an Edgar Allan Poe story. Beat that, comics! After that I’d do an Image two-fer with Multiple Warheads: Alphabet to Infinity #1 (Image, $3.99) and Invincible #96 (Image, $2.99). On the Multiple Warheads front, I’ve been salivating over this ever since it was announced – I bought the premature version of this back when it was published by Oni, and it’s built up in my mind as potentially greater than King City … and I loved King City. In terms of Invincible, I feel this book has the best artists working in superhero comics – and the writing’s not to shabby either. They’re doing a lot of world-building here, and having Cory Walker join with Ryan Ottley on this essentially split book makes it the highpoint of the series so far.
If I had $30, I’d double back to Image and get Prophet #30 (Image, $3.99). Of all the prophets, I love Old Man Prophet the best – and this issue looks like a mind-bender. After that I’d get Ghost #1 (Dark Horse, $2.99). Kelly Sue DeConnick and Phil Noto look like a dream team and Dark Horse really scored a coup by getting them together on this book. I was a big fan of the original series (Adam Hughes!) so I’m excited to see if this new duo can make it work in a modern context. Third up would be Secret Avengers #33 (Marvel, $3.99). Make no mistake, I love that Rick Remender is so popular now that he’s graduated to the upper echelon of books, but I’m remorseful he’s having to leave his great runs on this, Uncanny X-Force and Venom. This Descendents arc is really picking up steam. Lastly, I’d get National Comics: Madame X #1 (DC, $3.99). I’m a fair-to-middling fan of Madame Xanadu, but the creators here – Rob Williams and Trevor Hairsine – mean it’s a Cla$$war reunion! Love that book, love these guys, and love my expectations here.
If I could splurge, I’d splurge all over Shaolin Cowboy Adventure Magazine (Dark Horse, $15.99). Can DH do two excellent anthologies? We’ll see… but fortunately they’ve got Geof Darrow’s Shaolin Cowboy to lead the way in this pulpy throwback. Shine on, you crazy super-detailed diamond, shine on.
The Creator-Owned Comics panel at Boston Comic-Con drew together five creators with a range of experiences to discuss the fine points of making and marketing their own comics. The panelists were Ben Templesmith (Wormwood: Gentleman Corpse), Becky Cloonan (Wolves), Joe Benitez (Lady Mechanika), Geof Darrow (Shaolin Cowboy), and Jeremy Bastian (Cursed Pirate Girl). The moderator was Brian LeTendre of the Secret Identity podcast.
The panel began with a discussion of how the comics landscape has changed over the years. “It’s changed completely,” said Ben Templesmith. “Every small publisher in the comics media, they have all now pretty much been swallowed up by bigger fish. Everyone in the main media is getting involved in comics and buying up small publishers.”
Cloonan, on the other hand, doesn’t see much difference in the way she sells her self-published comics. ” When I first started doing mini-comics, it was almost exactly the way I do them now,” she said. “I go to conventions and I bring my suitcase filled with comics; I just sell more. It’s funny how much social media and the industry has changed, but I still handle it and approach it much the same way I did in college.”
I’ll be the first to admit I am covering Kagan McLeod‘s Infinite Kung Fu a tad bit later than most, considering it was released in the middle of last year, and already included in numerous best of lists for 2011 (including our anniversary edition of What Are You Reading). But considering that the 464-page action/adventure romp took 10 years to complete, I think McLeod demands some coverage longer than the average book release. To get an idea of the scale and ambition of the story, his publisher, Top Shelf, was kind enough to offer sample pages of the book over at Top Shelf 2.0. McLeod is a unique creator, and his work is worth considering from several different angles. So once you’re done with this interview, please be sure to check out his own website, as well as Alex Deuben’s June 2011 CBR interview with McLeod. Back to this interview, though, his final answer requests audience participation, so please be sure to contribute in the comments section.
Tim O’Shea: The Toronto launch party for your book was a mixture of book discussion and music. Did you listen to music while you work, or is that too distracting for you?
Kagan McLeod: No, I always listen to music or audiobooks while working. Not during planning stages, but after I know what I have to do, I can just sail through it while listening to something. It’s the constant urge to check emails which is distracting.
Remember that unpublished cover Geof Darrow drew for J. Michael Straczynski’s “Grounded” arc on Superman that we posted the other day? Remember Darrow saying to Inkstuds’ Robin McConnell that it never ran as a cover and that “it’ll never see the light of day” despite his “really nice guy” editor’s assurances to the contrary? Good news, Darrow fans: Both Darrow and DC confirm that the finished cover will appear in Superman: Grounded Vol. 2, on sale this Wednesday, Dec. 7. The crazy cat lady will get her time in the sun at last!
That was recently?
Oh yeah yeah. I liked it. I thought it was funny. It was this whole thing, Superman is on a walkabout, kind of rediscovering America. They asked a bunch of guys to do like—Kevin Nowlan was one of them and they said, you can draw whatever you want. Superman, that’s the thing. He’s rediscovering America. You just can’t show him in New York. So I thought about it. I thought, “Well, flying in front of Mount Rushmore, all this stuff…” I said, “I know!” I drew him having tea with this cat lady in this room, she’s like a little old lady and she’s serving him tea and cookies and he’s sitting on her couch having tea with her and there’s all these cats around and all these pictures of her family on the wall. I thought it was funny! That’s kind of America. They didn’t run it. The issue was supposed to run and they had to change it, it was Lois Lane-centric and they had pffft! I was like…and the editor was a really nice guy, he was very “We’re going to use it someday and blah blah blah.” But I don’t think they ever will, because I’m sure someone will say, “Wait a minute…”
[laughs] “Nothing’s getting hit!”
The other ones are pretty much what you’d thought they would be, him flying with clouds—and they’re all beautiful, I just thought mine was kind of funny. But it’ll never see the light of day.
—Hard Boiled and Shaolin Cowboy cartoonist Geof Darrow reveals his lost Superman cover to Inkstuds’ Robin McConnell. Looks like the Crazy Cat Lady is one villain not even the Man of Steel could defeat.
In all seriousness, though, this doesn’t even scratch the surface of McConnell’s career-spanning interview with Darrow, originally conducted and aired in February and recently transcribed in full on the Inkstuds website. Darrow has stealthily become one of the most influential comics artists in the English-language comics world — recent works by Chris Burnham, Brandon Graham, James Stokoe, Rafael Grampa, Nate Simpson, Ulises Farinas, and Sam Humphries & Steven Sanders all bear his imprint in one way or another — and McConnell’s interview is a treasure trove of anecdotes about Miller, Moebius, Métal Hurlant, The Matrix, and more.
Hey, what’s with the turtle? Where’s the mule?
Ahem. At the New York Comic Con this weekend, Dark Horse Comics announced that it will bring Geof Darrow’s Shaolin Cowboy back into print next year. The book was last published by the Wachowski Brothers’ Burlyman Entertainment in 2007.
Shaolin Cowboy told the story of an unnamed, exiled monk and his talking mule, Lord Evelyn Dunkirk Winniferd Esq. the Third. Dark Horse is planning a three-issue series next year, which they describe as “a loaf of wry in a wonder bread world, a nicotine patch in a ten pack-a-day universe. He wonders as he wanders through a world where yesterday, today and tomorrow exist in a collage of carnage of his own making!” As you can see in the image above, it’s Darrow doing what he does best.
“Geof Darrow’s relationship with Dark Horse goes back to the early days of the company. I can’t tell you how excited I am to again be publishing his amazing work” said Mike Richardson, Dark Horse president, in a press release. “Geof’s art literally stopped me in my tracks when I first met him more than two decades ago and his work is every bit as stunning today. Geof has influenced a generation of artists and I am proud and excited to have him back partnered with Dark Horse.”
Hello and welcome once again to What Are You Reading? This week our special guest is Von Allan, creator of the self-published graphic novel series Stargazer. The first volume is still available, while the second one is due in shops in October.
To see what Von and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
I already have one Cliff Chiang shirt in my wardrobe, and hopefully come San Diego I’ll have another — the above shirt from Epic Proportions, a Comic-Con exclusive. EP has a whole line of signature tees by artists like Walt Simonson and Geof Darrow, so hopefully this will just be the first of many from Chiang.
For more on the shirt and Chiang’s upcoming run on Wonder Woman, head over to PopCultureShock for an interview.
Hello and welcome to another edition of What Are You Reading? Today’s special guest is Shannon Wheeler, New Yorker cartoonist and creator of the Eisner Award-winning comic book Too Much Coffee Man, Oil & Water, the Eisner-nominated I Thought You Would Be Funnier and the upcoming Grandpa Won’t Wake Up.
To see what Shannon and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below …
Not to mince words, HeroesCon is my San Diego. Scheduled for June 3-5 at the Charlotte Convention Center this year, I recently caught up with Heroes Aren’t Hard To Find Creative Director Rico Renzi, to discuss what to look forward to at HeroesCon 2011. Anyone that has read my past con reports knows how much I always enjoy this family friendly/comics focused con, and will not be surprised to learn I will be in attendance again this year. Thanks to Renzi for the interview and for giving us the scoop that Farel Dalrymple is returning to the con this year. I was also enthused to learn the con is trying a Friday night event this year, as well as introducing a new section of the convention floor devoted to comic strip creators.
Tim O’Shea: How are things shaping up with less than a month to go before the con, starting to panic? Planning-wise, how do you and Shelton Drum (con founder/organizer and owner of Heroes Aren’t Hard To Find) divvy up the heavy lifting of making this con happen?
Rico Renzi: HeroesCon is like breathing to Shelton so I’m pretty sure he’s not panicking. This is my first time doing anything like this so, yeah I think there’s some pressure on me. Maybe I get a pass since this is my first year though? Dustin Harbin has been a great help showing me the ropes on a few things, especially the floor plan. Deciding where everyone is going to sit seems like the hardest job to me right now. Aside from that we get great help from our warehouse manager, Seth Peagler. Whether I need someone to brainstorm with or edit my blog posts, Seth is my guy. Also, Andy Mansell has been instrumental in planning and coordinating our programming. These guys keep me sane!
Dark Horse has emailed us three teaser images over the last few days that we* think were drawn by the great Geof Darrow. Here’s the first one, a black and white close-up of someone’s head we received yesterday: