In his 30 plus year career, Geof Darrow has tackled a variety of projects across several different artistic mediums. From his start as a character designer at Hanna-Barbera to his collaborations with legendary comic creators Moebius and Frank Miller, and filmmakers such as the Walchowskis on various films including The Matrix up to his Eisner Award winning Shaolin Cowboy series – he has accumulated quite the body of work. He is therefore the perfect subject for this new collection of original pencil art alongside a behind the scenes look at processes and thoughts from various collaborators and peers.
The reverence that Darrow’s peers have for his work and talent is on full display in their commentary and it’s easy to see why. The sheer level of detail in every piece of artwork on display is insane, and this is before any inks and colours are added. Darrow’s main colourist Dave Stewart introduces the book who describes the special bond he has developed with Darrow having worked so closely with his art over the years whilst echoing the sentiment of more or less anyone looking at this book in regards to the level of detail throughout.
A variety of his work is represented throughout the book with Shaolin Cowboy in particularly getting lots of attention, but there are plenty of more obscure pieces including classic Thor villain Mangog, Mike Allred’s Madman, Krypto The Superdog, The Rocketeer and much more. It’s hard to nail down a favourite piece in this collection as there is so much stunning work on display – but a particularly rough looking diner examining meat eating, the famous motorbikes from Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira and a particularly funny two pages featuring various four legged monstrosities with commentary from artist Steve Skroce discussing Darrow’s obsession with drawing a certain body part and his consumption of lowbrow and highbrow media are definite highlights. Getting lost in the intricacies of Darrow’s artwork is a frequent occurrence as every time you think you’ve caught all the details, something new leaps out at you whether it’s a piercing or a rat hanging from said piercing. It’s easy to think for instance that your eyes are automatically going to be drawn to the giant Lee Van Cleef and Tomas Milian heads in his western tribute piece, but the small details that almost blend into the page (I didn’t notice the scurrying dogs at the feet of the horses at first) end up leaping out at you.
This is a terrific tribute to one of the comic industry’s top artists. Anyone who appreciates great comic art needs this on their shelf.
Lead Poisoning: The Pencil Art of Geof Darrow is out now from Dark Horse
9781506703640 – H/B – £29.50
Post by Leo