Geof Darrow has had an enviable career. A career in which he has worked with his icons and grown to call them friends, one that has traversed both cinema and comics, and one that has seen all of his success come from one thing: drawing what he loves.

After decades in the States, Darrow has decided to leave and move back to France, the place that he sees as the birthplace of comics career. I sat down and chatted with Darrow about art, film, friendship, and how he feels he owes his whole career to one man.

A Chance Meeting With An Icon

Darrow’s journey into comics history began whilst working at Hanna Barbera when he heard that the astonishing French artist Jean Giraud, AKA Moebius, was in town.

“I’d heard that he was in town working on Tron and I had a friend who was a project manager at Epcot Center at Disney. I thought this guy probably has the juice to get me in into the studio so I can meet Moebius. I was such a huge fan, so I gave my friend Jean’s name and he didn’t know who he was,” Darrow laughed. “A day went by and I didn’t hear anything, and then he called and said ‘We’re going to have dinner with him on Saturday night.’ And we went out and saw each other a couple of times and he asked me ‘What do you do?’ I said ‘I draw’ and he looked at my drawings and he liked them, so we kept we kept in contact. When I went to France for the first time, he set me up with an interview with Metal Hurlant, which is the the original version of Heavy Metal.”

The pair became fast friends and Darrow relocated to create alongside the comics giant.

“That was my first comic story, and they liked it and printed it. A couple of years after when I moved to France to work with Moebius on a comic strip, I was going to draw it and he was going to write it. We started out instead just doing a portfolio, which is like 10 drawings that I drew and he inked and colored, and that kind of put me on the map in France.”

“So you know at that point he’s so mysterious and hardly anybody has seen him. I mean, I was obviously extremely intimidated because I was a fan and I did these drawings. And when I went over there to work in Paris he was already leaving town because he was going to go live in Tahiti. So he was gone when I started, and I would do these drawings and they would send the drawings to him in Tahiti and he would ink them and so I was never around. I never saw him work on them. It was kind of like a gift, it was just so nice. They’d be like ‘He’s finished your first drawing.’ Holy cow!” Darrow exclaimed. “I think I’m going to try – because I still have the pencil drawings–we’re going to put out a book of the drawings with his finishes so that people can see.”

“He told me he really liked doing it. He said he was really honored to do it, which surprised me. And he said he couldn’t do more than two hours a day because it was so intense that he would get up in the morning and he would work two hours and then he would do his own stuff. So there’s one drawing he worked on for one month that took him two or three hours a day. I think I have that one, and I did get to keep one of them, the inked one.”

Creating Hard Boiled With Frank Miller

“Through knowing Jean, I got to meet Frank Miller. We kind of hung out. Later he proposed to me that we should work together and that put me on the map in America. I mean, you know Frank at the time had The Dark Knight Returns and Ronin, which were huge, and I started working with him with and he was doing Elektra Lives. So really people looked at what I did because it was Frank writing it.”

“I kind of felt that I was extremely lucky in that outside of working at Hanna Barbera and working a little bit in advertising I never really had to work for other people. I’ve always gotten to kind of draw whatever I wanted.”

“I remember sending my first comic strip to Marvel and they said it’s good but they wouldn’t know what to do with it because in those days, in the ’80s, they had to look a certain way. I was working in what they called ‘ligne clair,’ which is the style that I think Herge and Tintin sort of pioneered. That interested me more than the heavy shadowed stuff because I was always trying to learn how to draw, but if I put shadows on then I won’t figure it out. So I would draw everything in line so that they could understand what I was drawing.”

Continue Reading Legendary Artist Geof Darrow on Designing for ‘The Matrix,’ Working With Ridley Scott and His Love of Making Comics >>

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