On His Time In Japan

Darrow spent a year living in Japan working on an adaption of his seminal comic that sadly never saw the light of day.

“It was really hard because at the time I was working on an animated version of Shaolin Cowboy. I’d written the script and I went over there to co-direct it, except no one told the other co-director that I was there. So there’s a very strange ambience. He’d been lied to and I’d been lied to by a middle party, and on top of that it was about the time the bubble burst. We went into that big recession–the Weinsteins were putting up half the money and the Japanese were putting up half–and the Weinsteins just balked at doing it. So we spent about a year and a half in preparation, I mean a couple years, just all for naught.”

“It’s still sitting in boxes over there in Tokyo. That was hard. It was hard because I love the country, I visit there like once a year if I can. I love Japan. I love Tokyo. But working there was just such a drain, you know the pressure of trying to do this movie especially, because we were working while I’d found out that the Weinsteins were going to back out and I couldn’t tell the Japanese that they were going to get stuck holding the bag. I felt really guilty because they were working in good faith. Eventually it all fell apart.”

On Leaving the States

The inciting reason for mine and Darrow’s look back at his career is that the creator is leaving the USA. He’s heading back to France to be closer to family and return to the country that he feels he owes his career and life to.

“I’m not fleeing the country because of the current political climate, though I can’t say that it didn’t add some impetus to it. I’ve been waiting for my wife–she’s been working on something and I’ve been waiting for her to finish it so we could move back. But I have to tell you, when he got elected I was like ‘We’ve gotta get out of here.'”

“I can buy a place in France and I won’t have to chase after the mortgage. I’m currently lucky, I mean I’ve always been able to draw what I wanted, but now I can not worry about about paying the mortgage. And my daughter goes to school in Paris, so I won’t be as far from her. I’ve always liked France. If it wasn’t for France, if it wasn’t for Moebius, I don’t think I’d have the career that I have. I was fortunate enough that I was asked by his wife to be one of the speakers at his funeral. And I said ‘I’m a country bumpkin who owes everything to Giraud because if it hadn’t been for him I wouldn’t have started in comics. Without the help of Giraud I wouldn’t have made comics, so I wouldn’t have met Frank, if I hadn’t met Frank Miller then I wouldn’t have done Hard Boiled, and that led to the Wachowskis it was just one thing that all starts with Moebius.”

When it comes to why Darrow’s had such a long lasting and eclectic career, it really all boils down to one important thing.

“I really just like drawing comics. I’m kind of a caveman. I still just draw things and everybody gets on Photoshop and I don’t know if I’m really made for that world. I just like sitting here drawing the things that I draw, and I’m lucky that enough people buy them that I can keep doing it.”

“I’ve always toyed with with thoughts like ‘Oh, I’ve never drawn Batman.’ But I just think if I draw Batman–and I really like Batman–but so many people have drawn Batman, and I’ll just be one of many guys, right? There’s something Moebius told me once when I was having dinner with him and Frank, and at the time Moebius had started drawing the Silver Surfer. He was saying how hard it was because it just wasn’t instinctual. He said ‘You know, I’ve always had this wish to to draw a Marvel superhero. I’d keep it in my pocket, and I’d take it out and look at it once in a while, and then put it back. I should’ve left that wish in my pocket.’ It just wasn’t what he thought it was. He was much happier doing other things that were more personal. That to me really expressed his philosophy. I don’t have a philosophy. My philosophy is drawing stupid stuff that nobody cares about. Well, I like the idea that someone thinks ‘Why would anybody spend this much time drawing something this stupid?'”

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