The first time anyone reads a Geof Darrow comic, I can only imagine them having the exact same experience of their head exploding in some over-the-top, ridiculous way that only Darrow could illustrate. His brand of hyper-detailed hyper-violence is hard to replicate, and even just seeing a single panel of his work is enough to know that Darrow is unlike any other. So it's definitely a Good Thing that Darrow is heading back to comics this year with a new mini-series of Shaolin Cowboy.

 

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Dark Horse Comics
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Darrow's work is not just that intense level of detail, though. It's also interesting for its use of movement and visual storytelling. A lot of Shaolin Cowboy has been told in near-silence, just movement and fighting, and that's a brave choice in American comics.

His writing is also something to get excited about, because he revels in ludicrous plotting and ridiculous scenarios, like fighting inside a lizard that carries a city on it's back, or smashing through hordes of plague-carrying zombie figures with a chainsaw attached to a stick. It's wonderfully ridiculous, and it knows it, but Darrow still takes it seriously.

 

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Dark Horse Comics
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The other reason I get excited about the news of new Darrow comics is for what Darrow represents for American comics, in that he isn't a prolific illustrator who is churning out books every month for a publisher. This new edition of Shaolin Cowboy has been mentioned in interviews dating back to 2015 --- maybe even earlier --- and Darrow's approach to comics feels similar to that of European authors like Moebius. Darrow wants to hit us with his latest work and then disappear again.

It's not a format we see very often with individual issues of comics --- this time being published through Dark Horse --- and is more reflective of the book market. Darrow is forging ahead on his own terms here, and it's always great to see that approach enter the space of a mainstream US comics publisher. it helps serve as a reminder that comics are never just one thing; the medium is malleable, more so than nearly any other method of storytelling.

Ultimately, though, it's all  about that feeling you get when you open the first page of a Geof Darrow comic, unsure of where this weird and wonderful journey will take you. You do know it'll be one hell of a ride, though.

 

In Good Thing we celebrate something we love from comics or pop culture, because every day could use something good.