Dark Horse Comics and Geof Darrow are bringing back “The Shaolin Cowboy” this October. Originally premiering as a seven issue series from 2004-2007 from Burlyman Entertainment, Darrow returns to “Cowboy” nearly six years later in a three issue monthly story arc, with the second issue clocking in at 64 pages.
The original series followed the titular Cowboy on a journey through a desert outside of time, taking place in “the middle of nowhere, the day before yesterday and a week before tomorrow.” Accompanied by an incessantly chattering mule, the cowboy found himself hunted by all those he had wronged in life, including a kung-fu master — who also happened to be a crab — and a few wise-cracking demons. The Cowboy traverses exotic locales, from the sun blasted desert to the belly of a giant, world-bearing lizard. The action sequences splatter blood with absurdist abandon, climaxing with an airborne, sword-wielding great white shark being cleaved by a chainsaw attached to a pole.
CBR News spoke with Darrow about his return to “The Shaolin Cowboy,” touching on how the comic is an unhinged, gleeful extrapolation of the form.
CBR News: Geof, how does the upcoming “Shaolin Cowboy” series relate to its predecessor? Is this a continuation of that story, or something totally new?
Geof Darrow: It has more action!
Where is this story taking the Cowboy, and what sort of dark forces is he be facing?
Joseph Campbell would have liked this question. Why dark forces? He may be up against light forces!
Will we be seeing any recurring characters?
Characters surrounding the Cowboy talk incessantly — almost, it seems, without really saying anything at all, while the Cowboy himself is largely silent. Why this choice?
Robert Mitchum in “Out of the Past” said: “I’ve never learned anything listening to myself talk.”
As both artist and writer, you have control over not only the story but the visual aesthetic — in what ways are you utilizing the visual language to propel the story?
I feel like I’m backÂ in art school — which might not be a bad idea — and my Fine Arts teacher is asking me why I drew a toilet strangling a dog.
Are you a “let the work speak for itself” kind of guy?
I fear I might sound pretentious — there are those kind of folks who like to talk about stuff like that and are quite good at it. I just draw pictures I want to draw, if that makes any sense.
I also hate to raise folks’ expectations and fail to let the work match the crap that tumbles out of my mouth.
“Shaolin Cowboy” is about a guy going from point A to point Z, dealing with what comes in-between. It’s mostly just a reason for me to try and draw some goofy stuff nobody else wants to draw, with as little pretension as possible. No Infinity Gauntlets in my books — not yet anyway.
Geof Darrow’s “The Shaolin Cowboy” comes to Dark Horse Comics October 9