The Hard Boiled Wachowski Movie That Almost Was, The Shaolin Cowboy Movie That Is, And The Darrow/Wachowski SF/Superhero Movie That May Be

Joshua Stone reports from the SDCC Geof Darrow panel:

I was very excited to be covering the Geof Darrow panel, his unique work has long been a favorite of mine, and before my seat had a chance to get warm, I had the pleasure of watching Darrow receive the coveted Inkpot Award. And it just got better after that. If Darrow had had his way he probably could have gone on for another two hours, and I would loved every minute of hearing his colorful stories. This was definitely not a panel for those with dainty ears.

Darrow started the panel paying tribute to Jean Girard, Moebius, for whom Darrow explained he would not have had a career without. Moebius not only collaborated with Darrow in 1984 on City of Fire, but he also was responsible for Darrow meeting Frank Miller.

Darrow showed some clips from the Shaolin Cowboy animated movie he co-directed in Japan, titled Shaolin Cowboy in The Tomb of Doom. The clip opened with the Shaolin Cowboy battling a poodle and a giant crab with a Volkswagen Bug for its shell. Darrow happily pointed out the rear shot of the poodle that showed off its anus and testicles. The clips were a mix of fully animated and pencil tests. Darrow said the film is around 50% complete and is sitting in boxes in Japan waiting for the American end of funding to come through, which he thinks will be around $3 million.

In one of many funny stories Darrow told, he discussed drawing strippers for the film and doing so in a realistic manner as a stripper would look after going up and down the pole for a number of years. The Japanese couldn’t handle this look, and asked Darrow, “Is that your fantasy?” Darrow told them no, that it was real. Darrow also discussed how the Japanese co-director wanted Steve Buscemi to voice the poodle and looked forward to a scene where a stripper wearing a Tengu mask, raped the poodle with the mask’s nose. The co-director was very excited about the idea of Buscemi voicing the moans and groans.

Instead of launching into a typical Q&A, Darrow decided to quiz the audience on different topics, and giving signed prints for the correct (or close) answers. I can gladly share that I was able to name Grant as being who was in Grant’s Tomb and received an awesome print of the Shaolin Cowboy riding a dinosaur. I was able to ask Darrow about working with Frank Miller again in the future, and he stated that Frank was difficult to get ahold of and he had to go through people to get to him. The last time they spoke was when Moebius passed. Darrow also shared that after working with the Wachowskis on the Matrix, they wanted to do a full length animated release of Hard Boiled, but Miller nixed it, not wanting it to be an animated film.

Darrow discussed two upcoming comic projects. He is working on Shaolin Cowboy Adventure Magazine, and noted crime novelist (and occasional comic book writer) Andrew Vachss would be writing the story. The book would have a “pulp” look to it and would include not only art by Darrow, but a Bazooka Joe style strip by his daughter. The book is scheduled for release on October 22. Darrow is also working on a 100 page Shaolin Cowboy story that takes place over only 20 seconds.

Darrow also discussed hopes of working on another Wachowski film that they are currently trying to get the go ahead for from Warner Brothers. He described it as a gigantic science fiction film that would be a space opera with superheroes. Darrow then went about 5-10 minutes into the next panel’s time discussing Japanese movies and comics, and only stopped when the Con staff finally got right in front of him. Next year, he needs at least two hours.

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