Geoff Darrow's stunning artwork clearly marks this work as a celebration of Japan's bouyant visual culture and inventive spirit, and Frank Miller clearly enjoyed penning this tale; yet his script, while crediting Japan's fighters with dignity and honor and its leaders with the humilty to recognize the need to call upon the USA for assistance, simultaneously belittles the Japanese nation's prowess. It is difficult to interpret Miller's treatment of Rusty the Boy Robot as anything other than a dismissive swipe at Tezuka's trademark creation Tetsuwan Atumo (aka Astro Boy), at the same time that Big Guy is a swipe of the Japanese-originated concept of the piloted robot that Miller nationalistically appropriates as a symbol of US power. This makes for a jarring reading experience. But the combination of Japanese setting along with Darrow's amazing artwork that is so clearly indebted to the spirit of manga (via Moebius) makes the book an homage to Japanese popular culture in spite of the narrative's contorted distortions.
Attention pencillers: Darrow is an artist worthy of study, and here's your chance, in the 128 oversize pages of Darrow's unstoppable (can't stop – won't stop!) pulse-pounding panoptical pencil productions, pervasively propounding premonitions projecting pronounced predatory predilections persistently predicting permanent panic permeating professional pursuits, passim.
Finally, the long-out-of-print, original Shaolin Cowboy series published by the Wachowski sibling's Burlyman Comics a full decade ago have at last been collected in this deluxe, oversize hardcover volume, as part of the uniform edition of Geof Darrow works currently being published by Dark Horse Comics. This one is an extra-chunky edition, as it collects a seven-issue series, compared to the four issues collected in earlier Shaolin Cowboy collections. In addition, tnis one includes an amazing bonus gallery of pin-ups by an all-star lineup of artists including Moebius, Mike Mignola, Kevin Nowlan and John Severin.
This is the book that put Geof Darrow on the map. Frank Miller's over-the-top script was tailor-made for Darrow's insanely detailed, pyrotechnical approach, which went to have a tremendous impact on the form. This work – and Darrow's art i particular – has informed and been incorporated into the styles of countless comics creators around the world.
It has now been reissued by Dark Horse in this fine hardcover volume, as a part of their uniform edition of the works of Geof Darrow.
"My name's Nixon. I'm a tax collector..."