For Geof Darrow, the devil is in the details. And he's happy to announce people will be seeing his and Frank Miller's Big Guy & Rusty The Boy Robot in a whole new way.
Dark Horse is publishing a new hardcover edition of the duo's Big Guy & Rusty the Boy Robot, with Dave Stewart stepping in to recolor the nearly 20-year old work. In addition, the hardcover will include rare Darrow character pin-ups he's drawn over the years, as well something new.
Newsarama talked to Darrow about the new hardcover release debuting later this year, the collected animated series, the long-rumored movie, and the likelihood of reteaming with Frank Miller along with other creators for new Big Guy & Rusty the Boy Robot stories in the future.
Newsarama: Geof, what can you tell us about this new hardcover edition of Big Guy & Rusty The Boy Robot?
Geof Darrow: The most interesting part of it for me is having it recolored by Dave Stewart. The original was colored almost two decades ago, and I was never happy with it due to the process back then. Back then each color had to be on a separate sheet of paper, making it a pretty long process; asking someone to fix something required a lot of work so sometimes we had to live with the way it was done.
Nrama: Did Stewart recolor from the the last printing’s artwork, or did you have the original negatives or artwork?
Darrow: Actually I have most of it in the pencils still, which is kind of odd. I ink on a lightbox with a separate sheet of paper, and I make really good copies of all the inks as well.
Nrama: I’m told that in addition to being a recolored version of the original two-issue miniseries in hardcover, you’re also planning something new for this. Is that right?
Darrow: Yes, I just haven’t decided what yet. [laughs] I hope to do a little Rusty the Boy Robot short that should be fun to draw.
Nrama: Will this also include the work you recently contributed to Dark Horse Presents and various pin-ups you’ve done of the characters over the years?
Darrow: Yes. I’ve done a lot of art for comic shows that most people haven’t seen. The only ones not included are those featuring Big Guy fighting Gigantor and Godzilla; we can’t really print those as we don’t have the rights. But there will still be a lot in there.
Nrama: News of this hardcover collections has me thinking about more, new Big Guy & Rusty the Boy Robot stories down the line. Do you and Frank have any plans to do that? Is the door open?
Darrow: It’s something I’ve wanted to do, especially crossing them over with some other things I’ve done.
You mentioned that recent short I did for Dark Horse Presents #1. Initially I had another idea but realized it would take too long; Dark Horse’s Mike Richardson kept asking me to do a story for Dark Horse Presents, so I did that short. It reminds me of some those old monster stories like Tales To Astonish.
Nrama: Forgive me if this is touchy, but have you ever thought about overseeing a Big Guy & Rusty the Boy Robot with others perhaps writing, co-writing or drawing the way Mike Mignola has with Hellboy?
Darrow: Yeah. In fact, at one point I proposed it to Mike Richardson and said yes but never got back to me. I thought Ricardo Delgado from Age of Reptiles would be a good match. It’d be great if Frank was involved too, but he’s pretty busy so I just kind of go forward on my own.
Nrama: Getting back to today’s hardcover announcement, it’s hard to think this hasn’t been put out in hardcover before now – I know Spain did a hardcover. What does having it in this format mean for you?
Darrow: I’m touched that it’s a hardcover, but I was kind of hoping we’d be able to do it close to the original size but we might do that latter. I liked the idea of doing a definitive Big Guy & Rusty the Boy Robot collection with everything in it. I have all of the pencils, the little storyboards I did, as well as Frank’s original script – which was just one page long. I still have that original sheet of paper. [laughs]
Originally, we talked about doing more stories where Big Guy got destroyed every time but the Japanese, out of their sense of duty, keeps rebuilding him.
Nrama: Speaking of “definitive,” have to ask – any news on getting the Big Guy & Rusty The Boy Robot animated series out on DVD?
Darrow: Dark Horse has been trying, but getting Sony to let them to it is a whole ‘nother story.
It’s amazing that so many people grew up on that show given it was only aired briefly. Believe it or not, I’ve only seen one full episode. I was living overseas when it came out, and I caught the pilot when it came to Comic-Con International: San Diego but that’s it.
Here’s a funny story: Years later on a Sunday morning I walked in on my daughter watching cartoons in Paris, and the show she was watching caught my eye because it was so well-drawn. Then a wall Is ripped open and it’s Big Guy.
“Holy cow, that’s my show!” I told her. “Yeah, right dad.” She said. [laughs]
Nrama: If I may ask, do you and Frank have the rights back for film and television?
Darrow: It all belongs to Frank and me. If anybody’s listening, they can always contact us.
I knew of one guy who wanted to make a Big Guy & Rusty The Boy Robot movie: Tsui Hark. Do you know him?
Nrama: Yes, definitely. Warren Ellis introduced me to his work.
Darrow: Hark loves this thing, and back in late 2000 we talked about him doing a movie. We stay in contact and every once in a while we talk about it, and I think he’d do a great job.