Here’s one for the Did you know? file: Did you know that Geof Darrow did art for Magic the Gathering?
Darrow is a revered artist who might be described as elusive — he’s just so damn good, but there’s never as much work out there as we’d like. He’s most famous for illustrating Frank Miller’s 1990 limited series Hard Boiled. He partnered again with Miller on the 1995 two-issue series The Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot. Darrow’s most significant sustained work has been Shaolin Cowboy, which evolved from a character called Bourbon Thret that he initially published in Europe. (We published one Bourbon Thret story in our March 1985 issue.) Darrow is the foremost modern practitioner of the ligne claire style of illustration, and he worked with Moebius for many years.
In the mid- and late ’90s, Darrow illustrated at least 10 cards for Magic: The Gathering, about half of them done with the French colorist Isabelle Rabarot, whose work you can also see in “Adios Palomita,” published in Heavy Metal January 1993 and as a hardcover.
Darrow isn’t the only well-known comics artist to illustrate MtG cards — Glenn Fabry, Rebecca Guay, Greg Staples, Mike Dringenberg, Simon Bisley, John Bolton and even Bill Sienkiewicz have all done a card or two. Darrow may be more surprising than most because he has a line-based style, while most Magic card art is very painterly.
We were not able to find all of Darrow’s Magic: The Gathering art at a publishable size (too bad, “Army Ants” and “Brood of Cockroaches” look interesting); let us know in the comments if you have any we’re missing. The card scans all come from Star City Games, and of course all Magic: The Gathering content is copyright Wizards of the Coast.