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Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Geof Isherwood and the Good Doctor (Strange, that is!)-- World Premiere Interview!

Geof Isherwood and wife, Amanda Muise at "Doctor Strange" premiere in Los Angeles. 

Comic book artist Geof Isherwood was a special guest at the recent Red Carpet World Première of Doctor Strange – a character he drew for Marvel Comics, with the film’s director taking Isherwood's art for inspiration.

Geof said the invitation to the October 20th event in Hollywood, California, took him by surprise, but he was happy to go. While there, he met the director, Scott Derrickson, and the movie’s stars, Benedict Cumberbatch, who plays Doctor Strange.

"Mr. Cumberbatch himself, is a thoroughly charming and gracious man,” Isherwood recounted.

Director, Derrickson, at the Magic Castle after party, told Isherwood that he used his drawings in the old comic books as a jumping off point for the Doctor Strange movie character. In fact, Isherwood’s contribution was acknowledged in the movie’s credits.

With the good Doctor himself. 

“The movie itself was excellent. No spoilers, but I can say that while the visuals were so inventive and awe-inspiring, Benedict Cumberbatch’s performance of Doc was so human that he grounded the story in reality, and that made it work," explains Geof.

"Also, there is enough humour sprinkled in that adds nervous relief, and in places you would never expect. This was one movie that grows on you in retrospect, and provides a crossover for moviegoers who are not normally Marvel fans, yet it has enough specific references to Dr. Strange lore that us longtime fans (and artists) are left slavering for more. What these movies can show the public is how much imagination went into these characters in the comics. Folks can see what attracted us as readers when we were kids!” 

Movies director Scott Derrikson. 
For Isherwood his career began as just such a kid who loved comics.  He practiced and learned how to draw sequentially, and submitted his work to Marvel and DC Comics. 

“I decided young I could make a living  in comic books. It helped that I enjoyed reading them so much. So, I copied my favorite artists, learned how they drew--the specifics of faces, poses etc. I had the chance to go to the Marvel offices and get encouragement from a couple of artists there. I was 16. I continued to submit work, following their suggestions, and five years later I was assigned a short horror story," he recalls

"Then, a submissions to DC got me a short horror western story. In the spring of 1983 I went to New York to stay until I could get something more substantial. I didn’t take long before I was given a Daredevil fill-in and from there on I would be assigned one story after the next and within the year I had my first series, Swords of The Swashbucklers.  I drew a variety of titles: Conan The King, Conan The Barbarian, Silver Surfer,The ‘Nam, Suicide Squad for DC, Dr. Strange, Namor and many individual stories on Spider-Man, Thor and Avengers to name a few,” noted Isherwood.

Movie costumes (and comic book artist) on display. 

Along with his sequential art work, he has done a great deal of concept art for film. In fact, this is not the first movie where Geof Isherwood’s name appears in the credits.

Earlier this year Isherwood’s name could be spotted in the credits of the the X-Men: Apocalypse movie as a conceptual artist as well as on Battlefield Earth and The Fountain starring Hugh Jackman. He had previously worked on X-Men: Days of Future Past and the horror-thriller Orphan. 

Speaking of the X-Men movie and how these things germinate, Geof says “After moving to Ottawa, it took the Property Master, Claire Alary, some time to find me. I knew her from way back on Battlefield Earth. So, 15 years later, I get an email from her. When we met it was as if no time had passed between," he said. "That’s how it is in movies. It’s like when you see family members after many years: the time apart doesn’t matter and you pick up where you left off.

"At first, I was asked to design staffs, decoration and such that are in the ancient Egyptian scene at the beginning. After that I spent quite a bit of time-- a couple of weeks, working on weapons for Pestilence and then the katana for Psylocke. I cooked up an elaborate pattern for it. We were hoping she could use her psionic power to charge it up and display the pattern, but she wound up getting less screen time and that visual wasn’t able to be used." Perhaps in the future?

Artist Geof Isherwood. 

It’s hard for any artist to pick his favourite work, but for Isherwood, he reflected that a few do stand out. 

“It’s difficult to name a favorite, because every character I draw has to be real and interesting to me or readers will not enjoy the stories. However, Conan always stood out, and Dr. Strange as a modern hero. I can always see Conan as a real person and Dr. Strange’s universe promises great visuals because of his dealings with cosmic sorcery,” 

"Doctor Strange" opened worldwide November 4th. It tells the story of the world-famous neurosurgeon Dr. Stephen Strange, whose search for help after a car accident destroys the use of his hands leads him to discover a world of sorcery.

Twenty-five years ago, when Geof Isherwood first put pencil to paper on Doc, he never imagined his journey would  take him all over the world for appearances to meet fans at conventions or that it would result in  a world premiere invitation to a blockbuster movie.

“It is still remarkable to me that drawing a comic book that I enjoyed drawing has lead to this," stated Isherwood.

Just a little bit of movie... AND comic... magic!

For information on booking Geof Isherwood into your convention or store, contact Renee at : evaink@aol.com

(The above article is excepted from interviews in "The Cornwell Speaker," article by Jason Setnyk, and from an interview in The Algonquin College News. )

1 comment:

  1. I would see it ten times if I could afford it. Great movie and a redemption for the eighties version. ;)