Skip to main content

Darwyn Cooke Passes Away Leaving a Legacy of Comic Book Excellence


Darwyn Cooke, the respected Canadian Eisner and Harvey award-winning writer, artist and animator passed away early Saturday at age 53. News about Cooke receiving palliative care following an aggressive bout with cancer was released by his wife Marsha Cooke on the artist's blog on Friday. Sadly, the following update was posted the next day.
“We regret to inform you that Darwyn lost his battle with cancer early this morning at 1:30 AM ET. We read all of your messages of support to him throughout the day yesterday. He was filled with your love and surrounded by friends and family at his home in Florida,” the post read. “Please continue to respect our privacy as we go through this very difficult time.”
Darwyn Cooke
November 16, 1962 - May 14, 2016
Cooke published his first comic book work as a professional artist in 1985's New Talent Showcase #19 for DC Comics, but for financial reasons went to work in Canada as a magazine art director, graphic and product designer for the next 15 years. Before returning to comics in 2000, Cooke worked as a storyboard artist for Batman: The Animated Series, Superman: The Animated Series, and in 1999 he animated the main title design for Batman Beyond. DC Comics came calling for Cooke to work on a project he had submitted years earlier which became 2000's Batman: Ego and Other Tails



In 2001, Cooke and writer Ed Brubaker revamped the Catwoman character that began with a four-issue serial in Detective Comics and led to a new solo series in late 2001. Cooke would stay on the series until issue #4. "One of the best things I ever did was convince Darwyn Cooke to revamp Catwoman with me. For about a year we were making magic together," Brubaker shared on his Twitter account. 



Arguably, it was DC: The New Frontier (2004), a six issue miniseries that would become his most influential masterpiece. The story, which was set in the 1950s, featured dozens of super-hero characters and drew inspiration from the comic books and movies of the period as well as from Tom Wolfe's non-fiction account of the start of the U.S. space program The Right Stuff. The major DC characters are introduced in The New Frontier in the same order that DC originally published them, even down to the correct month and year in the story's timeline.

It was his unique throwback visual style that resonated with fans and the unyielding optimism and joy imbued in the faces of iconic superheroes like Wonder Woman, Superman, and the Flash. A favorite work of fans and colleagues alike for its bold, fresh, storytelling that presented the DC Universe in a fun new light that many say we haven't seen since. 



His love of hard-boiled crime stories led Cooke to adapt three Donald Westlake novels: 2010’s Parker: The Outfit, 2012’s Parker: The Score and 2013’s Parker: Slayground winning Eisner Awards for Best Adaptation from Another Work. “One of the most valuable things in my professional life, one of the big gifts in my career, was the time I got to spend chatting with [Donald Westlake] through e-mail,” Cooke told the L.A. Times in 2009. “What I tried to do more than anything was to impress upon him my interest in one question: Where did other adaptations fail and what did they miss in the character. How can we get these things on the page?”



"Darwyn Cooke lived life like a character from a Micky Spillane novel, a throwback to a bygone era that was, more than occasionally, reflected in his work," said DC Comics Co-Publisher Dan DiDio in a statement. "He was both compassionate and combative, approaching everything he did with a tenaciousness and temerity that is now unheard of in a world afraid to offend. The simplistic brilliance of his art and the natural flow of his storytelling not only elevated but enhanced all projects he touched and his passion and love of comics was reflected in every panel of every page. Working with Darwyn was not without its challenges. There were times we'd spend hours arguing over story then go months without talking, but we always found our way back, drawn together by the common bond and friendship comics creates. This is an industry-wide loss that I feel personally, but the sadness is mitigated in the knowing that the beauty and grace of his art will forever stand the test of time and be a monument to all that is great about comics."

In lieu of gifts, Cooke's family has requested that donations be made to the Canadian Cancer Society and The Hero Initiative.


As part of the Dark Knight's 75th anniversary in 2014, Cooke returned to animation for a "Batman Beyond" short.


An interview with Darwyn Cooke at HeroesCon by John Scrudder.




Comments

Popular posts from this blog

ADVANCE REVIEW: 'Winnebago Graveyard' #1 by Steve Niles, Alison Sampson, and Stéphane Paitreau

Steve Niles and Alison Sampson have arrived to disrupt your bedtime. What happens when an American family traveling on vacation finds themselves stranded in a small town with a sinister secret? The answer is a whole lot of creepy.


WINNEBAGO GRAVEYARD #1 (OF 4) Story: Steve Niles Art / Cover: Aditya Bidikar, Alison Sampson, Jordie Bellaire, Stéphane Paitreau Variant Cover: Mingjue Helen Chen Published: June 14, 2017 Diamond ID: APR170724 Digital : $3.99 Print: $3.99
★★★★1/2 (4.5/5)
Niles wastes no time in setting the tone of  this limited horror series 'Winnebago Graveyard.' A couple is abducted by people in hooded robes and are sacrificed during some kind of satanic ceremony that gives birth to something I can't explain here. You'll have to see it for yourselves. Then we're introduced to our protagonists, the dysfunctional family traveling via the titular Winnebago. They make the same mistake every person in a horror does, they stay at the creepiest locations instead …

REVIEW: 'Samaritan: Veritas' #1 by Matt Hawkins, Atilio Rojo, and Troy Peteri

Born out of The Tithe, 'Samaritan: Veritas,' takes on a whole new target as hacker Samantha Copeland is on the run and looking for revenge. It's a thrilling new chapter from Top Cow's Edenverse written by Matt Hawkins with art from Atilio Rojo.


SAMARITAN #1 Story: Matt Hawkins Art / Lettering / Cover: Atilio Rojo Letterer: Troy Peteri Published: May 24, 2017 Diamond ID: MAR170694 Digital : $3.99 Print: $3.99
★★★★☆ (4/5)
The Tithe found Samaritan taking on nefarious mega-churches and this time the only things more corrupt are the U.S. government and military contractors. The President is in Samantha's crosshairs but she's also a hunted woman using all her hacking skills and the resources of the dark web to counter her pursuers. It's this complex cat-and-mouse game that Hawkins unfolds while also providing Samantha's background for new readers. Hawkins does a delicate balancing act adding exposition with flashbacks while moving the story forward in the prese…

REVIEW: 'Magnus' #1 by Kyle Higgins, Jorge Fornes, and Chris O'Halloran

Dynamite keeps reinventing classic Gold Key Comics characters and their latest iteration of Magnus, Robot Fighter, is neither a man nor a robot fighter. What 'Magnus' #1 is, it's a fascinating piece of speculative fiction from Kyle Higgins and Jorge Fornes that is smart, immersive, and thought-provoking.


Magnus #1 writer: Kyle Higgins (main story), Chuck Wendig (Turok bonus story) artist: Jorge Fornés (main story), Chris O'Halloran (main story),  Álvaro Sarraseca (Turok bonus story) letters: Taylor Esposito covers:  Giuseppe Camuncoli (a), Jorge Fornés (b),  Aaron Conley (c), Daniel Warren Johnson(d) incentive covers: Jorge Fornés (B/W art), Aaron Conley (B/W art),  Giuseppe Camuncoli (B/W art), Jorge Fornés (“virgin art”), Aaron Conley (“virgin art”) Order the cover of your choice! FC • 32 pages • $3.99 • Teen+ 
★★★★★ (5/5)
Thanks to shows like Westworld and Black Mirror, science fiction is sexy again and it's not just aliens and space travel either. Instead, the th…

REVIEW: 'Romulus' #4 by Bryan Hill, Nelson Blake II, and Kevin Lennertz

Ashlar finds herself in the belly of the beast. She's got to go through Achilles to try and rescue Nicholas from the clutches of the leader of The Order of Romulus. Will the end of this story arc be the end of Ashlar?


ROMULUS #4 Story: Bryan Hill Art: Nelson Blake II, Kevin Lennertz Letterer: Deron Bennett Published: May 31, 2017 Diamond ID: NOV160639 Digital : $3.99 Print: $3.99
★★★★☆ (4/5)
After an unexpected break between issues, Bryan Hill and Nelson Blake II are back with the conclusion of the series first arc. Ashlar's thirst for revenge hasn't lessened, she's still determined as ever to kill the people responsible for her mother's death. Hill has kept her consistent, single-minded in her approach with a few annoyances along the way. Yet, she feels responsible for saving Nicholas from The Order as well. Her journey comes to this final showdown and it doesn't disappoint.
Without giving away the exciting conclusion, Hill delivers a tense confrontation that fl…

NEW COMIC BOOK DAY: Notable Releases 6/21/17

This week in comics is heavy with the latest issues in on-going stories with only a couple of brand new #1s we've chosen to highlight. Crosswind #1 by Gail Simone and Cat Staggs is the book of the week. (REVIEW) The talented veteran duo delivers a lean mean thriller that is like Freaky Friday meets Goodfellas

NEW COMIC BOOK DAY 6/21/17 by Slidely Slideshow MUSIC BY SZA
The other new title is a mash-up you never imagined happening. DC Comics' Looney Tunes crossovers have been a hoot and 'Lobo/Road Runner' is no different. Wile E. Coyote travels to the far reaches of space to hire Lobo to hunt down and kill his greatest nemesis of all time, the Road Runner. Make sure to check all these other great books out this week. Happy reading!

(W) Gail Simone(A/CA) Cat Staggs Fan-favorite creators GAIL SIMONE and CAT STAGGS make their stunning Image debut with this mind-bending new ongoing series! A slick and ruthless Chicago hitman. A smart but downtrodden Seattle housewife. Wh…