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

REVIEW: 'Spencer and Locke' #1 by David Pepose, Jorge Santiago, and Jasen Smith

★★★★★ (5/5)
It takes some courage and confidence to take one of the most beloved comic strips ever and reinvent it as a dark crime noir comic. Yet, David Pepose and Jorge Santiago, Jr. find a way to honor Bill Watterson's seminal work while creating a pulpy murder mystery that stands on its own. 

'Calvin and Hobbes' follows the humorous antics of Calvin, a precocious, mischievous, and adventurous six-year-old boy, and Hobbes, his sardonic stuffed tiger. In that same vein, Spencer is a stuffed panther that Detective Locke carries with him, apparently unnoticed by others, and interacts with him as they investigate the murder of Locke's grade school love. Pepose walks a thin line between parody and drama but finds the perfect balance in tone and dialogue. The scenes with Spencer and Locke conversing are humorous but doesn't overstep the importance of the investigation. In fact, the story is dark and only lightened by Spencer's observations and the flashbacks but tho…

NEW COMIC BOOK DAY: Notable Releases 4/5/17

NEW COMIC BOOK DAY 4/5/17 by Slidely Slideshow
Happy new comic book day. On tap this week is a lot of girl power - Goldie Vance, America, Faith, Hawkeye, Jyn Erso of Rogue One, Batgirl and the Birds of Prey, Eve Harper of Courier, Motor Girl, the ladies of Giant Days, Zelda of Black Cloud, Shade the Changing Girl, and Paper Girls. See, I wasn't kidding. Check out these and much more of our recommendations plus a slideshow featuring music from Beyonce! Happy reading!



(W) Gabby Rivera (A) Joe Quinones OKAY, LADIES, NOW LET'S GET IN FORMATION!! •  America Chavez's first semester of college is off to an epic start. That's right...homework on the first day! The assignment? A field trip to the frontlines of World War II! •  Most freshman would be intimidated - but most freshman aren't dimension-hoping heroes with Captain America as their wingman!  •  Meanwhile, unexpected fallout from an Ultimates' mission begins to wreak havoc on not only America's life but also the …

'Bingo Love' Graphic Novella Offers New Gail Simone Kickstarter Stretch Goal

The Kickstarter campaign for the Inclusive Press graphic novella, Bingo Love, by Tee “Vixen” Franklin, Jenn St. Onge and Joy San was fully funded in 5 days, and now with just a week to go, is celebrating with new tiers and stretch goals. Backers of this warm-hearted romance about two Queer Black women rediscovering their love for each other after decades apart, can now receive two softcover copies of Bingo Love for a $44 pledge or donate copies to LGBTQ youth centers. 



Bingo Love is currently over 210% funded and quickly approaching $45k. Once Bingo Love reaches $60k, digital and physical backers will receive a short story, set in the Bingo Love world, written by Gail Simone (Clean Room, Batgirl, Secret Six).

"It is not exaggeration to say this [Bingo Love] is absolutely going to be a smash," said Simone. "It's one of the best comics of the year. I ADORE IT TO PIECES."

During the third week of the Kickstarter, it was announced that Tee "Vixen" Franklin…

REVIEW: 'Karma Police' #1 by Chris Lewis, Tony Gregori, and Jasen Smith

★★★1/2 (3.5/5)
The monks of the Karma Grove Monastery try to ease spiritual suffering and promote peace, but when an evil that spans lifetimes challenges them, they’ll have to call upon their skills to liberate it from existence.

Karma Police is a unique story that positions monks as a sort of evil spirit-busters. The world is under siege and only a reincarnated Buddhist master and her elder can cleanse the world of them. A flashback sets the stage for what happens in the present. The duo is tasked with hunting down a major threat and it leads them to a strip club in Oregon, naturally. There is a certain sense of fun and quirkiness that shows Chris Lewis isn't taking it all too seriously.

The result is a colorful universe that includes a possessed toddler, luchador demons, and fiendish strippers.  There's also an enchanted dagger from her previous incarnation’s bloody past. She’ll have to resist its power and concentrate on stopping the reckless spirits from any more violence. 

Wi…

NEW COMIC BOOK DAY: Notable Releases 3/29/17

NEW COMIC BOOK DAY 3/29/17 by Slidely Slideshow
This week is loaded with so much comic book goodness we had to cut off the recommendations at 23. Let's start with the #1s. Vault Comics has come out strong with titles like Heathen and Fissure. Karma Police #1 byChris Lewis and Jasen Smith is the fledgling publisher's latest gem. Dynamite has Doc Savage: Ring of Fire #1, Marvel debuts X-Men Prime #1 and Inhumans Prime #1, and DC Comics has some crazy crossovers with Hanna Barbara icons like Green Lantern & Space Ghost #1.
Check out this week's trade paperbacks like Henchgirl, The Hillbilly, Black Hammer, and more. Happy Reading!



(W) Greg Rucka (A/CA) Michael Lark "Cull," Part Five Vassalovka strikes. The Beast is unchained. Forever suffers a devastating loss.

(W) Marguerite Bennett (A/CA) Ariela Kristantina As the mystery of the Parisian Monstress lures Lady and Mariah deep into the catacombs beneath the city, our heroes discover that the Medusa is not the only evil …