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

WONDER WOMAN OF THE DAY: Fitness Model Gia Macool Embodies the Amazon Princess

The closest we'll ever get, probably, to superheroes in real life is through the great work of cosplayers. You see them at every pop culture convention from the very basic to extremely elaborate costume design. However, you don't have to be a cosplayer to enjoy dressing up as your favorite superhero from time to time. Take fitness model and entrepreneur Gia Macool for example. An accomplished fitness competitor and model, Macool is also a big fan of DC Comics' Wonder Woman. She shows her love of the iconic Amazon Princess in her fitness wear, meal prep accessories and even a full blown photo shoot in a Wonder Woman costume. 

For decades comics have featured very muscular superheroes, male and female, epitomizing the human form at its strongest. So when bodybuilders and fitness pros decide to suit up as these costumed heroes, they are the embodiment of those fictional characters in the flesh. Macool looks like she stepped out of the pages of a Wonder Woman comic with a suit …

Fitness Women in Superhero Body Paint by J.M. Manion

J.M. Manion has long been a successful photographer covering the fitness and bodybuilding industry. He has photographed some of the strongest, well-defined physiques on the planet. He's also had a love of super-heroes and comic books. So much so that Manion began publishing his own comic book, Iron Siren Comics, featuring some of the fitness competitors he's covered as superheroes themselves. It's no wonder he sometimes incorporates superhero cosplay and body paint into photo shoots. Here are just some examples of his work:

KICKSTARTER SPOTLIGHT: Tyler & Wendy Chin-Tanner's 'Dead Beats' Music Themed Horror Anthology

Dead Beats is a 160-page full-color anthology of music-themed horror comics centered around the curiosities for sale at one peculiar record store by its enigmatic Shoppe Keeper.

..if you're looking for new or used vinyl, cassettes, CDs, gear, or merch, Dead Beats has the best selection in town. Of course, everything we sell has a story and our friendly Shoppe Keeper is happy to tell you all about it. All sales final Edited by Joseph Corallo (Oh S#!t, It's Kim & Kim, Mine!) and Eric Palicki (This Nightmare Kills Fascists, All We Ever Wanted), Dead Beats features more than twenty comics stories and more than forty up-and-coming creators and industry veterans, as well as cover art and interstitial narrative illustrations by Lisa Sterle (Long Lost, Submerged).




From the Dead Beats introduction, illustrated by Lisa Sterle



From "Vanishing." Illustrations by Sally Cantirino from a script by Matthew Erman.

From "The Cursed Saxophone of Skasferatu." Illustrations by…

Poison Ivy's Rebirth From Child to Sexed-Up Adult on 'Gotham' Covered in New Featurette

The wacky world of Fox's Gotham has long embraced its brand of crazy. "Anything goes," seems to be the motto as the show has tried to fill in the blanks of a pre-Batman Gotham City. Besides making the future Commissioner Gordon an erratic hot-head, his future wife a sociopath, and brought back a villain from the dead, the latest stunt involves aging-up a teen Ivy Pepper magically into an adult to use her powers as a seductress.
Executive producer Ken Woodruff explained this creepy premise to THR: We made the change for two reasons: The character Ivy in the comics, one of her greatest powers is the power of seduction. Everyone was much more comfortable with that with an older actress as opposed to a teenager. We want to explore that classic, canonical power of Ivy. And we didn't just make her older with that attack. When she's changed and transformed, there's a real character change as well. She'll still have some of the same traits, but she'll be much d…

An Artist Will Get His Revenge in The Post-WWII Original Graphic Novel SIMON SAYS

Image Comics announces an all-new, original graphic novel Simon Says by Andre R. Frattino and Jesse Lee which will paint a post-World War II Europe in a scarlet shade of revenge this September.


Simon Says is a drama-filled, crime noir story that follows a former artist to the Führer who hunts down and seeks justice upon the Nazis he witnessed murder his friends and loved ones during the war. It is an original graphic novel inspired by true events and by a real-world Holocaust survivor, Simon Wiesenthal, an artist who lost his family and took justice into his own hands.
"Simon Says is about an innocent and gentleman, an artist, whose family and life are destroyed by a real-world event. Not something sci-fi or fanciful, but something that has happened and could happen again. In that way, it's the story of any of us, and how we would respond if who we were and what we had were lost,” said Frattino. "The real-life, famed Nazi hunter, Simon Wiesenthal, was quoted as once sayin…