Cancer steals those we love on an alarmingly regular basis. Some of those victims we love because they are friends or family; others we love because we admire their artistic ingenuity.
Reports are breaking that we lost one such artist this morning – Darwyn Cooke. He was only 53.
If you’re unfamiliar with Darwyn Cooke, he was a luminary amidst the very best in the comic book industry. They say simplicity is genius, and Cooke exemplified such philosophy. A master of sequential art, Cooke’s drawings are clean, simple, fluid, and dynamic. Cooke utilized a style that some would define as “retro,” yet he also incorporated a modern flare that made each and every one of his works both unique and inspired.
Those drawing methods that earned him fans throughout the medium also proved useful in his writing. Cooke kept his stories direct, on point, and fun. He knew what made the characters great, and he knew how to amplify those characteristics to make them feel simultaneously familiar and fresh.
In fact, I believe Cooke endeared himself to so many because he was an excellent caretaker of the characters we love. His Superman is THE Superman. His Wonder Woman is THE Wonder Woman. His Batman is THE Batman. These icons will likely outlive us all, and for many, they are constants throughout life. They must be treated with respect, but they also must be reinvigorated through the efforts of special talent. Cooke managed to hold true to what time cannot erase in regards to these characters while stamping them with his own individual interpretation. As fans, we recognized that Cooke could be trusted with these heroes we hold so dear – that they would indeed flourish through his pen and paper.
It is my sincerest hope that this writing will motivate you to go read something by Darwyn Cooke. I think the greatest honor we can offer is to experience and acknowledge his craft. You can find a comprehensive list of his available work HERE. Of course, as will so many others, I recommend you procure DC: The New Frontier. I believe it to be his masterpiece.
Darwyn Cooke shall be missed.