All of us here at Time Warp Comics were devastated to hear that Darwyn Cooke, comic artist and author, has passed away after battling cancer. He was 53 years old.
Darwyn Cooke ~ 1962-2016
Darwyn Cooke had been a staple of modern comic book storytelling, as well as one of the foremost leaders in the medium’s art-style. Many here at Time Warp have followed his career with great enthusiasm, as his storytelling and art style evoked the kind of wonder and awe one might have felt the first time they had ever picked up a comic book. Even if your first comic book wasn’t by Darwyn Cooke, you could read one of his stories and feel as though you had never read a comic before reading one of his. He had an original style that was fresh and yet classic all at once. He was a rare treat that will be missed greatly by many of the staff here at Time Warp, and people around the world.
Wayne Winsett, owner of Time Warp Comics, had recently been able to chat with Darwyn Cooke last year at the Baltimore Comic Convention, stating he had intended to have Mr. Cooke make an appearance at Time Warp for a signing, that sadly never happened.
This is a signed print Wayne was able to bring back from that meeting, along with the memories of talking with one of the giants in the comic book community.
Purely Editorial Moment from Clayton.
I myself was introduced to Darwyn Cooke’s work when I first started working at Time Warp in 2009. Both Wayne (owner of Time Warp) and then co-worker Garry, insisted that I read this new book called, “Parker: The Hunter”.
I was loaned a copy of Parker by Garry, and it took me a while to finally get around to reading it. But once I had, it changed my outlook on comics from that point on. In a medium which I had only seen through the super-hero view-point, it was amazing to see something that felt as though it had been made in another era, but was absolutely current. (I later learned that the Parker novels by Richard Stark, or Donald E. Westlake, were published in 1962.) I then began to look into this Darwyn Cooke and his expansive career. The next thing I read from him was a single issue he did of an overlooked DC western character by the name of Jonah Hex.
After reading what I personally consider to be one of the best one-shot comics ever made, I knew I would be able to count on Darwyn Cooke to make the best comics possible. And I wasn’t let down.
Many years and comics later, the next thing that came up Darwyn Cooke related that blew me away was his cover series from DC Comics that arrived in 2014. Darwyn was approached to do alternate covers for every title coming out from DC at that time. They looked so damn good, I picked up several titles I no longer collected from DC just because Darwyn Cooke had done the cover. Here are some of my personal favorites, that I believe encapsulate his style.
Green Lantern #37
Green Lantern Corps #37
(Personally I really enjoy his classic approach to Hal Jordan and the other Green Lantern characters. Green Lantern was my favorite character when I was a kid)
He-Man and the Eternity War #1
Justice League Dark #37
Superman / Wonder Woman #14
After working on all of those amazing covers for DC, Darwyn Cooke worked on a book with Gilbert Hernandez titled “Twilight Children”, which was published by Vertigo Comics. This book was one of the last comics Darwyn Cooke worked on before he passed.
I was working at Time Warp the day the news of Darwyn Cooke’s passing had broke, and I was affected by such news as I believe many of us were. I purchased a copy of Twilight Children and read it that night in one sitting.
As I looked back at the books I had read of his, and the art I had collected from him, I thought about all he had done for the comic book community, and realized there wouldn’t be anything else we would get to see from this talented and creative man. And that thought bothered me. But that is how life works sometimes. I feel honored to have lived in a time where Darwyn Cooke existed, and changed the comic book medium with his thoughts and art.
So go out there and read something by this amazing man, and let it inspire you the way he inspired a generation of authors and artists now, and in the years to come.