On Friday, the comic book industry was rocked by the news that Darwyn Cooke was suffering from an aggressive form of cancer. On Saturday morning, Cooke passed away in his Florida home at the age of 53.
Cooke was born in Toronto, Canada in 1962, and working in comics was his life-long dream. He first broke onto the scene as a storyboard artist for Batman: The Animated Series and its follow-up, Superman: The Animated Series before getting his chance to make his first graphic novel for DC in 2000: Batman: Ego. While Cooke joined writer Ed Brubaker on an acclaimed reboot of Catwoman, Cooke soon demonstrated his skills as a writer in 2004’s miniseries, DC: The New Frontier, which became Cooke’s signature project at the company.
Most of Cooke’s comic book output was for DC, including a crossover between Batman and The Spirit, Before Watchmen, and the recently released miniseries, The Twilight Children. Early in his comics career, Cooke also produced comics for Marvel. However, his most prominent project outside of DC was his adaptation of Richard Stark’s Parker novels for IDW, which allowed Cooke to play with the visuals of classic crime stories.
In a statement, DC Co-Publisher Dan DiDio said “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. 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.”
CraveOnline extends its condolences to Cooke’s family, friends, and fans all over the world. Cooke was a uniquely talented comic creator who truly earned his status as a legend in the industry. He will be greatly missed, but his comics will always be remembered.