This week we look at one of my very favourite illustrators, the brilliant Darwyn Cooke. A graphic designer/art director turned cartoonist/animator, he draws in a wonderful classic style that he varies for great effect, creating the appropriate vibe for whatever story he’s illustrating. Mind you, it’s a wonder he can move his drawing arm, weighed down as it is by three Eisner Awards, two Harveys, a National Cartoonists Society Award (USA) and Canada’s Shuster Award. He even has shares in an Emmy. Blimey!
He left animation ten years ago after doing sterling work on Batman: The Animated Series, Superman: The Animated Series and Men In Black: The Series to concentrate on comics or more accurately, sequential story strips (we really are going to have to come up with a better name than that one day).
Of course, I’m still playing catch up with his work mainly because I’ve been living under a stone these last few years with regard to reading comics. I bought his Batman: Ego And Other Tales (above) and enjoyed it enormously and recently picked up his latest meisterwerk, his adaptation of Richard Stark’s Parker The Hunter (top) when I was in Paris the other week. Even though I was supposed to be on a dedicated French comics mission, I couldn’t resist this book. The fact that the main character was a favourite of Ed Brubaker made it even more attractive (Mr Cooke has, of course, worked with Mr Brubaker on Catwoman).
And now I find myself atop a diving board (oh alright, my drawing board) waiting to plunge into his version of The Spirit, Absolute DC: The New Frontier and anything else of his I can lay my hands on. Are you listening, Santa?
PS. Rob and I were in London last night for the Paula Scher D&AD Presidents Lecture and we popped into Gosh on the way, where I couldn’t help noticing that their copies of Parker The Hunter had signed limited edition bookplates by Dawyn Cooke. I should’ve bought one, but I behaved myself. Mental note: Check Gosh first…
All images © 2009 DC Comics/IDW Publishing/Darwyn Cooke.