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In Appreciation of Darwyn Cooke: 1962-2016

posted by: June 28, 2016 - 7:00am

DC: The New FrontierThe Twilight ChildrenOne of mainstream comics’ greatest talents, Darwyn Cooke, passed away in May. His work was characterized by a nostalgia for superhero comics of the Silver Age, but with a sense of social justice and outrage that was often overlooked.

 

He got his foot in the door drawing storyboards for Batman: The Animated Series, still one of the most enduring interpretations of the character, and went on to do various critically acclaimed runs on Catwoman and Batman, the controversial Before Watchmen miniseries and his graphic adaptations of Richard Stark’s Parker novels.

 

He’s best remembered for his masterwork DC: The New Frontier, which swallowed the entire DC universe in one gulp and spit it back out as a post-World War II story that didn’t shy away from the darker truths of that era. It reinvigorated the “good old days” by depicting heroes who had a harder time reconciling their ideals with the country that they fought for. He even took on the unenviable task of retelling Will Eisner’s The Spirit, and carried the torch from the master dazzlingly. Never afraid of pushing his work in new directions, his last book The Twilight Children with Gilbert Hernandez of Love & Rockets fame is a magical realist story in the tradition of Gabriel García Márquez.

 

The superhero genre offers an optimistic escape at the best of times but, Darwyn Cooke was a creator who never looked away from the world, instead showing us how to appreciate it with a rageful optimism. He will be remembered.


 
 

Revised: June 29, 2016