Darwyn Cooke, Writer, Artist, and Animator, Passes

His impact on the industry will be felt for decades to come.

Darwyn Cooke, a prolific writer, artist, and animator passed away suddenly this Saturday. He was 53 years old.

Fans were made away of his condition Friday morning on his blogsite from a posting by his wife Marsha. “It is with tremendous sadness that we announce Darwyn is now receiving palliative care following a bout with aggressive cancer.”

The outpouring of concern and love that followed online was tremendous, with professionals and fans wishing him a speedy recovery.

Just over 24 hours later an update was posted.

“We regret to inform you that Darwyn lost his battle with cancer early this morning at 1:30 AM ET. We read all of your messages of support to him throughout the day yesterday. He was filled with your love and surrounded by friends and family at his home in Florida. Donations can be made to the Canadian Cancer Society and Hero Initiative.”

A longer statement was said to issued later that day, but as of this story none has been made.

This final posting ended with a quote from John F. Kennedy’s New Frontier speech. “Then we shall not be weary. Then we shall prevail.”

Darwyn Cooke’s first published work was in DC Comics’ New Talent Showcase #19. He found no work after this in comics, so he turned his attention to animation where he worked on Batman: The Animated Series, Superman: The Animated Series, he animated the title sequence to Batman Beyond, and served as a director for Men in Black: The Series. He returned to comics in 2000 with Batman: Ego. He would go on to revamp Catwoman at DC with Ed Brubaker in 2001 and it is this version of the character that exists today.

The work for which Cooke will be remembered is DC: The New Frontier, a six issue series published in 2004. It bridged the gap between the Golden and Silver Age of DC Comics and has become an iconic series for the publisher. It was adapted into an animated film in 2006. This series defined his style, which had heroes look retro but seemed as modern and sensible as any book published.

In the past few years Cooke adapted four of Richard Stark’s Parker novels for IDW Publishing, which continued to show his diversity and talent as a creator.

His most recent work was illustrating The Twilight Children, a four issue series written by Gilbert Hernandez for Vertigo.

Cooke won several Eisner and Joe Shuster Awards.

The weekend saw the Internet devoted to the love, memories, inspiration, and photographs of the man and the images of his work. His impact on the industry will be felt for decades to come.

SciFiPulse would like to extend their condolences to the Cooke family. As stated in their last posting, the family asks that donations can be made to the Canadian Cancer Society and Hero Initiative.

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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