Darwyn Cooke was my genesis as odd as that sounds and the reason I wanted to become a sequential artist. Heck, he’s the reason why I have such a profound love of Kirby and artists of yesterday. His work opened doors for me and turned me from a kid who only liked NEW and COOL stuff, to a person who became a golden, silver, and bronze age junkie and it all started with DC: The New Frontier, my gateway drug into what would become my lifelong obsession with classic comic books. Even though Cooke isn’t my favorite artist, he is certainly one of my favorites.
I’ll say this of him though. Darwyn Cooke was a phenomenal talent and one of the greatest artists of the 21st century. His mastery over shadow and light was something very few since Will Eisner have come close to. He had the ability to inject life into anything he worked on with an economic line value to be reckoned with. Darwyn Cooke was Jack Kirby meets Alex Toth. He was the Golden Age, he was the Silver Age, he was crime comics, he was western comics, he was… he was Darwyn Cooke and there will never be another like him. Yet we owe him for breaking the stagnation of “house” style that plagued comics for much of the 90’s-00’s. Cooke was a retro-pioneer who can certainly be credited with helping broaden the talent pool within mainstream comic books.
I urge you all to check out his work. DC: The New Frontier, Parker, Hunter, The Spirit, Solo, Catwoman, etc… anything you can get your paws on, do it. If you think he’s all capes and cowls, you’re in for a real surprise.
Above you’ll see the drawing I did in tribute. I did it in pencil and copic marker. I haven’t used the traditional medium in a while since going full digital. But I felt I owed it to Cooke, to go at it old school and see what came of it – with a tad bit of digital for flare.
As the man himself said – FUCK CANCER.
– Aaron A. Alvarez