Famed comic book artist Darwyn Cooke, best known for his work at DC Comics, died today after a battle with cancer, his family confirmed via a statement on his official Web site. He was 53.
Cooke’s wife Marsha revealed yesterday that the Canadian artist had been battling an “aggressive” form of cancer, and was receiving palliative care.
The Eisner Award-winning cartoonist began publishing his work in 1985, and worked in Canada for 15 years as a graphic and product designer as well as magazine art director before landing a job in the early 1990s at Warner Bros. Animation under animator Bruce Timm. At WB, he worked as a storyboard artist for the hit animated TV show Batman: The Animated Series as well as on Superman: The Animated Series, and also animated the main titles for Batman Beyond.
Cooke went on to freelance at DC Comics, working on Detective Comics and then its revamped Catwoman series, before getting the stand-out six-issue DC: The New Frontier miniseries, which he wrote and illustrated. The miniseries, which takes place mainly in the 1950s, went on to win Eisner, Harvey, and Shuster awards, and was eventually released as an Absolute Edition and adapted into the animated movie Justice League: The New Frontier. The storyline saw Golden Age superheroes Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman teaming up with the heroes of the Silver Age, the Flash, Green Lantern, and Martian Manhunter.
In 2006, the artist partnered with writer Jeph Loeb for a Batman/The Spirit crossover, which landed Cooke a gig as writer and illustrator for an ongoing Spirit series for DC, and yield him more awards.
In recent years, Cooke adapted Richard Stark’s Parker novels for IDW Publishing, and worked on two installments in DC’s Watchmen prequel comics: Before Watchmen: Minutemen, as writer and artist, and Before Watchmen: Silk Spectre, as writer.
His artwork has graced the covers of many comic book issues and has been adapted for the small screen and onto toys and collectibles. The entertainment world has lost one of its greats today in an artist and creator who brought a unique spin on modern-day beloved comic book stories and art.
Here’s the official statement from Cooke’s family:
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.
Please continue to respect our privacy as we go through this very difficult time.
A longer statement will come later today.
“Then we shall not be weary. Then we shall prevail.” — John F. Kennedy’s New Frontier speech
RIP Darwyn Cooke
November 16, 1962 – May 14, 2016