Darwyn Cooke (November 16, 1962 – May 14, 2016)
I used to see Darwyn Cooke fairly often, when he visited Halifax, in bookstores, where I’d see him looking at his own works, collected in trades editions. I’d always smile, and sometimes said “Hello Darwyn!” And other times, I’d not bother him. But each time, I’d always be thinking, “I don’t blame you. If I had works in print, I’d be checking them out in the bookstores, too!”
Seeing one’s own works in print must be a dizzying/exciting thing!
Darwyn Cooke came to Nova Scotia several years ago for a visit; he immediately fell in love with this province, and moved here with his family.
I have an excellent Zorro pen and ink illustration I had asked him to do for me, many years ago, (which he did gratis/free), way back on Sept 26th of 2006, at the annual Halifax, N.S. ‘Word On The Street’ event. I know the date to this day, because I printed, in pencil, the date it was done, at the very bottom of that illustration. This Darwyn Cooke illustration has been on my living room wall, ever since!
At the time, I recall saying to him, as he was rendering it for me, “Zorro is my # 1 favourite fictional character of all time, in any and all media.”
To which he’d replied, “Well, he’s a great one!” Then, he added, “You know, I think this is the very first time I’ve ever drawn Zorro! I think this is the first request I’ve ever had to draw that character!”
I’ve always been a HUGE fan of Darwyn Cooke, and it seems incredibly surreal to try to come to terms with the fact that he is gone.
I had sought out, at the time, each and every one of his publications that were published, (that I was aware of, at least), and bought, read and enjoyed them all! His version of Will Eisner’s The Spirit DC Comics’ series was fantastic, his version of Catwoman, his Justice League: The New Frontier series, and the later animated film based on it, ‘The Man With The Getaway Face’, the four Richard Stark’s ‘PARKER’ series of graphic novels, based in turn, on Richard Stark’s prose novels… and so many other things.
While he in recent years made his home in Nova Scotia, the news reports online say that he passed away (less than a day after online news reported he had cancer), at his family home, in Florida.
Darwyn Cooke was originally a native of Toronto, where I lived for several years myself, back in the early to mid-1980’s.
He was only 53 years of age, younger than myself.
I had the chance over the years to speak to him a handful of times; he seemed to be such a gentle spirit. And, as we all know, a creator with an incredible imagination, drive, and spirit! His life’s published works will stand the test of time; I think we are all richer for having experienced his creative visions.