His talents were as versatile as the classic comic book characters he brought to life. Darwyn Cooke, celebrated artist, graphic designer, writer and animator, died Saturday at 53, his wife, Marsha, said.
The Canadian-born artist died at his home in Florida following a battle with cancer. “We read all of your messages of support to him throughout the day yesterday,” she wrote in a website post.
Cooke had a hand in drawing Catwoman, Batman, Green Lantern, Minutemen and a myriad of other characters emblazoned on the pages of comic books or on the screen.
“His take on the most iconic heroes in the world were breathtakingly direct and elegant, powerful and cool,” DC Comics said on its website. The award-winning artist was known for his retro style.
He was a fan favorite after his work on the 1960s-based miniseries “DC: The New Frontier.”
Actor Mark Hamill of “Star Wars” remembered Cooke for his exuberance and “effortless stylishness.”
Cooke won more than a half dozen Eisner Awards, which are held annually during San Diego Comic-Con. It is the highest honor anyone in the comic book industry can receive.
Cooke wasn’t content with success only in the superhero genre.
In 2012, he spoke with CNN regarding stylish graphic novels about Parker, a single-named anti-hero of the 1960s. Parker, a hired gun and professional thief, made his debut in 1962 in Richard Stark’s “The Hunter.” Stark was a pseudonym of the late Donald Westlake.
Cooke described his adaptations as being like noir movies on paper. Concerning his book “The Score,” he said the work was intense and exacting, taking notes, laying out the design and adjusting the order of the scenes.
Months were spent at the table, crafting the novel.
“When I work on Parker, that’s all I do. I just immerse myself in it,” Cooke told CNN.
After working earlier in his career as a graphic designer and animator, he jumped into print comics.
DC Comics said: “It was the look and honest simplicity of his characters for which Cooke became famous — as first seen in his breakout work ‘Batman: Ego’ … then followed up by his popular and critically acclaimed work on ‘Catwoman: Selina’s Big Score’ and ‘The Spirit.’ Even after 15 years, Darwyn’s design for Catwoman is still the one used today in both comics and inspired the look for Catwoman on the hit TV show, ‘Gotham.’”