Before Watchmen was released in 2012 to the grousing of original co-creator Alan Moore and a blessing from the original series artist Dave Gibbons.
Fans at the time seemed to be evenly split on the matter as well, but greeted the new Watchmen books with the skepticism of a new Star Wars movie. I’d be interested in seeing a Venn diagram of original Watchmen fans and their reactions to both the limited prequel and also Zach Snyder’s 2009 film adaptation.
In short, one would be hard pressed to find a more controversial DC property writ large. One of the men responsible for revisiting the Minutemen was Darwyn Cooke. His untimely passing last week spurred this review, but truth be told we’ve been thinking about these books for a long time.
Darwyn provided both the story and his unique Golden to Silver Age pulp magazine style illustration to Hollis Mason’s story in Before Watchmen: Minutemen (6 issues) and also teamed up with Amanda Conner, co-writing her book, Before Watchmen: Silk Spectre (4 issues).
If you were on the fence about these books, now is a great time to honor Darwyn’s memory and rediscover this amazing work you may have overlooked.
Back in the 90’s when Swingers was all the rage (yeah, I went there), I would scour my school’s magazine library for gas station advertisements, winking lightbulbs and all sorts of retro design to (literally) cut and paste to make new art.
I was always extremely jealous of that cool style, drawn with a pen, perhaps a wash of a single color and dashes of Tex Avery’s cartoon “The House of Tomorrow”. Nothing appealed to me more than that aesthetic, as I sat listening to the chairman of the board on wax, smoking cigarettes in my fedora, pretending to be an Artist!
Darwyn’s illustration was all of the corny stuff and more, a Mad Men explosion of a simpler time when you could forge a driver’s license with penmanship, rattle scotch around in your tumbler and men tried their darnedest to be honorable. How this man was touched with such incredible skill to make things look ‘older’ we may never know. Except, in the industry he was known as a hard worker, perfecting his craft and always drawing until it was right.
[READ MORE AT FORCES OF GEEK]