darwyn cooke



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.




Will Eisner - The Spirit #17Today we get to celebrate comics by remembering the birthday of the father of the graphic novel, Will Eisner (March 6, 1917 – January 3, 2005). Known for creating The Spirit and longer stories such as A Contract With God, Eisner continues to be a reigning influence on comics and graphic storytelling. The high school friend of Bob Kane started his comics career at an early age and continued working until his death. Tufts University screens the 2007 film Will Eisner: Portrait of a Sequential Artist on Thursday as we celebrate Will Eisner Week at Earth Prime Time.


Sure, we’ve gushed about Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, but a man important to comic books has escaped the public’s consciousness over the years. Will Eisner’s cinematic visions of the comic book page alongside a kinetic lettering style continues to define the look of the comic book page as professional artists continue to learn from his masterful storytelling techniques.

The Spirit is perhaps Eisner’s most notable work. The presumed dead police detective Denny Colt establishes a hideout in Central City’s Wildwood Cemetery.

The Spirit was a dashing vigilante, hunting down his arch enemy, The Octopus, and solving crimes with sidekick Ebony White. The stories ran the gamut of crime and detective noir to romance and horror.

Many great comic artists have had their hands on the domino-masked hero, from launching the career of Wally Wood in 1952 to modern day vintage illustrators Darwyn Cooke (New Frontier) and J. Bone (Rocketeer: Hollywood Horror). Sin City’s Frank Miller made the jump to full time director and filmmaker, only to release a vacant and vapid adaptation of the character on screen in 2008′s The Spirit.


DigBoston and LeaguePodcast Comic Book Picks of the Week for July 18, 2012

The League of Ordinary Gentlemen never wants to forget that there is a serious lack of lead female heroes and creators in mainstream comics. This week’s top pick is Captain Marvel #1 from Kelly Sue DeConnick. The Avenger Carol Danvers trades in The ‘Ms.’ title for the Captain rank alongside Captain America! … Covert action team of female agents tangles with real American heroes G.I. Joe in Danger Girl / G.I. Joe #1. … Amanda Conner and Darwyn Cooke are providing backstory for the Watchmen’s Silk Spectre with issue 2 of Before Watchmen Silk Spectre. Trained by her Mom, the original Silk Spectre, to be a superhero at 17, Julie runs away to San Fran. Find out how her path leads her to meeting her omnipotent husband, Doctor Manhattan.


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DigBoston and LeaguePodcast Comic Book Picks of the Week for July 4, 2012



Continuing his graphic adaptations of Richard Stark’s ‘Parker’ series of late 50s gangster crime novels, Darwyn Cooke takes on The Score. Recommended if you like Mad Men, loose women and loose cigarettes. All of our favorite creators populate the picks this week. Mike Norton’s Battlepug webcomic is collected for fans of the barbarian and his trusty gigantic pug. Check out the series weekly here. The book will include tons of bonus puggage! Man of Action Studios is back with another all ages pick Batula! Livingston the fruit bat is bitten by a vampire and the transformation takes hold. Your kids will love to join Batula on his adventures …. “Not a single Captain America book shipped this week. That’s weird.” — LeaguePodcast.com.


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