Graphic Ink: The DC Comics Art of Darwyn Cooke
♦ Darwyn Cooke comes from the old school of comic artists. He spent much of his earlier career working in animation and it wasn’t until the release of one-off Batman: Ego back in 2000 that he got noticed by the comics reading public.
Cooke takes Alex Toth, Jordi Benet, Bruce Timm, Joe Kubert and possibly Michael Golden. His loose graphic style means that his artwork is bold and his storytelling is dynamic. This book celebrates his work at DC, a company he has done more work for than probably any other, in a lavish oversized hardcover which brings together work like the two Jonah Hex stories he has illustrated, the entire issue of Solo, the much-lamented DC anthology series from the beginning of last decade, the issue of the Starman spinoff The Shade he illustrated with inker J Bone and scores of his covers for many of DC’s titles. He even got to do a full month of variant covers on their titles earlier this year. Cooke is a very versatile artist and this book shows that he is able to adapt his style to suit the subject matter. The Green Lantern story here tips its hat to Neal Adams and 1990s GL artist Mark Bright while the Hex stories, especially All-Star Western #34 shows how he can use simple lines to convey a sophistication that is lacking in many other comic artist’s work. Looking at his art, you can also see how he has been influenced by the likes of woodcut artist Lynd Ward and there is even a little bit of master poster illustrator Robert McGinnis in the mix too. The larger format really gives Cooke’s art room to breath and what is clear from this book is that Cooke really understands and empathises with the characters he has portrayed over the years. He has brought a great deal to modern comics and it is thanks to his discovery by DC’s then Senior Art Director Mark Chiarello, still a major player at the company, that we have been treated to his comic work over the past decade and a half. Graphic Ink: The DC Comics Art of Darwyn Cooke is a glorious commemoration of one of modern comics’ best practitioners and is a worthy addition to anyone’s comicbook shelf.