AVAILABLE TODAY! DC COMICS: THE ART OF DARWYN COOKE

KC Carlson. Art by Keith Wilson.

KC Carlson. Art by Keith Wilson.


A KC COLUMN By KC Carlson

Graphic Ink: The DC Comics Art of Darwyn Cooke

Graphic Ink: The DC Comics Art of Darwyn Cooke


I never need an excuse to walk upstairs to my library, grab my hardcover copy of Graphic Ink: The DC Comics Art of Darwyn Cooke, and spend a wonderful couple of hours flipping through the pages. This oversized hardcover was first published in 2015, and I’ve probably pulled it off the shelf at least a couple dozen times since then. It’s easily one of DC’s best art books, due to the efforts of editors Robin Wildman and Jeb Woodard, designer Louis Prandi, and Senior VP – Art, Design & Collected Editions Mark Chiarello. Darwyn shouts out Chi in his introduction to the book, saving the best for last.

Jonah Hex #33

Jonah Hex #33


The book itself is a majestically designed 416-page oversized hardcover (including extra surprises if you slip off the dust jacket). It covers most of Cooke’s career at DC, including some really early work (from 1985, also featuring a page ultimately re-drawn by another artist). There are not only dozens and dozens of covers but major sections from these works: Talent Showcase #19 (1985), Superman Adventures #41 (2000), Legion Worlds #2 (2001), 9-11 (2002), Batman: Gotham Knights #23 (2002), Just Imagine Stan Lee With Chris Bachalo Creating Catwoman #1 (2002), Looney Tunes #100 (2003), JSA All-Stars #3 (2003), Justice League: The New Frontier Special (2008), DC Comics Presents: Superman #1 (2004, again written by Stan Lee), Solo #5 (2005), Green Lantern Secret Files and Origins (2005), American Splendor #3 (2008), Jonah Hex #33 (2008) & #50 (2010), Weird War Tales #1 (2010), House of Mystery #36 (2012), Shade #4 (2012), All-Star Western #34 (2014), Harley Quinn #0 (2014), and Harley Quinn Holiday Special #1 (2015).

Batman: Ego, Cooke's first major work for DC

Batman: Ego, Cooke’s first major work for DC


If that’s not an eclectic collection of work, I don’t know what is. It should also be noted that if you’re expecting to see the same (admittedly exceptional) art style in every story, you’re going to be disappointed. As much as some people want to believe, Darwyn Cooke didn’t have just one art style — he had dozens!

Darwyns's sideways cover for Teen Titans #5

Darwyns’s sideways cover for Teen Titans #5


Besides all of the above stories, Graphic Ink: The DC Comics Art of Darwyn Cooke is packed with exceptionally stunning covers by Darwyn. As well as the dozens and dozens of singles presented here, also captured in this book are mini-cover galleries featuring Catwoman, Bad Girls, DC: The New Frontier, The Spirit, and Before Watchmen. His cover work is topped off with a large selection from the month (February 2015) that Darwyn illustrated 23 (!) variant DC covers published that month — and just to be Darwyn, he drew ‘em all sideways! So dynamic to see them that way!

SO WHY TALK ABOUT ALL THIS NOW?

DC Comics: The Art of Darwyn Cooke

DC Comics: The Art of Darwyn Cooke


Good question, Subhead! DC has just reissued Graphic Ink: The DC Comics Art of Darwyn Cooke in an amazingly priced (even better with Westfield’s great discount!) softcover edition. This time around, it’s called DC Comics: The Art of Darwyn Cooke, but the big deal for this paperback is that it’s adding over twenty covers not collected in the original hardcover! It’s available as of today (14 March 2018) from Westfield and other comic shops. (Although not at Amazon for another week! Take that, Amazon! Westfield rules!)

Supergirl #37 Cooke cover

Supergirl #37 Cooke cover


If you’ve been looking for that magical collection that will keep you flipping through page after page of amazing art (and storytelling!) — and now at a more affordable price than the hardcover — you need look no farther! You may have found a new best friend. Darwyn would have wanted it that way.

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Cooke's variant cover for Catwoman #46

Cooke’s variant cover for Catwoman #46


KC CARLSON SEZ: Want to learn more about the life and career of Darwyn Cooke? After checking out this book, look for Comic Book Artist volume 2 #3, which features a whopping 25-page interview (with lots of art!) with Darwyn Cooke. (Originally from Top Shelf, it’s currently available at TwoMorrows’ website.) You won’t regret it!

WESTFIELD COMICS is not responsible for the stupid things that KC says. Especially that thing that really irritated you. I’m still pretty irritated that Darwyn Cooke died of cancer on May 14, 2016, although I’m happy that the companies that published his work are good about keeping it in print — and that people always want to talk about Darwyn and his work whenever his name comes up. He was one of the good ones — in more ways than one.

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