Saturday, May 14, 2016

Final Page

Lots of comic book artists can copy the style of some of the best work of the 1950s and 60s, making caricatures of the form reflecting the sometimes rushed, sometimes just not as talented aesthetic of those books. But the best of those artists, like Curt Swan, Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, drew the way they did because it was their own particular style, and even if it wasn't photorealism they helped tell the story with what they drew.

Darwyn Cooke, who passed away today at 53, drew pages that resembled some of that classic blocky appearance, but he was no imitator. His style fit quite comfortably in that early 60s flair but did so with a foot firmly in the 21st century.

His two best-known works are probably The New Frontier, a prestige six-issue miniseries about super-heroes battling a deadly nonhuman life form, and his illustrations for four reissues of Donald "Richard Stark" Westlake's Parker crime novels. Cooke also wrote Frontier, coming up a little better than some other artists who don't do so well narrating their pictures.

In my imagination, Kirby is there at the Pearly Gates awaiting Cooke's arrival, and welcoming him in with a "Not bad, kid. Not bad at all."

No comments: