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Darwyn Cooke dead: Comic book artist dies after battle with cancer

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Canadian comic book artist and writer Darwyn Cooke has died from cancer. He was 53.

The news about the Eisner Award winner came Saturday morning on his blog. “We regret to inform you that Darwyn lost his battle with cancer early this morning at 1:30 AM ET. We read all of your messages of support to him throughout the day yesterday. He was filled with your love and surrounded by friends and family at his home in Florida.”

On Friday, Cooke’s wife, Marsha, announced he was receiving palliative care “following a bout with aggressive cancer.”

Promising that a longer statement would come later Saturday, the announcement ended with a quote from President John Kennedy’s “New Frontier” speech: “Then we shall not be weary. Then we shall prevail.”

Cooke’s first published work came in 1985 in a short story in New Talent Showcase #19. After leaving the comic book world for 15 years, Warner Bros. Animation hired him in the early 1990s to work as a storyboard artist for Batman: The Animated Series and Superman: The Animated Series, going on to create the main title design for Batman Beyond in 1999 before becoming a director for Sony Animation’s Men in Black: The Series.

Cooke then worked for DC Comics, revamping the Catwoman character with writer Ed Brubaker before writing and drawing DC: The New Frontier and Solo, an anthology project that landed Cooke an Eisner Award for “Best Single Issue” for his Solo #5.

Starting in late 2006, Cooke wrote and drew an ongoing The Spirit series, landing him two Joe Shuster Awards as an artist and cartoonist. He won another as writer of Superman Confidential. Among his other works, Cooke adapted Donald Westlake’s novel The Hunter into Richard Stark’s Parker: The Hunger for IDW Publishing, followed by the author’s other books, The Outfit, The Score, and Slayground. More recently, Cooke was the writer-artist of Before Watchmen: Minutemen.

Early last year Cooke talked to EW about his first original story, Revengeance, saying he was “fairly full of an equal measure of both nerves and excitement.”

Below, some remembrances of Cooke from famous members of the creative community.