Interview with Comic Artist Darwyn Cooke

Interview with Comic Artist Darwyn Cooke


Interview by: Geek Girl Critical Miss

At Montreal Comiccon this year (2015), I had the opportunity to meet Darwyn Cooke and get some of my comics signed and he graciously agreed to do an interview with me...

Interview with Comic Artist Darwyn Cooke

Critical Miss: So, I'm here with Mr. Darwyn Cooke, comic book artist extraordinaire. He is here at Montreal Comiccon for the weekend. Thank you for doing this interview with me.

Darwyn Cooke: Oh hey, it's my pleasure. Hello Montreal.

CM: My first question for you is when did you first know that you wanted to be an artist?

DC: Wow, that goes back to when I was almost an infant. Shortly before my grandmother passed away, she gave me a little folder and in it were a bunch of drawings I had done when I was three years old. And actually the oldest drawings of mine that exist, are crayon drawings of Batman and Robin that I did on construction paper and then cut out to make my own action figures, since I could remember.

CM: That's really awesome. When did you first decide that you were going to actually do this professionally?

DC: I decided when I was thirteen and I worked at it all the way through till I was twenty. Went down to DC comics to show them my work, and they bought my sample story and that's when reality set in. Back then they paid a beginner like me 35$ a page. There was no FedEx, people didn't even have answering machines back then and it was impossible to work for a New York company out of Canada and at 35$ a page, it took me a week to do a page back then. I couldn't afford to do it so I had to give it up and find a real job and then it was in my mid thirties I got back to it.

Interview with Comic Artist Darwyn Cooke

CM: Wow, I'm an actor myself so I totally understand that you have to get those real jobs in order to help support the thing that you really want to do. And do you have any one person that really influenced your style of art.

DC: There are a few. There was a comic artist named Alexander Toth who was an enormous influence on me. Most of his work was done in the 50's, 60's and 70's, very influential guy. He's actually the guy who designed the Super Friends for television and Space Ghost. I'd say most people would know him for that work more than his comic work. And you know, Neal Adams was a huge influence on me when I was young and Jack Kirby.

CM: And what has been your favourite project to date that you have worked on?

DC: My favourite project? Jeez, probably Parker, the crime books I'm doing, I've always loved the character and I love crime drama. I have the most fun doing that I think. I did a couple of Spider-Man books a long time ago and they were a lot of fun as well.

Interview with Comic Artist Darwyn Cooke

CM: I can imagine, Spider-Man is usually pretty fun to do. Is there a character or a book that you would like to do that you haven't yet had the opportunity to work on?

DC: You know, I get asked this question a lot and actually the only character I can think of out of all the Marvel/DC stable that I would really still like to get my hands on would be the Spectre. I love that avenging angel, and again it's a great crime story with that supernatural retribution on top of it. I've been lucky, I've got to work on almost everything a guy like me would want to, that even things that I could never have dreamed of doing like the Spirit, you know, I've sort of been lucky that way.

Interview with Comic Artist Darwyn Cooke

CM: And thinking about your actual style, just sort of that really retro more golden age, when did it really settle in that that was your key artistic style?

DC: Probably, it was in the mid 80's, I'm don't know if you are old enough to remember this (CM laughs) but Heavy Metal magazine was very popular back then and I started seeing a lot of that retro style artwork coming out of Europe and I knew that that was where my heart lay in terms of art, and when I saw there were guys actually doing it in modern times and that it was making a comeback, it sorta gelled it in my head yes this is the way to go for me.

Interview with Comic Artist Darwyn Cooke

CM: It's beautiful art, it's really great and you draw Harley very well, she's my favourite. What are your next appearances that you have coming up?

DC: Montreal is it until September. I'll be in Baltimore and then Cincinnati for shows.

CM: What would be your words of wisdom for somebody who wants to break out into this very fickle, very difficult world that you work in?

DC: I guess two pieces of advice, one is decide if you are a collaborator or a cartoonist. So, those are the two ways in, I think that for me, writing and drawing, doing both was the way to go because you're not waiting on somebody else and you're able to present yourself in a multifaceted way to the company. Now if you are just a writer or an artist, there is really only one way to do it, you have to find a partner. You have to team up with an artist or a writer that you feel excited about working with and you have to go at it together. These days editors don't have the attention span that they used to, and unless you can show them something complete, it's a very difficult thing to break into. So if two of you can get together and support each other and work towards it together I think you'll find it's a lot easier.

Interview with Comic Artist Darwyn Cooke

CM: I think that is all I've got...

DC: It was painless (laughs)

CM: I'm glad that it was painless (laughs) Thank you very much

DC: It was my pleasure.

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Interview with Comic Artist Darwyn Cooke

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August 04 2015

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