I woke up late today (still recovering from illness), to the news of Darwyn Cooke’s passing away. It came in the form of a text from our dear friend James Sime. I know James is devastated, he has a lot of good times with Darwyn.
I’m listening to the warm desert wind that easily gusts outside, compelled to say something, share something of the times we had with Darwyn. But I’m finding it difficult on what to say in any meaningful way, feeling sad and awkward. I’m just gonna be straight up about it.
Wendy and I didn’t know him as well as others, but were always happy to see him when we did. He was always so gracious to us. Very kind, and we would always exchange quick positive comments about each other’s artistic efforts. I was thrilled with how much he enjoyed my one issue of Jonah Hex— that meant a lot hearing that from him. I’ve enjoyed Darwyn’s work greatly from the very first encounter I had with it— it’s always so smart, unique and traditional at the same time. You can’t help but find it joyful— even if the subject portrayed might be grim sometimes.
There is so much love for Darwyn Cooke, and deservedly— really a very inspirational creator. We have fond memories sharing booth space with him a bit, a few walks together outside the San Diego Convention Center, or chatting late at night at one of the con bars. Sadly I haven’t spoken to him in quite a long time since avoiding conventions for the past few years. But I always admired his candor, humor, and charm. He was such a charmer! We briefly discussed working on a project together a year or so before I took on Sandman: Overture. The strangest thing about it was he said it surprised him I’d want to do something with him (there’s that graciousness). And I said in reply “Hell yeah, why wouldn’t I?! It’d be brilliant.” I always thought it’d be a blast drawing a story he wrote just for me. I asked what he’d like to do— and he said horror, let’s do a horror tale. That hit the right note for me. It’d be fantastic to sink my teeth into a full on horror story. And I was highly intrigued by Darwyn wanting to write horror. I mean, just what would a Darwyn Cooke horror tale feel like? One written for me to draw.
We made plans to talk it out on the phone, but then life and work happens, and that talk just never managed to occur. I have a lot of regret over that, because it would’ve been magic I’m sure. Time and life never brought us back to that moment. And with his passing, it’ll just never be now. Maybe somewhere in another alternate universe, in a nicer more easy going world, our horror tale exists. Ready to be delved into by an eager readership of his, and mine.
It’s heartbreaking to hear about what he faced, what his family and friends must be going through.
Cheers to you Darwyn, wherever your spirit roams now. You’ll be greatly missed.
Love to all who knew him, to his family and friends.
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