Darwyn Cooke Interview

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(WoW #294)

Darwyn Cooke has worked on such comics projects as Batman: Ego, Catwoman, and New Frontier. This month, he begins chronicling the adventures of Will Eisner's The Spirit at DC. Westfield's Roger Ash went to Darwyn to find out more about this book.

Westfield: How did you become involved with this project?

Darwyn Cooke: In early 2005, DC Comics approached me about the possibility of my handling the project. It has taken a while to bring it to market, so to speak, but I hope that readers out there find it worth the wait.

Westfield: Are you a fan of The Spirit?

Cooke: Very much so. During High School in the seventies, I spent hours and hours tracking down all the Warren reprints, as well as the Harveys and the two Kitchen Sink comics. I became obsessed for a period with his storytelling ability, and the fearlessness with which he would employ new storytelling techniques.

Westfield: The Spirit is unquestionably tied very closely to Will Eisner. Were you at all anxious about taking on this character?

Cooke: That is sort of an understatement. It took me several days to decide to commit to the project, because of the size of the shoes I had to fill. In the end, I asked Denis Kitchen and DC if I could place the strip in the present day. That gave me several new story ideas and graphic advantages that a period homage wouldn't.

Westfield: There are many well known supporting characters in The Spirit. Will you be adding some of your own?

Cooke: The book will feature several characters from the existing canon, as well as brace of new characters. One of the most exciting creative aspects of the strip has been developing new villains and supporting players for Denny to react to.

We are going to have Dolan, Ellen, Ebony, the Octopus, P'Gell, Carrion, and Sand Saref as well as several new characters that reflect more contemporary types. I've divided the city into areas controlled by various crime lords, each one created in the Dick Tracy vein. They run the gamut from darkly humorous to outright disgusting.

Westfield: What can people look forward to in the book?

Cooke: If we do our jobs, they should be able to look forward to entertaining and exciting single-issue stories that avoid heavily interlaced continuity. I want the strip to be a place where crime, action, romance, humor and even horror can all be brought into play to create the kind of book you actually enjoy reading.

Westfield: Anything you can tell us about upcoming stories?

Cooke: Well, I'm not a spoiler by nature but let's see... nope, sorry. I've said it before: stories are like Christmas presents and they should be a surprise.

Westfield: Are there any other projects you're working on that you'd like to mention?

Cooke: Why not? I'm currently writing a Superman tale for the talented Tim Sale that should be out in November. It's a look at Superman from early in his career, and takes it's inspiration from an old Bill Finger story, as opposed to modern continuity. Tim's been turning in gorgeous work on this project.

Absolute New Frontier ships in October, and I'm quite proud of how that turned out. I'm also very involved in the production of the New Frontier animated DTV being produced by Bruce Timm over at Warner's animation.

Westfield: Any closing comments?

Cooke: As always, thanks to the readers who enjoy story-driven books, and a big shout to all the great fans I meet when I'm out and about.