Iconoclastic Eisner Award winning writer and artist Darwyn Cooke held court at Comic-Con on Sunday and our Steven Sautter was in the room to take in what he had to say and also ask him a question during the panel. Cooke was joined on the panel by his editor, Scott Dunbar.
On The Score:
Scott Dunbar: Bruce Timm said it was the best one yet.
Darwyn Cooke: You have to understand, I used to work for Bruce and he was merciless. You’d take a drawing and laugh. “Ha, Mr. Fantastic looks like Dick Van Dyke.”
Scott Dunbar: We’re doing a fifth one too.
Darwyn Cooke: We’ll stick with Parker till they take him away from us. There’s other things I want to do, but this guy and I, we’re in it for the long haul.
Darwyn Cooke: 4th book is The Handle. Comes just after the Score. I already knew where I wanted to end, so I wanted this to come before. It’s a very visual book. Takes place on an island with a casino. FBI and Helicopters. All kinds of crazy stuff.
Darwyn Cooke: The last one we want to do is Butcher’s Moon. The one bona fide peice of literatrure. But you want to know Slayground first. We could do a 48 pager of Slayground. So you should be doing a 48 pager of the Grofield novel that shares a chapter with Slayground. Handle will be coming out in “Very late 2013” Going to start putting a project in between these for awhile.
Scott Dunbar: These aren’t books that you just put in the 3rd quarter every year. They are worth the wait.
On the the unique coloring that he uses:
Darwyn Cooke: When you look at artwork that hasn’t been colored, you can tell that the color is half the work. Hunter had Teal, because that color was everywhere in 1962. It did so in a distinctive but non overpowering way. Outfit went with deep blue, because it was night. Score, we need a sunny color here. It’s an exciting change for the reader. There’s a little trick we pulled, there’s a point in the story that everything blows up. And we pulled the blacks for two pages, so that orange just explodes.
On his process:
Darwyn Cooke: Everything is composed on the computer. We’re doing it the way they would in the 60s. It’s all old school. This page is all orange flowing out to white. I did that one on the computer. I inked it in black, and took it into photoshop for the orange.
Scott Dunbar: If you go to Albert Moy, Darwyn’s art dealer has a real nice stack of originals.
When do we get a Dawryn Edition?
Scoot Dunbar: It’s something we’ve talked about.
Darwyn Cooke: I don’t know what we’d do it of. I’m very pleased, but I thought that stuff happened after you died or retired. But my time right now is best spent telling stories.
MORE AFTER THE JUMP
What reference material do you use?
Darwyn Cooke: Parker was born the same year I was. My entire life has been the study of that mid-century style I grew up in. My earliest memory is of sitting at the kitchen table drawing with crayons. On the formica table top. I spent an inordinate amount of my life studying that in one way or another. With Parker, I sat down and said it’s time to stop doing that. Close your eyes, and remember what I think it looked like. If there’s something specific, I’ll look it up. But most of it doesn’t have to be authentic, it just has to feel authentic. Everything in Ditko’s world felt real, because he figured it all out. It’s his vision of things and it feels complete.
On a non-crime fiction book that he’d like to explore:
Darwyn Cooke: There’s a love story at the end of the world that I’ve been thinking about for five years. Mike Alred and I are talking about doing something creator owned next year. I’ve got four things in the air. It’s a matter of where the balls land. Before Watchmen is a 16 hour day job. In the new year, I have the new Parker book.
On why he hasn’t gone beyond the 60s in his work:
Darwyn Cooke: On some level you become fascinated with the period right before you became an adult. I see kids talking about the 80s and I’m like, are you out of your mind? In the 60s, it was a beautiful adventure to get into a car. The 1957 El Dorado. It’s like being blown by Audrey Hepburn. Today, there’s such an autonomy with what we do.
Scott Dunbar: Not just cars. Book design, films…
Darwyn Cooke: There are exceptions to this, but yeah. When I see something courageously designed, I know it. Because there’s so little out there. Mignola’s place is 200 years ago, on a foggy castle.
Steven Sautter: Since you are doing The Handle, are you going to make reference to the Grofield novel The Damsel, that follows directly on from the Handle novel?
Darwyn Cooke: No. And, well, for those that haven’t read the books. Both The Handle and Slayground end the same way. Something happens to Grofield and Parker has to pick him up and continue the job. So because I’m doing Slayground, I can’t end the Handle the same way. So for the first time I am extensively rewriting Westlake. And I’m nervous as hell! I’ll change a bit here or there, but I’m nervous.
Special thanks to Nick Bungay