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Wonder Woman Wednesday: Remembering Darwyn Cooke and His Contribution to Wonder Woman

“It’s the right stuff for superheroes.”

Apparently, that was the simple pitch that recently departed writer/artist Darwyn Cooke supplied for his runaway hit, New Frontier, the maxi-series featuring the Justice League in perhaps their most genuine, symbolic, and meaningful forms.

This was arguably Cooke’s magnum opus. That’s not to discount his revolutionary reboot of Catwoman with Ed Brubaker or his epic work on Will Eisner’s The Spirit, his adaptations of Donald Westlake Parker’s crime novels for IDW . . . or his contribution to Before Watchmen or all of his Eisner awards and . . . I could go on and on with accolades.

Darwyn Cooke tried to break into the industry when no one wanted his style. He went to work for Bruce Timm on Batman: The Animated Series which was a huge hit. Suddenly, everyone wanted his style. This being Wonder Woman Wednesday, I’d like to talk about what Darwyn did for Wonder Woman and perhaps real-life “Wonder Women” all around.

In an interview with iFanboy, Darwyn confessed his favorite part of New Frontier was our beloved Wonder Woman and the way he portrayed her. Apparently ,he was asked to make her “skinnier” and flat out refused, ready to ditch the whole project. Eventually, DC relented and let WW be a full-figured gal.

And, guess what? Everyone loved that version of Wonder Woman! I mean she’s an Amazon for the love of Zeus! The embodiment of Wonder Woman is something that displays courage, strength, empathy, tenacity, and wear with all, whether she’s a size 2 or a size 12.

It’s a shame Darwyn never worked on a project strictly featuring Wonder Woman. You can tell by the many convention and sketch book pieces he did of her that he had a fondness for the Princess of Paradise Island. Luckily, his unforgettable portrayal of her will live on forever in the pages of New Frontier.

To say that the passing of Darwyn Cooke last Saturday, May 14th, at the age of 53 after a silent battle with cancer is a tremendous loss to the comic book industry is an understatement. I can’t help but compare the loss of Prince, as Darwyn was a revolutionary himself. Classic, yet unique. There never has nor will be another creator with his succinct vision again. Darwyn had a cartoony style that translated into real-world relation. His visuals are always a pleasure to look at. His storytelling compelling and a great example of what magic can be done in making good comics, often praised for the sense of hope he brought to his stories.

Fortunately for us, due to a great love of comics and an impeccable work ethic, Cooke left behind a nice catalog of stories for various publishers involving various characters all worth pursuing or rediscovering. He was the right stuff for comics and will be sorely missed. Safe travels on your way to your “New Frontier,” Mr. Cooke.

That’s a wrap for this week’s Wonder Woman Wednesday. See you here next week and be sure to check out and “Likke” the I Am Wonder Fan page on Facebook.


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