Oct. 12, 2013 | 1:49 p.m.
Jack Kirby’s “New Gods,” Jim Steranko’s “Nick Fury” works, Dave Gibbons’ “Watchmen” and Charles Schulz’s “Peanuts” will all get deluxe books reproducing their original penciled-and-inked pages from IDW Publishing. And Steranko and the company are at work on a new, original project. The San Diego-based comics and art book publisher announced the Artist’s or Artifact Editions of the hugely influential works at its Saturday morning “Most Explosive Panel of 2013” at New York Comic Con, with Steranko as a surprise guest. The iconoclastic Steranko, a comics legend and Twitter sensation with a head of distinctive white hair, entered to the James Bond theme music and was frank about both his stature and his interactions with other publishers. “I probably have the distinction of producing the smallest amount of work that made the most amount of noise in this business. You […]
June 11, 2012 | 9:43 a.m.
Last week, the first issue of “Before Watchmen: Minutemen” was the shot heard ’round the world for comic book fans. The 32-page book — featuring the writing and artwork of Darwyn Cooke — added, for the first time, a new chapter to “Watchmen,” the 1980s epic that still stands as the bestselling and most acclaimed graphic novel ever. “Watchmen,” by the British tandem of writer Alan Moore and artist Dave Gibbons, was first published in a 12-issue limited series that began in September 1986 and — with its scale, intricacy, literary aspiration, storytelling formats and sheer craft — would drag the entire medium up the pop-culture staircase of ambition. The mythology and rhythm of “Watchmen” was so singular that, as the years passed, it seemed entirely natural that it sit on a shelf by itself. Now that bookcase is going to get crowded. “Before Watchmen” […]
June 07, 2012 | 4:55 p.m.
“Before Watchmen” has arrived. After months of hot-button debate (and plenty of hot-air declarations), the first installment of the six-issue “Minutemen” miniseries is now on sale. The issue, written and drawn by Darwyn Cooke, is the vanguard arrival of DC’s “Before Watchmen” initiative, which widens the mythology of “Watchmen,” that 12-issue epic by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons that (in a collected single-book form) stands as the medium’s most acclaimed and influential graphic novel. (Moore is bitterly opposed to these new “Watchmen” efforts while Gibbons has accepted payment but kept himself at arm’s length.) Comics superstar Cooke, meanwhile, is never shy around controversy and we caught up with him to talk about camping out on sacred ground. HC: Would you describe yourself as a passionate fan or a disciple of the original 12-issue “Watchmen” series by Moore and Gibbons? DC: I […]
March 06, 2012 | 10:15 a.m.
SPIDER-MAN at 50: This is the 50th anniversary of the Marvel icon and all year Hero Complex will be talking to notable names about the character’s success and singular appeal. Today: Darwyn Cooke explains how he found a connection — and a career — in early Spider-Man comics. If you look his audacious career, you might think Darwyn Cooke doesn’t believe in the concept of sacred ground — this is, after all, the writer-artist behind an upcoming prequel to “Watchmen,” an acclaimed revival of Will Eisner’s “The Spirit” and IDW’s ambitious, ongoing adapations of Donald Westlake’s Parker novels — but the Nova Scotian said that in his youth there was a holy text that arrived and inspired his entire artistic life: “The Amazing Spider-Man” King Size Special No. 9 back in 1973. “For me, the greatest Spidey story I ever read was the first. It was […]
Feb. 01, 2012 | 3:00 a.m.
“Watchmen” didn’t just make comic-book history in 1986 with its sprawling, subversive doomsday tale, it became something close to a holy text for comic-book fans. That’s why the publishing news out of New York today will make some purists feel like it’s the end of the world. DC Comics is going back to the universe of “Watchmen” this summer by launching seven new prequel series that will collectively be referred to as “Before Watchmen,” marking the first time that characters such as Doctor Manhattan, Rorschach and the Comedian have appeared anywhere in comics since the original 12-issue series, which in a single-volume collection became the bestselling graphic novel of all time. For some fans, the project will be viewed with deep cynicism because of the absence of the “Watchmen” creators, writer Alan Moore and artist Dave Gibbons, but others will […]
Oct. 04, 2010 | 5:00 a.m.
Darwyn Cooke pulled off the perfect crime last year with “The Hunter,” his graphic-novel adaptation of the 1962 novel of the same name by the late, great Donald E. Westlake (an author who, just like his heist men, decided it was best to use an alias and wrote under the name Richard Stark). “The Hunter” earned Cooke an Eisner Award and a Harvey for best cartoonist, and, this week, the Nova Scotia artist becomes a true repeat offender as IDW Publishing delivers Cooke’s second hardcover Westlake adaptation, “The Outfit,” which follows the bloodied path of Parker, a career criminal with a penitentiary stare and brass-knuckles heart. Cooke, best known for “DC: The New Frontier,” will be at the New York Comic-Con this weekend, and all eyes in the industry will be on him and his new book. I caught up with him by phone recently to talk […]
July 18, 2009 | 7:30 p.m.
This is a longer version of my story that is running Monday on the cover of the Los Angeles Times Calendar section. Even when the movies ended up bad — and they usually did — crime novelist Donald E. Westlake never had a problem taking Hollywood money for his ideas. But with his signature creation, the ruthless career criminal known simply as Parker, Westlake insisted that the names be changed to protect the guilty. Westlake, who died at age 75 this past New Year’s Eve, saw seven movies made from his Parker novels (which were all published under his pseudonym Richard Stark), but in each film the main character’s name was changed; even when Lee Marvin, Robert Duvall or Mel Gibson was in the role, Westlake wouldn’t entrust his favorite brand name to anyone else. That changed, though, in the final months […]