Darwyn Cooke was born in in 1962. His first foray as a professional comic book artist occurred in 1985 with a short story in DC’s Talent Showcase #19. But the pressure to make a living forced him out of the comic book industry for the next 25 years. During that time, he worked as a graphic designer and art director.
In the early 90s, Cooke tried to return to comics, but found little interest in his style among the major publishers. He was, however, hired by Bruce Timm at Warner Brothers Animation to work as a storyboard artist for both the Superman: The Animated Series and Batman: The Animated Series. Then in 1999, he became head animator on Batman Beyond. For about a year, Darwyn also worked as director for Sony Animation’s Men in Black: The Series.
DC Comics then approached Cooke about a project which he had submitted years earlier. This project was a graphic novel published under the title Batman: Ego in 2000. The success of this work led to Cooke getting snagged by Marvel to work on Spider-Man’s Tangled Web, X-Force and Wolverine/Doop.
In 2001, Cooke and writer Ed Brubaker teamed up to revamp Catwoman. They started with a 4-issue arc in Detective Comics #759-62 entitled "Trail of the Catwoman." The story led to a new Catwoman title by Brubaker and Cooke, in which the character’s costume and supporting cast were redesigned. Cooke stayed on the series, which was met with much critical acclaim, until issue #4. In 2002, he wrote and drew a prequel, Selina's Big Score. This graphic novel told the tale of what had happened to the character directly before this series. Also in 2002, Darwyn appeared in Just Imagine Stan Lee creating Catwoman. Cooke drew a short back up story written by Michael Uslan and inked by Mike Allred.
Cooke’s next project was a 6-issue mini-series published in 2004, called DC: The New Frontier. This opus won him the Eisner Award in 2005 for Best Limited Series and again in 2007 for both Best Graphic Album- Reprint and Best Publication Design. Then in 2006, he received another Eisner, this time in the category of Best Single Issue for creating Solo #5, an issue in an anthology series put out by DC.
Next was Batman/The Spirit which was published in November 2006, followed in December by the first issue of the ongoing series, The Spirit. Meanwhile in July of 2006, it was announced that Warner Brothers Animation would release a series of direct-to-DVD animated features based on DC comic books. One of the first comics to be thus adapted was DC: The New Frontier. The movie was produced by Bruce Timm.
Additionally, Darwyn wrote the first 6-issue arc of the Superman monthly series, Superman Confidential, which debuted in November of 2006. Then in July of 2009, Cooke’s graphic novel adaptation of the Richard Stark novel, The Hunter was published by IDW. The second, the Outfit, won Cooke the 2011 Eisner Award for Best Writer/Artist.
On 5/13/16, Darwyn Cooke's wife, Marsha, announced that Darwyn is battling a very aggressive form of cancer.
On 5/14/16 at 1:30 a.m. EST, Darwyn lost the battle against cancer.