Even before the news this morning of Darwyn Cooke's death, fans and colleagues had begun posting galleries of the his work, providing a welcome reminder of just how much he'd written and drawn in the past 16 years -- and how, time and again, his comics struck a chord with readers.
From "Catwoman" to "The Spirit" to "Richard Stark's Parker," Cooke could capture the essence of a character, whether a Gotham antiheroine, a masked crimefighter or remorseless thief, and draw us into that world with his writing and his art.
Like many fans, I first became aware of Cooke through his brief -- but incredibly influential -- collaboration with writer Ed Brubaker on DC Comics' "Catwoman." Then I rediscovered him again in 2004 with "DC: The New Frontier," the award-winning miniseries that not only helped to define Cooke's career, but also the way many of us view modern superheroes.
Much that has been written, and will be again, about what the work has to say about superheroes, and superhero comics, of the Golden, Silver and modern ages. But I'll remember "The New Frontier," and Cooke, for a four-page sequence that remains perhaps my favorite portrayal of Robin the Boy Wonder. Just four pages.
There will be a lot of remembrances of Cooke this morning, and in the days that follow, but there are few better ways to celebrate the life, career and contributions of such an influential artist than with a look back at some of his work.