Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Batman: Ego & Other Tails by Darwyn Cooke, with Paul Grist, Bill Wray & Tim Sale

This is a collection of stories in which the common thread, aside from the titular character, is Darwyn Cooke. Two of these stories (“Ego” and “Catwoman: Selina’s Big Score”) were written and drawn by Cooke; the four remaining have him claiming one or the other credit. Basically, what we have here is a journeyman’s book which traces Cooke’s development in the comic book biz.

In his introduction Cooke is circumspect about what he achieved in the Batman stories, which I think is appropriate. Cooke's transition from animated TV series storyboard artist to comic book sequential artist, while certainly impressive, is not always free from some unfortunately inert moments. Similarly, his aesthetic is also a work in progress — in “Ego” the shift away from the look of the TV series takes place very gradually, while much of “Selina’s Big Score” is splashed in bold brush-strokes that could be confused with early David Mazzucchelli.

“Selina's Big Score” has, in hindsight, some very obvious and entertaining indicators that Cooke's infatuation with Richard Stark's "Parker" is about to erupt into an all-consuming love affair. Having first encountered Cooke in The Hunter (A, wp) — the current height of Cooke's artistic prowess — I thought this collection made for some amusing, but hardly essential, reading. Instead, Batman: Ego suggests that Cooke is an artist with a nearly limitless capacity for developing aesthetic and narrative depth, moving relentlessly forward. Cooke's best, I do believe, is yet to come.


Cowtown Pattie said...

My eldest filly's eldest colt (figure that one out) is quite the movie buff. Garrett was drawing a picture last week, and adding words/captions. He had a semblance of the word "batman" and with crayon poised, turned to his mother and asked her how you spelled...wait for it....


His mother said, you mean, "Cat Woman"?

"No", the young lad protested, it is 'Cat WHUPPIN'', Mom!"

Due to the ratings, young lad has never seen the film starring Michelle Pfeiffer in liquid black leather, so his confusion at age 5 is understandable.

Whisky Prajer said...

"Cat-whuppin'" -- heh! I think that might just enter my vocabulary.