Thoughts on the passing of Darwyn Cooke.

I only knew Darwyn Cooke through his work.

I was up at 4:20 am the morning the news broke. I saw the tweets as I was drinking my cup of coffee before getting ready to go to work at my day job. I was saddened but I didn’t realize how much news of Darwyn’s passing would affect me until my wife woke up a mere few minutes before I walked out the door. I told her, “We lost Darwyn Cooke today.” I could feel tears welling up in my eyes. 

Throughout my work day, I’d sneak off to look at Twitter.  People tweeted their grief, told anecdotes and posted his artwork in memory. 

Rather than adding my voice to the chorus. I read and I thought. 

I wondered what would be the best way I could honor the memory of Darwyn Cooke? 

I bought a composition notebook on my way home from work and I started scripting a crime comic in it. At the time of this writing, I’m 8 pages in. I have no idea where the story goes or if it’ll even turn into something tangible. 

If you are like me, someone that is fortunate enough to channel grief into something creative and you are looking for an outlet — go get a notebook or a sketchbook and make something. 

This is NOT a review: Cankor.

(I don’t review things. But I do like talking and writing about things that mean something to me. Today that happens to be CANKOR.)

This isn’t my first dance with CANKOR. I read it a few years ago when creator Matthew Allison started serializing it as a webcomic, I loved it then.  As is the way with the internet, I got distracted by something else. That is, until this past weekend when I was at DINK Denver. I was on a panel with Matthew Allison so I made a point of picking up his offerings and do my homework on the people I was on panel with. Matthew Allison’s booth and CANKOR were my top priorities. 

The CANKOR book I picked up collects issues #1 and #2 of  CANKOR. If you are unfamiliar with  CANKOR, Matthew Allison describes it as “Colorful stories of emotionally tender, costumed man-machines and their conundrums."

To unpack the first story a bit, Cankorr (each different version of Cankor uses a slightly differently spelling of the name) is a decomposing mess. He’s been sending past versions of himself back in time to avoid the present pain of his past mistakes. 

It’s not going well. 

Cankorr tells Cankor (his past self) that they have one choice left — Rebirth!

The remainder of this first story is about Cankor’s rebirth, while the second story in this collection charts the immediate fallout of Cankor’s rebirth and explores how painful and messy rebirth can be. 

CANKOR has a timeless quality to it. It feels like you might be holding some artifact from the 70’s underground movement, like some cheesed off Marvel creator got fired making his own underground superhero comics. It’s clear that Matthew Allison has love for superhero comics, but he’s definitely creating a personal take on superhero comics. 

The colors skew towards a pastels and purples, so just from a visual aesthetic, it’s incredibly pleasing to look at. Matthew Allison’s line work feels both weighty and delicate — much like the characters in CANKOR, they are musclebound cybernetic supermen who are emotionally fragile and can be set off by the smallest thing. 

That juxtaposition of power and fragility sum up CANKOR best in my mind. 

I bought a lot of comics this past weekend, but CANKOR is the one that I’ve already read three times already.  If you enjoy Rick and Morty then CANKOR will be your new favorite comic. 

Matthew Allison can be found on twitter: @MatthewGAllison

His blog is here: loafdish.blogspot.com

You can read the first chapter of CANKOR here for FREE: http://loafdish.blogspot.com/2014/05/cankor-pages-1-12.html