2010 Outstanding Cover Art: The Hunter by Darwyn Cooke

Richard Stark's Parker: The Hunter Cover by Darwyn Cooke

Jury member DUANE MURRAY presented the award for Outstanding cover:

Being asked to look at a bunch of covers and choosing the most “outstanding” one is no easy feat.  Getting together with a group of people to agree on that could is even harder, as seeing a cover and reacting to it is such a personal response. No two people’s reactions are alike.

What makes an “outstanding” cover? At it’s base, a good cover is simply something that catches the eye and makes you want to pick up the book.

For some it is a beautiful image – a singular picture that grabs your eyes and forces you to not look away – a clear and powerful image. All of the nominees have that going for them, but what sets a cover apart from being just another pretty picture, is storytelling.

The difference between a good cover and a great cover is the ability to indirectly express the themes of the story, without giving too much away. A cover needs to be striking, dynamic and different. It needs to relate to the story and the art inside but more than anything else it should entice readers to buy the book and not make them feel cheated when they do.

The winner of this year’s Joe Shuster Award for Outstanding Cover Art is: Darwyn Cooke for Richard Stark’s Parker – The Hunter, published by IDW.

Darwyn Cooke’s cover for The Hunter encompasses all those things I mentioned earlier that define a great cover.

Underscored by a great use of negative space displaying the often overlooked art of the title of the book is a beautifully composed image of a man sitting at the edge of a bed, a dead naked woman laying beside him, cast in the spotlight of a toppled over side table lamp – filling with light an otherwise dark scene.   He looks forward, holding a gun, perhaps pondering the same questions the viewer may have — “What happened here?”  The answers lay inside the pages beyond…. Drawing the viewer in… it engages, and it’s truly outstanding.

Duane accepted the award on behalf of Darwyn Cooke.

Duane Murray is a Toronto-based writer, director and actor. As an actor he has accumulated over 45 produced credits.  As a writer/director Duane has produced 4 nationally released films as well as acting as story consulted on several wide-release studio features.  Duane is currently in development with Telefilm on his next feature film project, and is in the process of adapting two published graphic novels to film. This is Duane’s second time serving on the Joe Shuster Awards jury – and in 2010 he served on both the Art Jury (Artist, Cover Art, Colourist) and the Story Jury (Webcomic Creator, Writer, Cartoonist).

Duane Murray presenting the Outstanding Cover Art award - unfortunately Darwyn Cooke was unable to attend the ceremony on June 5th.

Darwyn Cooke is a graphic designer and animator who turned his attention toward cartooning in the late nineties. Known primarily for his work on the DC line of superheroes, Cooke has always had an affinity for crime fiction and has often cited the Richard Stark Parker books – which he is currently adapting for publisher IDW – as a great source of creative inspiration. Cooke has won multiple Eisner, Harvey and Joe Shuster Awards as well as the National Cartoonist Society’s Best Series Award. In 2008 Cooke was Emmy nominated for the animated adaptation of his magnum opus Justice League: The New Frontier.