Darwyn Cooke
"They asked me for my résumé when I started working here, and I sent them down these drawings I did of Batman when I was six, with some crayon."
Emru Townsend: Have you seen The Matrix?

Darwyn Cooke: Yeah, we've been talking about that a lot over here.

The Matrix, which is live-action, incorporates a lot of animation-like elements, whereas the title sequence to Batman Beyond is animation that uses a lot of live-action trailer elements.

It's amazing, because it's like we're meeting in the middle somewhere, approaching it from different ends. Yeah, I think everybody's stimulated by all the different animation things that are going on out there now.

Do you watch any Japanese animation?

Let me say that I watch a bit of it, and I take what I can get out of it. I've got a lot of younger guys here that sort of carry the ball there. They're sort of really into it and that type of language and incorporating it into what we do to a small degree. We've definitely got a classic storytelling sense here, but there are certain exciting elements that you want to bring into what we're doing.

I was wondering how you could relate to it in terms of the design elements and some of the animation style, which, prior to shows like Batman, was a lot more dynamic and stylized than you'd find [compared to] anything else here.

I think that I've always been far more fascinated [and interested in] using the limited production techniques they have. The actual style of the stuff I have some reservations about, but I think that the way they make the camera move and the way the do things within that limited framework, there's a lot to be learned from that that can be applied to any style.

So I guess design-wise, yeah, but I'm a North American boy. I like my ray guns and vacuum tubes. [laughs]

So what's it like working on such an icon of comic-book and movie mythology?

It's certainly thrilling, but you've got to approach it with a certain amount of caution. Because you've just named the big thing, it is an icon, and you've really gotta treat it that way. Batman is--I think it's the greatest character that's ever come out of this popular medium, because he's a real guy. I could always relate to that as a kid. Actually, they asked me for my résumé when I started working here, and I sent them down these drawings I did of Batman when I was six, with some crayon.

It's great to be working on the character. I've gotten a big kick out of it. It's like a dream come true, from that perspective.

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A Critical Eye exclusive (May 30, 1999)