Darwyn Cooke‘s final work before his untimely passing was something different. Not noir, nor even really crime. Although it does spotlight a mystery. The Twilight Children from Gilbert Hernandez, Cooke, and Dave Stewart is a science fiction tale of a small seaside town beset by giant glowing orbs that destroy families, make people disappear, and cause children to go blind.

She talks to my brain when we play ring around the rosie.”

There’s a decidedly whimsical nature to the story. While it feels like it draws influence from some sci-fi b-movies of the ’50s and ’60s, there’s a bit of the French and Spanish surrealist film feel to it as well. It results in a world that feels largely grounded with weird, paranormal occurrences.

When you look at the characters, and their situations, it’s not entirely unfamiliar to fans of Gilbert Hernandez’s contributions to Love and Rockets. That the romantic liaisons of Tito, cheating on her husband and looking for even more lovers, are as important as the core mystery of the orbs and the arrival of a strange silent woman, help take us into the realm of magical realism.

Fine-lined, crisp, and clean, Cooke’s artwork here is sublime. While shadow and light still come into play with the arrival of the silent stranger, and in the orbs taking people, it’s not the focus here. There’s more of a rounded, openness to the characters that gives the story a brighter, animated feeling. The exaggeration and economy of line give both a feeling of whimsy and reality, reinforcing the slightly surreal atmosphere of the story.

Dave Stewart employs relatively flat, solid colours throughout the book. It works well for Cooke’s linework, emphasizing his animated cartooning style.

Twilight Children

I’m just a tourist enjoying a vacation here, honey.”

The Twilight Children by Hernandez, Cooke, and Stewart is kind of a wistful, sci-fi fairy tale that feels like an ode to bygone b-movies. There’s a magic about it that is captivating. This collaboration between Hernandez and Cooke makes me wonder what other wonders the two of them could have created. And what else Cooke had in him above and beyond the masterpieces that he already had made.

Twilight Children

Classic Comic Compendium: The Twilight Children

The Twilight Children
Writer: Gilbert Hernandez
Artist & Letterer: Darwyn Cooke
Colourist: Dave Stewart
Publisher: DC Comics / Vertigo
Release Date: October 14 2015 – January 27 2016 (original issues)
Available Collected in The Twilight Children hardcover

Read past entries in the Classic Comic Compendium!


  1. Darwyn loved working on this. There’s a script by Darwyn for another story, unrelated to this, that was to be illustrated by Gilbert. Maybe someday it will happen…

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