Lying In The Gutters, 16th May 2016 – Goodbye Darwyn

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Jimmy Palmiotti shares his memories,

It was Christmas a few years back and Amanda and I were shopping for presents for a few friends and decided that we would just recycle gifts and buy everyone presents from antique stores- the perfect fitting gift for each person, something that screamed out to us what might be appropriate to the individual's personality, or what might just remind us of him or her.

We were in a large over packed antique shop in Tarpon Springs looking at the million shelves full of random timeworn items when I spied- right there, all the way in the back, a peak of a porcelain eyeball looking right back at me. I pushed my hand past some lead elephant paperweights, over a few art deco ashtrays and fished out the mug that was the mirror image of one of my closest friends Darwyn. It was shocking.

I looked at it for about a second and then my heart started to beat faster and my smile was spreading out so far that it contorted my entire body. I wanted to scream with laughter and yell " I win" but I calmly walked over to Amanda and held this prize right up to her face like a winning lottery ticket on the day we were being evicted.

Amanda burst out laughing, shouting " no way!!" and we both laughed…and laughed…till tears were running down our faces. I told her I don't care what this damn thing costs, I would be willing to pay a kings ransom for it and I was not kidding. Unlike most of the other curios, this one wasn't marked; it could have cost us anything. Maybe it was one of a kind done by a bygone artist that was now considered a genius and they forgot to put this piece in his latest exhibit at the metropolitan museum of art. My brain was on overdrive as usual, but I had a plan.

We played it cool and I nonchalantly handed it to the counter person asking him about another item on the counter. He answered me and then looked at the mug and turned it over and over, then eyeing the inside like the price might be hidden there, but no luck. He then looked me straight in the eyes and said, " I don't see a price. Is $8 bucks okay? " Well, needless to say, it was and we ran home and sat on this for over a month, waiting for Christmas morning, when Darwyn and his wife Marsha would come over and we would exchange gifts. We wrapped it with care and it sat under the Christmas tree till that very morning. Amanda handed Darwyn the package and Darwyn, with that winning smile, looked right at us and the anticipation on our faces, which we looked like we were waiting for him to unwrap the Holy Grail. He opened it up, took it in his hand and started that Darwyn Cooke laugh, which is interrupted by his signature cough, and started to laugh again. It was at one point a few minutes later we took the photo attached to this piece. It gave us so much joy watching him parade it around to each and every person he met and post it on his website showing it off. Its rare you can get a gift for someone that special in your life and make them so happy.

It was a funny and lovely moment in time we had with Darwyn, one of about a few thousand that hopefully we can share with others as time goes on. He was the guy that you wanted to impress, you wanted to work extra hard to make laugh and you wanted to be a better person and artist around. He inspired the two of us all the time and I am happy to say I let him know more than once how happy we were to have him in our life. 14 years was just not long enough for me and Amanda and we feel cheated on so many levels that he was taken away from us so soon. The past few months have ben brutal for his family and close friends, and watching hope slip away is something that I would never wish on anyone.

I'm sorry in advance but my page here will continue to have me telling stories and showing photos and art about him for a while because if I don't get them out, I'm going to continue to be a pathetic weeping mess, and not be able to get a damn thing done… and I know Darwyn would just hate that.

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About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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