Terribly sad to hear we have lost Bernie this week after a long and strong fight with cancer.
Darwyn used to tell a story about his first convention as a fan, it would have been in the late 70s or 80s in Toronto. He's told this story before so I'm sure someone can find a link of him telling it himself in his big style.
He was a teenager and an artist, he had saved his money and decided he was going to spend 10$ getting a commission from an artist I can't recall the name of but Dar was a big fan of. This was all of his convention spending money.
He picked up the commission and didn't feel the artist had done a great job and was pretty bummed. He went to get some books signed by Bernie and Bernie, being Bernie, started conversation and while they were talking Dar asked if he felt the commission was worth 10$.
Bernie (lovingly) berated the artist for ripping off a kid and then took out some paper. He did a full page sketch for Dar at no cost and took the time to look through Dar's portfolio AND showed it to some editors that were at the show too.
Darwyn never forgot how Bernie treated him that day. He really took it to heart how it felt to be on the fan side of the table and how crushing it was to be disappointed by your hero. Bernie made Darwyn that nice guy you all knew who took the time to draw with little kids or give some one feedback on their art (constant advice: learn to draw backgrounds).
He also made Darwyn into the artist we all loved. Dar said Bernie was one of the greatest artists of all time, and that since Bernie has mastered drawing with all of the lines, he would have to master using no lines.
Bernie was also a big supporter of love and marriage. He taught all of us how important a happy loving relationship was to being successful. I saw Bernie and Liz in Boston in August, he was sick but doing well. My last memories are of him with Vivi Staggs and the other kids at Jimmy's birthday party. Smiling and laughing.
I met Bernie at SDCC several years ago. He was a total A+ class act, despite me being completely awkward.
I had the pleasure of meeting Bernie in 2008 at Baltimore Comic Con. He was with Darwyn.
I had stepped outside for a moment and saw Darwyn holding court with a couple of folks. He recognized me from a con a few months previous and waved me over, where I was then introduced me to Bernie. We all had a lovely chat filled with a lot of laughter and some good natured ribbing - it was the highlight of the day. I have a lot of great convention memories, but Darwyn introducing me to Bernie will always be one of my favorites.
It's funny, the best convention memories I have always involved Darwyn in some way.
oddly enough, I can attest that Darwyn was very much like that on the "other side of the table". I will never forget how gracious and generous he was to me - a huge fan of his (also a broke aspiring artist) - the first time I met him at a comic con Baltimore 2008.
He most certainly paid Bernie's lessons forward, and I, in turn, have remembered to continue these kindnesses from Mr. Cooke, as I imagine so many of us have.
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