Darwyn Cooke began his Batman association not with comics, but with animation. Having worked for years in his native Canada as a graphic designer, Cooke wanted to break into the professional world of his first love, comic books. However, the industry at the time was less than responsive to his Jack Kirby meets Alex Toth style, as enamored by Rob Liefeld clones as it was then. He did however get work on the great Batman: The Animated Series as a storyboard artist.
He finally broke into comics with a Batman one-shot he both wrote and drew, called Batman: EGO.
He really broke through with his Elseworlds miniseries DC: The New Frontier, a story that imagines what it might be like if DC continuity matched up to when its characters were introduced. This allowed Cooke many opportunities to draw 50s and early 60s inspired art-deco designs, clothing, etc., which is a bit of a fetish with him.
He also drew the Jeph Loeb-scripted Batman/Spirit one-shot, which saw the Caped Crusader meet Will Eisner’s beloved masked avenger, and which also acted as a prelude to his own relaunch of the character.
And his version of Batman got a toy.