Denys Cowan
Cowan at the New York Comic Con
BornDenys Cowan
(1961-01-30) January 30, 1961 (age 63)
Area(s)Penciller, Inker,
Notable works
Black Panther
Dominique Laveau, Voodoo Child
Milestone Media
Power Man and Iron Fist
The Question

Denys B. Cowan (/ˈkən/;[1] born January 30, 1961)[2] is an American comics artist, television producer, media executive and one of the co-founders of Milestone Media.

Early life

Denys Cowan was first inspired by superheroes as a child from reruns of the 1950s TV show Adventures of Superman with George Reeves. He did not yet know what a comic book was, and would not learn about them until the third grade. After Cowan's mother died, he moved in with his grandparents, and attended school in that district, where he met a future fellow comics creator, Derek Dingle, who drew comics with his brother. Dingle showed Cowan his first comic book, an issue of Jack Kirby's New Gods.[3] Cowan attended the High School of Art and Design in New York City.[4] One day in the school lunchroom, the 14-year-old Cowan met someone who worked for artist and Deathlok creator Rich Buckler. This led Cowan to pay a visit one day after school to Buckler's studio, where Buckler hired Cowan as his assistant. For a year, Cowan performed a number of tasks, including running errands, cleaning the studio, looking up references, for which Buckler paid him in the music albums that he had played in his studio, which increased Cowan's appreciation for music.[3]


Cowan's first published comics work was a three-page story in Weird War Tales #93 (Nov. 1980) for DC Comics.[5] He was one of the contributors to the DC Challenge limited series in 1986.[6] Cowan gained prominence as the primary artist on The Question, a comic book series written by Dennis O'Neil and published by DC beginning in February 1987.[7] His other comics credits include the Batman story arc "Blind Justice" in Detective Comics #598–600 (March–May 1989) with writer Sam Hamm,[8][9] which introduced the character Henri Ducard.[10] Cowan was the penciller on the latter half of the 1990 Deathlok miniseries, published by Marvel Comics, which was written by Dwayne McDuffie and Gregory Wright as well as on the subsequent regular title of the same name.

Cowan and writer Dwayne McDuffie collaborated on a Prince comic book in 1991.[11] Cowan co-founded Milestone Media in 1993 with McDuffie, Michael Davis, and Derek Dingle,[12] and later worked as a producer on the animated series Static Shock, based on the Milestone character.[13]

As Senior Vice President of Animation at BET, Cowan was responsible for the creation, development and production of animated programming for the entire network. This included the development and production of the premiere season of the prime time animated series The Boondocks.

Serving as Senior Vice President of Motown Animation and Filmworks, he created and developed a number of shows with Fox, ABC, Disney, and Nickelodeon.

Cowan drew the cover art of the GZA/Genius of the Wu-Tang Clan's platinum-selling hip-hop album Liquid Swords.[14]


Cowan and inker Rick Magyar were nominated for an Eisner Award as "Best Art Team" in both 1988[15] and 1989[16] for their work on The Question.

Cowan received an Inkpot Award at the San Diego Comic-Con International in 2013.[17]


An example of Cowan's artwork: The Question #34 (January 1990); DC Comics.

Regular penciller

Fill-in penciller


  1. ^ Robinson, Ashley Victoria (November 9, 2022). "Denys Cowan opens up about the evolution of Milestone from the '90s to now". Popverse. Archived from the original on August 22, 2023. Retrieved August 22, 2023 – via YouTube.((cite web)): CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link) The supported quote occurs at the 0:14 mark.
  2. ^ Miller, John Jackson (June 10, 2005). "Comics Industry Birthdays". Comics Buyer's Guide. Iola, Wisconsin. Archived from the original on February 18, 2011.
  3. ^ a b Cowan, Denys (December 2018). "How I broken into comics with...Denys Cowan", DC Nation #5, Page 2, DC Comics (Burbank, California).
  4. ^ Bails, Jerry (2006). "Cowan, Denys". Who's Who of American Comic Books 1928–1999. Archived from the original on April 1, 2012. Retrieved August 13, 2013.
  5. ^ Denys Cowan at the Grand Comics Database
  6. ^ Greenberger, Robert (August 2017). "It Sounded Like a Good Idea at the Time: A Look at the DC Challenge!". Back Issue! (98). Raleigh, North Carolina: TwoMorrows Publishing: 43.
  7. ^ Manning, Matthew K.; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1980s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. London, United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. p. 227. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9. Formerly part of the Charlton Comics line, the Question carved his mysterious niche into the DC Universe with the help of writer Dennis O'Neil and artist Denys Cowan. ((cite book)): |first2= has generic name (help)CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  8. ^ Mangels, Andy (April 1989). "I Was a Teen-Age Comics Artist". Amazing Heroes (163). Seattle, Washington: Fantagraphics Books. Archived from the original on February 20, 2013. Retrieved August 13, 2013.
  9. ^ Greenberger, Robert; Manning, Matthew K. (2009). The Batman Vault: A Museum-in-a-Book with Rare Collectibles from the Batcave. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Running Press. p. 41. ISBN 978-0-7624-3663-7. In the pages of Detective Comics, Batman screenwriter Sam Hamm took advantage of that year's ongoing writers' strike to write a three-issue story entitled "Blind Justice", which culminated in that title's 600th issue.
  10. ^ Manning, Matthew K.; Dougall, Alastair, ed. (2014). "1980s". Batman: A Visual History. London, United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. p. 178. ISBN 978-1465424563. ((cite book)): |first2= has generic name (help)CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  11. ^ Anders, Charlie Jane (April 22, 2016). "That Time Prince Became an Actual Superhero". io9. Archived from the original on November 3, 2016.
  12. ^ Daniels, Les (1995). DC Comics: Sixty Years of the World's Favorite Comic Book Heroes. New York, New York: Bulfinch Press. p. 232. ISBN 0821220764. The Milestone principals include writer–editor Dwayne McDuffie, artist and creative director Denys Cowan and president Derek Dingle; a fourth partner, Michael Davis, quickly dropped out to run Motown Animation.
  13. ^ "Denys Cowan". Lambiek Comiclopedia. May 9, 2008. Archived from the original on October 13, 2012.
  14. ^ Weiss, Jeff (March 26, 2008). "GZA's Liquid Swords of Truth". LA Weekly. Archived from the original on April 8, 2013. Retrieved August 13, 2013. the GZA tapped famed DC Comics artist Denys Cowan to hand-draw the album cover — cloaked ninjas in Wu insignias slaughtering people across a chessboard — and Cowan directed and co-wrote each of the album's four indelible videos.
  15. ^ "1988 Will Eisner Comic Industry Award Nominees". Hahn Library Comic Book Awards Almanac. Archived from the original on July 23, 2012.
  16. ^ "1989 Will Eisner Comic Industry Award Nominees". Hahn Library Comic Book Awards Almanac. Archived from the original on July 23, 2012.
  17. ^ "Comic-Con International's Newest Inkpot Award Winners!". San Diego Comic-Con International. 2013. Archived from the original on May 8, 2015.
  18. ^ List of DC Comics containing the Flash Force 2000 insert at the Grand Comics Database
Preceded byKerry Gammill Power Man and Iron Fist penciller 1982–1983 Succeeded byErnie Chan Preceded byDan Reed(in 1981) The Question penciller 1987–1992 Succeeded byRick Burchett(in 1995) Preceded byn/a Doctor Zero penciller 1988 Succeeded byDan Spiegle Preceded byJerry Bingham(in 1980) Black Panther penciller 1988 Succeeded byDwayne Turner(in 1991) Preceded byEduardo Barreto Detective Comics penciller 1989 Succeeded byNorm Breyfogle Preceded byJackson Guice Deathlok penciller 1990–1992 Succeeded byWalter McDaniel Preceded byn/a Hardware penciller 1993–1994 Succeeded byHumberto Ramos Preceded byJim Aparo Steel penciller 1997–1998 Succeeded byn/a