RICHARD STARK’S PARKER “THE HUNTER” (IDW Comics, July 2009)
Adapted for comics by Darwyn Cooke
Darwyn Cooke is on the path of greatness. You could see it in Catwoman: Selina’s Big Score and DC’s New Frontier. He is a pure storyteller with wicked brushworks. His nostalgic flair is unmistakable. Combined with his modern sensibility for forms, it has given his works an aura of pathos. With DC Solo #5: Darwyn Cooke, he showcased his vast range of styles.
In this handsomely printed adaptation of Richard Stark’s novel, Darwyn’s highly stylistic brush stroke and storytelling is in its peak. The novel itself was adapted to John Boorman’s Point Blank and a Mel Gibson’s starred movie, Payback, in 1999. Payback made several changes, most glaringly are the name of its main character (Parker into Porter) and the setting that is more contemporary than the novel. But, what’s so striking in the comic adaptation is that Darwyn chose to emphasize the creation of a fully realized world for this story.
Armed with black ink and blue-toned color, and New Yorker’s cartoon style circa 1960s, Darwyn created a lucid 1962’s New York City, with its seductive corners and dark alleys, peopled with modern men and women who are living in a shared angst and incredulity. It’s a perfect setting for the very troubled protagonist, Parker, a thief, just come back from dead (or so every one thought), doubled crossed by his wife and his best friend. Revenge, served cold and hot, is his only cause. Other wise, he is already dead inside.
Richard Stark is a pen name for a while for the late Donald Westlake. The crime books scribe passed away in 2008, but not before he approved Darwyn Cooke to adapt his novel. IDW publisher planned to publish other Stark’s Parker stories, adapted in graphic novel format by, one can only hope, the great Darwyn Cooke. *** (HD)