Comic Review: Richard Stark’s ‘Parker: The Hunter’

Richard’s Stark’s Parker: The Hunter
Adapted and Illustrated by Darwyn Cooke
Edited by Scott Dunbier
IDW Publishing
Release date: July 22, 2009

When artist/writer Darwyn Cooke finished his run on Will Eisner’s The Spirit, I am sure I was not the only one that was eagerly anticipating his next project. Would he continue to play in the DC playground or perhaps venture into Marvel territory? Or maybe he would just forgo the big two and just go the creator-owned route. When the news broke at last year’s San Diego Comic-Con on Cooke’s next project, few would have guessed it would be with IDW Publishing but even more were surprised when the project in question would be an adaptation of The Parker novels by Donald Westlake.

Donald Westlake (for those like myself who was not familiar with the author), was a critically acclaimed crime novelist back in the late 1950’s. Best known for the creation of the Parker character, Westlake had twenty-four of the twenty eight crime novels written under the Richard Stark pseudonym centered on the popular anti-hero. Even if you are not familiar with the character, you be hard pressed not to notice Westlake’s work in the mainstream media.

From Point Blank to Payback, the Parker novels have been adapted numerous times on film but never has the author allowed the Parker name to be used until now. Just before Westlake passed away in 2008, he gave Cooke permission to adapt the story and introduce the Parker character to the graphic novel world in a series of four graphic novels set to come out yearly.

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