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Richard Stark's Parker: The Hunter


Darwyn Cooke (Adaptation Author and Illustrator), IDW Publishing (Publisher)


Richard Stark’s The Hunter is, arguably, the second-best crime novel of all time. It is as precise as a Swiss watch in terms of plot and features one of the most captivating and well-defined lead characters in all of 20th century crime fiction. It has been adapted into several different films since it was first published, starring some of the toughest lead actors of the day. It is a novel with a high pedigree in terms of craft and character, and it is only appropriate that something so well fashioned be adapted into sequential art by Canadian artist Darwyn Cooke, one of modern comics’ master storytellers. Cooke is able to capture the quiet ferocity of Parker, a thief who isn’t afraid to get his big, mean hands dirty for his share, and dish out a little revenge along the way. When the book opens, he is storming back in 1960s-era New York City like a force of nature, and Cooke brilliantly shows this by using 26 silent pages as this hard-boiled bastard goes from ne’er-do-well to well-dressed, well-fed, and nicotine-fixed, ready to find the man who betrayed him and took his cut of a job. Knowing when to rely on his own brand of storytelling and when to use Stark’s prose whole cloth for tone and exposition in such a satisfying way is one of the many things that make Cooke’s work stand out. A more perfect adaptation of a work of prose to sequential art does not exist, and this book will make you hungry for the second volume.

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