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Hard Looks: Adapted Stories (3rd edition) [Kindle Edition]

Andrew Vachss , Geof Darrow , Various
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

Digital List Price: $15.99 What's this?
Print List Price: $19.95
Kindle Price: $9.99
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Book Description

Andrew Vachss' writing has been described as "red-hot and serious as a punctured lung" (Playboy), "hypnotically violent ... made up of equal part broken concrete block and razor wire" (Chicago Sun-Times), and "short and choppy, like the ticking of a time bomb" (Seattle Post-Intelligencer). This new digital-only edition collects eleven of Vachss's life-at-ground-zero comics stories, brought to life by an outstanding lineup of the industry's most talented writers and artists. This exciting book also contains a gallery of covers from the original Hard Looks series, as well as a cover by Geof Darrow, award-winning artist and creator of such titles as Shaolin Cowboy, and co-creator of The Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot, and Hard Boiled. The Hard Looks preview features story pages from "Drive-By" by Joe Lansdale and artist Gary Gianni.


Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This well-crafted collection of comics adaptations of stories by Vachss, creator of the popular Burke mystery series and a former federal investigator, is an unlikely artistic triumph. Vachss, who wrote an authorized novel based on Batman in 1995, is not shy about moralizing; he operates in an ethical gray area, where traditional lines between good and bad, cop and criminal, are constantly blurred and broken. While highlighting the law's ambiguities, Vachss also teases out lessons and consequences for his characters, usually in the form of unexpected endings. No matter how hard the characters try, they can't escape brutal victimization. An unbalanced hostage negotiator, having successfully freed a captive, shoots the unarmed kidnapper at the end of "Hostage," and in "Replay," an over-eager phone sex operator realizes the man whose pedophilic fantasies she's entertaining is her own father, and she was his first victim. A young gang member, bragging of his successful (and bloody) initiation rite, is killed by associates of his victims; and so on. Left alone, a few of these stark, graphic stories go a long way, but enhanced by artwork contributed by a group of superb cartoonists, they come alive in new and unexpected ways. The artists include David Lloyd, Bruce Jones and Warren Pleece, who share a shadowy pen and ink style particularly well suited to these pieces' mood and the subject matter. George Pratt's expressionistic work illuminates the despair at the heart of these stories, while Gary Gianni's accurate line work superbly depicts the urban landscape. Such a diverse group of art styles keeps the anthology from groaning under its own weight and provides different interpretations of Vachss's otherwise fairly similar stories.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From the Publisher

The Chicago Sun-Times described Andrew Vachss' stories as "hypnotically violent ... made up of equal parts of broken concrete block and razor wire." The New York Times said, "Vachss seems bottomlessly knowledgeable about the depth and variety of human twistedness." All of that depth and all of that knowledge is displayed in Hard Looks, adapting Vachss' short stories to comic book format. A graphic novel companion to Vachss' short story collection, Born Bad, this isn't just a "hard look" at our human species, it's a call to action against its predators ... and a profound statement of respect for those scar-carrying members of that vast tribe Vachss calls the "Children of the Secret."

Product Details

  • File Size: 176933 KB
  • Print Length: 117 pages
  • Publisher: Dark Horse Books (November 19, 2002)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00A7H2OM8
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #680,811 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
By Reader
Format:Paperback
HARD LOOKS is an outstanding collection of 17 short stories by attorney/author Andrew Vachss, which makes an unflinching examination of all manner of human depravity while at the same time providing the reader with heroes and hope. The stories (titles include: DRIVE BY; DATE RAPE; LYNCH LAW; HEAD CASE; BORN BAD; CRIPPLE; DUMPING GROUND; and MAN TO MAN) have been adapted to graphic novel format by Joe R. Lansdale, Charles de Lint, Chet Williamson, Jim Colbert, Rose Dawn Scott, and Neal Barrett, Jr. and feature the splendid artwork of Geoff Darrow, David Lloyd, Gary Gianni, Warren Pleece, Jack Pollack, and others. The skillful adaptations and the beautifully-done artwork serve to greatly amplify the power of these hard-edged tales.
For years I have admired the power and strength of Mr. Vachss' novels (FLOOD, STREGA, BLUE BELLE, SHELLA, ONLY CHILD, et al.). This collection, with the freedom allowed by the short story form and its wide range of subject matter, equals or surpasses the intensity of those books.
This edition of HARD LOOKS is available in two versions, one with a photo cover and one with a masterfully-drawn cover by Geof Darrow. I would highly recommend the book featuring Mr. Darrow's artwork. Mr. Darrow's richly-detailed, colorful illustration tells a story (actually, many stories) all its own and is well worth the cover price....
HARD LOOKS ... masterfully adapted, wonderfully illustrated versions of 17 provacative, disturbing, and important short stories from Andrew Vachss.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hard Looks Rules! (where is the Darrow cover?) January 16, 2003
By D W
Format:Paperback
I learned about this new edition from the Andrew Vachss website. But Amazon, for *whatever* reason, doesn't have the ultra-hype Geof ("The Matrix") Darrow cover! Hey, Amazon, why can't we have a CHOICE? I mean, this photo cover is very good, but not everyone is so high-art -- some of us Vachss fans WANT the graphics cover!
I got my Darrow cover edition at my local comics shop, and paid full price, which totally [was bad]. Get a move on, Amazon!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a mirror held up to the soul December 30, 2000
Format:Paperback
Pick up a copy of this book, and you won't put it down until you've savored every page.
In most cases, I am annoyed by visual adaptations of my favorite written works. Movies, tv specials, and graphic novels have always disappointed me they never have measured up to my own imagination -- until I got hold of HARD LOOKS.
This graphic adaptation of Andrew Vachss' short stories stands as eloquent testimony to the enrichment that illustration can give to excellent writing.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A visually adapted collection of stories from "Born Bad." December 31, 1996
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Some of today's best comics artists tackle the tough job
of illustrating Vachss's hard-boiled crime fiction. With
artists ranging from traditional to experimental, each tale
comes alive in a new way, losing none of the story's original
punch. Highly recommended to Vachss fans and readers wanting
an introduction to the author.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Collection January 10, 2003
By "jdny"
Format:Paperback
This brand new edition of Hard Looks is an amazing collection of stories in graphic format. Vachss has assembled some of the most gifted artists to bring these powerful stories to life ... Geofrey Darrow, Gary Gianni, Tim Bradstreet, Joe Lansdale, Charles de Lint, Chet Williamson, and too many more to name. My favorite story has got to be "Half-Breed" a chilling and well crafted piece that left me wanting more, and Darrow's detailed illustrations really brought the whole thing to life.
For a real treat get both cover editions of this book. The comics cover illustrated by Darrow is a masterpiece! And on the book market edition the cover photo perfectly illustrates the grim, gritty reality of the stories inside. A definite must-have for Vachss fans and all those who want to SEE some of the best short stories ever written.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book - Why not both covers? January 21, 2003
Format:Paperback
This is a really nice graphic novel, and I'd expect no less from Vachss and his team of talented artists and writers. But how come we can't get the comics cover by Geof Darrow? I think Amazon should be offering both covers as a special "buy with" option (instead of the old Predator stuff!).
Anyway, the book is great, the story HALF BREED is tight and tense and the drawings by Darrow just suck you into it. The differing styles in the artwork add a nice touch and seem to match the individual stories perfectly.
And there really is something for everyone in this book!
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Look Down, or Look Hard" March 2, 2003
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Andrew Vachss is a problematic short story writer. His style is so frontal and minimalist that often the stories are over before they have penetrated intellectually. Instead, the reader experiences a sudden burst of emotion or horror, leaving a stunned silence in its path. To be honest I prefer his novels, which give the reader a grace period before the roller-coaster starts down the first big drop.
'Hard Looks' is really a compilation - 15 stories extracted from a Dark Horse comic-book series of the same name. Most of these stories actually appeared originally in two short story collections - 'Born Bad,' and 'Everybody Pays.' Six of the stories are strait text, the rest are adaptations of Vachss' stories to the graphic format. The largest percentage were adapted by Neal Barrett, Jr., but a broad spectrum of other authors are represented, from Joe R. Lansdale to Charles de Lint.
Each story, graphic or not, is as tough as one can make a recreation of Vachss' work. The stories are about people who are suddenly brought face to face with the reality that underlies their fantasies, whether it is a kid who dreams of being a big tough in the neighborhood or a woman working in a phone-for-thrills studio. The only goodness that happens is on those rare occasions when evil loses the struggle. In Vachss' world, that isn't often enough.
The illustration is pure pen and ink, by a variety of artists. While the general styling is gritty and noir, there is considerable variation. One of my few irritations with the book is that while the artists and adapters are given credit, they deserve a better introduction. Especially since only a small part of Vachss' readership is familiar with the modern comic as art.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Vachss is a fantastic and descriptive writer. His Burke novels are...
Vachss is a fantastic and descriptive writer. His Burke novels are wonderful, engaging and thrilling. I hope they keep on coming forever!!
Published 2 months ago by Jenn RW
5.0 out of 5 stars A sampling of dark crime fiction from a great comics series
I often envy my father’s and grandfather’s generations for growing up in the golden age of the pulp fiction magazines. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Karl Janssen
3.0 out of 5 stars where's Burke?
Each story was OK, but just OK. Vachss has written much better stories, such as Blue Bell. Any of the Burke series would have been much better
Published 15 months ago by Frank J. Carter
4.0 out of 5 stars Visual Vachss
Cool s*** ... if you know Vachss and you've read the original short stories, it's pretty cool ( ... and read them if you haven't) .... Read more
Published 17 months ago by Kindle Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Grim, Hard, Eye-opening
I have read this book half dozen times and it still gives me the creeps. This is past horror of the vampire, were-wolf monster or hack and slash fantasies. Big deal. Read more
Published on April 4, 2008 by Douglas Setter
1.0 out of 5 stars Trite, moralistic tales with no concept of reality
I seem to be the one voice of dissent when it comes to this collection of short grphic peices. Perhaps I'm wrong, but I found Vachss stories to be completely lacking in any... Read more
Published on November 11, 2005 by naharnahekim
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Collection
This brand new edition of Hard Looks is an amazing collection of stories in graphic format. Vachss has assembled some of the most gifted artists to bring these powerful stories to... Read more
Published on January 10, 2003 by "jdny"
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More About the Author

Andrew Vachss has been a federal investigator in sexually transmitted diseases, a social-services caseworker, a labor organizer, and has directed a maximum-security prison for "aggressive-violent" youth. Now a lawyer in private practice, he represents children and youth exclusively. He is the author of numerous novels, including the Burke series, three collections of short stories, and a wide variety of other material including song lyrics, graphic novels, essays, and a "children's book for adults." His books have been translated into twenty languages, and his work has appeared in Parade, Antaeus, Esquire, Playboy, The New York Times, and many other forums. His books have been awarded the Grand Prix de Littérature Policiére, the Falcon Award, Deutschen Krimi Preis, Die Jury des Bochumer Krimi Archivs and the Raymond Chandler Award (per Giurìa a Noir in Festival, Courmayeur, Italy). Andrew Vachss' latest books are Mortal Lock (Vintage, May 2013) and Aftershock (Pantheon, June 2013). The dedicated Web site for Vachss and his work is vachss.com.

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