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Richard Stark's Parker, Vol. 1: The Hunter Hardcover – July 28, 2009


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Cooke has transformed the first volume of the late Donald Westlake's long-running Parker series (written under the pseudonym Richard Stark), about an indomitable outlaw, into a smashing graphic novel, making its ferocious mood and retro aesthetics the stars of the show. Parker belongs to the bottom of the urban jungle's economic strata, but the top of its food chain—anyone who stands between him and his revenge is doomed, whether they're trying to resist him or just happen to be in the way. As the book begins, he's returning to New York City in the Kennedy era with murder in his eyes: double-crossed by his wife and partners, he's come back to kill whoever needs killing to get his money. Cooke has a real affinity for the tough-as-hammers tone of Westlake's story. His Parker doesn't seem to enjoy or dislike slaughter (or anything else); he's just doing what it takes to reach his goal, with a certain dispassionate savoir faire. And Cooke's delicious two-color artwork nails the look of the early '60s, from hairstyles and tiki bars to the illustrative technique that defined the era everywhere except for comics: angular caricatures that capture his characters' motion and expressions with a bare minimum of elegantly rugged lines. (July)
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Review

Cooke's a powerful enough cartoonist that his images do most of the heavy lifting here. His version of the story opens with a bravura, nearly wordless 20-page sequence. It's 1962, and Parker is stalking across a bridge into New York City, preparing to scam his way into a new identity. When we finally see his face (a revelation Cooke cunningly delays), his disheveled hair and expression of cold-eyed fury reveal as much about his cruelty and unknowability as any description Westlake could have written. --Douglas Wolk in The Washington Post<br /><br />It s July and this may well be the book of the year. A must for anyone with a penchant for Chandler-esque heroes and hard boiled storytelling. The great news is that this is just the first of four planned Parker graphic novels by Cooke. Book 2 is out in 2010 I ve no idea when, but I ll be eagerly awaiting it. Something this near perfect will no doubt be worth the wait. --Richard Burton in the Forbidden Planet Blog<br /><br />There's no question in my mind that The Hunter is one of the best comics I'll read this year. As an unabashed fan of both the Parker novels and of Darwyn Cooke's comics, I've looked forward to it with the same kind of anticipation I imagine a million young women have for a glimpse of the greasy locks of Robert Pattinson. --Tucker Stone in Comixology

There's no question in my mind that The Hunter is one of the best comics I'll read this year. As an unabashed fan of both the Parker novels and of Darwyn Cooke's comics, I've looked forward to it with the same kind of anticipation I imagine a million young women have for a glimpse of the greasy locks of Robert Pattinson. --Tucker Stone in Comixology

It s July and this may well be the book of the year. A must for anyone with a penchant for Chandler-esque heroes and hard boiled storytelling. The great news is that this is just the first of four planned Parker graphic novels by Cooke. Book 2 is out in 2010 I ve no idea when, but I ll be eagerly awaiting it. Something this near perfect will no doubt be worth the wait. --Richard Burton in the Forbidden Planet Blog
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: IDW Publishing (July 28, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1600104932
  • ISBN-13: 978-1600104930
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #474,049 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By DJ Joe Sixpack HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on September 20, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Parker: The Hunter"
Written by Richard Stark
Adapted by Darwyn Cooke
(IDW, 2009)
----------------------------------------------
Wow. I'm already a fan of comicbook artist Darwyn Cooke (wish he had more books out!) but I gotta say, this adaptation of a gritty noir novel by author Richard Stark really floored me. The first chapter of the book is told almost entirely without words, transforming the taut, cynical prose into pure imagery, as we are introduced to the book's steely, taciturn, utterly immoral antihero -- Parker -- who counterfeits and backstabs his way through the recesses of New York City, circa 1962, hellbent on revenge. It's a real tour-de-force of visual storytelling, but even when the text kicks in, the book never feels cluttered. From start to finish, this graphic novel is a real page-turner... Hopefully there'll be a follow-up soon! (Joe Sixpack, ReadThatAgain book reviews)
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22 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Jimmy Palmiotti VINE VOICE on July 17, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Darwyn Cooke is a modern master of graphic storytelling , just one look at his Eisner awarded works and you know why ...and thats why its no small thing for me to honestly say that The Hunter is one of the finest works of his career.
If you are a Richard Stark fan, this is a fantastic addition and homage to the man's work on every level.
It's a hit from page one and will turn anyone not into graphic art or the crime genre right into an instant fan.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Joseph P. Menta, Jr. VINE VOICE on December 1, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Beautifully adapted version of the classic Richard Stark thriller, "The Hunter", the first in the long-running crime novel series featuring the hardnosed professional thief known simply as "Parker". Darwyn Cooke's detailed art- stylish yet gritty- and the dark prose- mostly sparse, sometimes dense, always sharp- draws the reader right in as Parker undertakes his visceral, often shocking mission of revenge following a doublecross that left him for dead. This is the first of a proposed series of illustrated adaptations, with Mr. Cooke cherry picking his favorite installments from the "Parker" novels and adapting them into handsomely-produced hardback graphic novels of generous length (this one's about 170 pages). After reading this graphic novel, readers may be tempted to immediately pick up the prose novels featuring Parker's next adventures (recently reprinted in new editions) instead of waiting for Mr. Cooke's next adaptation. Do yourself a favor: get both.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Aaron Stack on November 21, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Richard Stark's Parker hit you like a shot gun blast decades ago. Darwyn Cooke's illustrated version finished you off. Your dead.

Cooke's take on the classic two fisted tale of Parker is marvelous! Rarely has the written word been translated so perfectly in this genre. Parker's thirst for revenge is papable, sweaty, and ugly...and you better not turn away! As a long time fan of Cooke's, I had no doubt he was up to the task of depicting Stark's mayhem machine but... wow... this easily surpassed my expectations. The cold blooded black and white artwork is like a sledge hammer on your sleep walking jaw; it's jarring!

If you love the genre, the character, the artist, then come along for the ride...just try not to get blood and bone in your eyes!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Wes Locher on March 11, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Darwyn Cooke has put together something really special with Parker: The Hunter. The hardcover edition is absolutely beautiful. The pages are thick and heavy and Darwyn's art jumps off the page at you. I'm a big fan of crime fiction/noir comics, and this is one of the better ones I've read since Brubaker's Criminal.

The tone is dark as Parker tracks down thug after thug who has wronged him. Cooke utilizes mostly whites, blues, an blacks for all of the art to help you feel the mindset of a man who is out to get his money back and will stop at nothing to do so. The cover is full color and completely stunning.

I was unfamiliar with Richard Stark prior to this book. After reading which movies that his books had spawned, I started to get an appreciation for the man realizing that I really like those movies, so I'm anxious to check out his prose versions somewhere down the line, though I've heard that Darwyn will adapt another Parker story to be released in mid-2010.

Though over 100 pages, this book is fast paced and action packed, spurred on by Cooke not using traditional frames within the book, leaving each panel open as a fluid transition into the next. I would have loved for it to take longer to read, but truth be told, I just couldn't put it down. Before I knew it, I was on the fourth chapter, nearing the climax and I forced myself to set it down for the night, though I finished it immediately the following morning. If you're a fan of Brubaker or Bendis's crime work, this ranks right up there with the best.

Darwyn Cooke is one of those special talents who can write (or in this case adapt) a comic and do all of the art for it. It's obvious that he put a lot of heart into this adaptation and greatly respects Richard Stark. Always a pleasure to read a book from someone who has so much love for sequential storytelling.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Christopher J. Schillig on August 28, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Parker, the professional criminal created by Richard Stark (pseudonym of late mystery writer Donald Westlake), is enjoying a resurgence.

Last year, the prestigious University of Chicago Press began reissuing early novels in the series. Now comes "Parker: The Hunter," a comic-book adaptation of the book that first inflicted Parker on an unsuspecting world. The graphic novel is adapted and drawn by Eisner-award winner Darwyn Cooke, best known for a nostalgic version of 1950s Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman called "The New Frontier."

For "The Hunter," Cooke takes off the rose-colored glasses to render a gritty New York City in 1962. Parker, newly escaped from prison, blows into Manhattan seeking the two people who double-crossed him. In short order, one of the two is dead.

Half the fun of Parker is watching him at work and predicting what he will do and feel next. This should be easy -- he is incredibly amoral -- but isn't. He has no qualms about orchestrating a munitions heist that will put weapons in the hands of South American rebels, but later shows remorse when a beautician he has mouth-gagged aspirates and dies.

Cooke opens the adaptation with a lengthy, almost entirely wordless sequence that shows Parker as the elemental creature he is -- lumbering across the George Washington Bridge, attracting and simultaneously repulsing women drivers, forging a driver's license by hand (ah, the pre-computer days!), and scamming his way into a new suit.

Later, when Cooke fills in Parker's background, the reader may reflect fondly on the wordless tour de force of those opening pages. Slavishly following Stark's plot, Cooke fills the pages with words, almost obliterating the art.
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