Tagged: Darwyn Cooke

Review: ‘Richard Stark’s Parker: The Hunter’ by Darwyn Cooke

Review: ‘Richard Stark’s Parker: The Hunter’ by Darwyn Cooke

Richard Stark’s Parker, Book One: The Hunter
Darwyn Cooke
IDW, July 2009, $24.99

Richard Stark’s Parker novels come out of a particular
period in literary history: the heyday of the disposable paperback for men.
Paperbacks had appeared in their modern form just before WWII, and servicemen
got used to carrying small paperbound books in whatever pockets they could jam
a book into. The boom continued through the postwar years, with a flood of
short thrillers, detective stories, and soft-core porn – all to stave off
boredom for a man waiting for dinner time on a business trip in some hick town,
or hanging out at the PX on his army base, or riding the streetcar home at

[[[The Hunter]]] was
published in 1962, at the height of that boom – a good decade before the ‘70s
taught publishers that women were even more dependable consumers of paperbacks,
and the long shift to romances and their ilk began. At first glance, Stark’s
hero is right out of the mold of the great hardboiled Mikes (Hammer &
Shayne) – tough, violent, single-minded, implacable. But Parker was less
emotional than the usual hardboiled hero – cold where they were hot,
calculating where they were impetuous. Parker could kill when he had to – and he
did it quite a bit – but he never killed for fun, or just because he could. As
the Parker novels went on he avoided killing as much as he could, simply
because deaths attract more attention than he wanted.

Hardboiled heroes came from both sides of the
law – Mike Shayne and Mike Hammer were detectives, but there were plenty of
law-breakers before Parker, from writers like David Goodis and Jim Thompson.
They usually weren’t series characters, though: Parker’s amoralism went beyond
his own actions to his world, and his stories told how a master criminal could get away with it – if he was smart and tough


Review: ‘The Hunter’ by Darwyn Cooke from IDW

Review: ‘The Hunter’ by Darwyn Cooke from IDW

Let’s get the disclaimer out of the way first: Yes, ComicMix is publishing lots of stuff with IDW Publishing. Doesn’t matter, The Hunter
would still be on the short list for the best book of the year if it came out from Chick Publications.

I’ve had a preview copy of the entire book for a few months now, and I’ve held off on reviewing it because I didn’t want to tease you, even though previews of the first pages were up and about. You just would have wanted more. I certainly did.

The backstory is simple: it’s an adaptation of The Hunter
by Donald Westlake, writing as Richard Stark. It’s the first novel featuring his protaganist Parker. In this book he’s been betrayed by his wife and fellow criminals in the aftermath of a heist, and he hammers his way through New York circa 1962 to get revenge. A lot of it. With guns and fists and… you get the idea.

The book’s been adapted into film a number of times with varying degrees of quality, the two best known adaptions are [[[Point Blank]]] with Lee Marvin:

…and [[[Payback]]] with Mel Gibson:

(And before you ask, [[[The Hunter]]] with Steve McQueen has nothing to do with this book.) But this may be the closest adaptation of the source material, as evidenced by the fact that this is the first adaption that Westlake let use the name Parker.

It’s certainly faithful in (duo) tone. This is the time period Darwyn Cooke was born to draw, in the same way that Dave Stevens was born to draw the era of the Rocketeer. The book feels like 1962, and yet modern at the same time. If you know Cooke’s other projects– New Frontier, Selina’s Big Score, the Batman animated series, you don’t need the sell, if you don’t, picture here a blend of Jack Cole and Bernie Kriegstein, and you’ve almost got it. This book is clean and compact and accessible in ways that no other comic has, and should take the mainstream by storm. The preview almost makes reviewing redundant, let’s just say that Cooke keeps control of the pace all the way through.

I got my review copy early that I was able to call IDW and natter at them about a few production glitches, if the book hadn’t gone to press yet. When they said it hadn’t, I told them to save time in the future and just print “Eisner nominee” on the cover now.

Really. It’s that good. Buy copies for friends.

Donald E. Westlake, 1933-2008

Donald E. Westlake, 1933-2008

We’ve just received word that Donald E. Westlake passed away yesterday.

Donald is probably best known to comics fans as the author (under the psuedonym Richard Stark) of the Parker novels that Darwyn Cooke is adapting and bringing to IDW Publishing later this year. But that’s the barest fraction of his output. Over a career that lasted decades, he was a four-time Edgar Award winner in four different categories. In 1993, the Mystery Writers of America named Westlake a Grand Master, their highest honor.

His novels were turned into twenty-one different movies, including Payback and The Hot Rock (featuring his famous character John Dortmunder) and wrote screenplays on his own, most notably for The Grifters, where he was nominated for an Academy Award, The Stepfather, and a treatment for the James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies.

He will be missed.

Here’s a promo image from the upcoming Cooke series:

ComicMix Radio: Catchin’ Up With Darwyn Cooke

ComicMix Radio: Catchin’ Up With Darwyn Cooke

Basking in his well-deserved glory for Justice League: New Frontier, Darwyn Cooke teases us a bit on his next turn at DC’s core heroes, plus:

Transformers’ bad guys get a turn

Jericho peters out

— Comic Fans take center stage next season on the SciFi Channel

—  We solve one trivia question and toss out another that is worth an  exclusive Graham Crackers Comics variant — and you win by e-mailing us at: podcast [at] comicmix.com

Spring is here, so relax and Press The Button!



And remember, you can always subscribe to ComicMix Radio podcasts via iTunes - ComicMix or RSS!

ComicMix Radio: Darwyn Cooke Looks Back at ‘The Spirit’

ComicMix Radio: Darwyn Cooke Looks Back at ‘The Spirit’

It was the job everyone admired, but no one wanted to try: following in the footsteps of Will Eisner on The Spirit. For over a year, Darwyn Cooke stepped up to take on the task and in an exclusive ComicMix Radio interview, he talks about the good — and bad — moments, plus:

— DC finally makes a move with Manhunter

Spectacular Spider-Man blows up the ratings

—  Dark Horse partners with Universal

—  Sure – there’s another trivia question  and another chance to grab an exclusive Graham Crackers Comics variant by e-mailing us at: podcast [at] comicmix.com

It’s a click away – so just press the button:



And remember, you can always subscribe to ComicMix Radio podcasts via iTunes - ComicMix or RSS!

Video: Darwyn Cooke Draws Wonder Woman

Video: Darwyn Cooke Draws Wonder Woman

On a really good day, I’m occasionally able to draw something that actually resembles a human shape, but that doesn’t make me an artist. I’m reminded of this when I see footage like this recent video of artist Darwyn Cooke from MegaCon.

The video, shot by Adam and posted over at the Drawn! website, shows Cooke working on a drawing of Wonder Woman, one of the characters featured in his critically praised New Frontier miniseries and its recent animated adaptation.


Darwyn Cooke on ‘Justice League: New Frontier’

Darwyn Cooke on ‘Justice League: New Frontier’

With the Justice League: The New Frontier DVD hitting shelves next week, a New Frontier Special comic scheduled for March 5 release, and DC re-releasing Darwyn Cooke’s miniseries that inspired the film, the award-winning creator is in the midst of a good kind of perfect storm these days.

In a recent interview with CBR, Cooke explains the genesis of the original New Frontier miniseries, his work with the creators of the animated film, and his plans for a potential sequel to the New Frontier story.

“I have a story in mind. And it would take us up to the year 1972. That’s when [Jack] Kirby comes to DC, basically. And so I would probably say, if there was a sequel, it would span that time period from when Kennedy is elected until then. Right now, at this point, it’s pure vapor and rumor.”

Cooke also hints at what readers can expect from the upcoming Justice League: The New Frontier Special, which will feature three stories from the New Frontier era written and drawn by Cooke.

“In ‘The New Frontier,’ there is an article that appears about superheroes being hunted down and Hourman dying and Batman and Superman having a big duel where Batman actually defeats Superman. It’s the story behind all of that,” revealed Cooke. “What it does is give me a chance to have those two beat the crap out each other, which some people say, ‘Oh no, not again.’ But well, heh, you know, sorry, you only live once and here we go.

”But it’s all 1950s style. The technology for this type of a fight for Batman, he’s got to be incredibly ingenious because technology-wise, it’s different world.

Cooke also shares some thoughts about his critically praised work on DC’s The Spirit series, based on the Will Eisner character, and hints that he’ll be returning to an ongoing title at some point in the near future.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Make sure to check out the ComicMix review of Justice League: The New Frontier animated film.]


DC announces first D2DVD release

DC announces first D2DVD release

Following Marvel’s lead, DC Comics is entering the direct-to-DVD animated feature business with the first of a slate of programs featuring their popular heroes.

First at bat is Superman Doomsday, based on the historic Death of Superman storyline from a decade ago. Previewed at this weekend’s Wondercon in San Francisco, the DVD will be released in September and carries a PG-13 rating. Adam Baldwin voices Superman, Anne Heche Lois Lane, and James Marsters plays Lex Luthor. Marsters is no stranger to the Superman mythos, having played Brainiac on the Smallville teevee series.

DC is also adapting Darwyn Cooke’s brilliant DC: The New Frontier for D2DVD release.