The Hunter Adapted By Darwyn Cooke with Kate (and Dan)
Kate: There sure is a lot of talk going on about this “Parker” dude. What with the movie out now with that sexy British guy…
Dan: … Jason Statham…
K: … yeah. Sir Yummy-McYummerson. Regent of the Estate of Stacked Abs, Royal Advisor of Muscles and Sexy Glances.
D: Well. I’m pretty sure he goes by “Jason Statham” because it fits on his driver’s license better.
K: But really, what’s up with this Parker business? With all the fanboy buzz on the Twitters and the blogosperes, you’d think someone had dug up Chandler’s grave and buried him facedown or something?
D: Well since this is a comic book blog, I’ll explain it to you this way: Parker is to crime fiction, as Batman is to superheroes.
D: I know, right? But unlike Batman, Parker is a character that hasn’t ever had a super-awesome adaptation to film. Richard Stark (pen name of Donald Westlake) never allowed the “Parker” name to be used in the film adaptations. And aside from the 1967 film POINT BLANK with Lee Marvin, the films that have been made haven’t been that great.
K: You used to like PAYBACK with Mel Gibson…
D: We don’t talk about Gibson anymore. ::takes Lethal Weapon and Braveheart DVD’s to ½ Price Books::
K: ::takes rotten Gibson money, buys Darwyn Cooke’s THE HUNTER:: If we’re going to get to the meat of this Parker dude here on the comic blog, let’s check it out with THIS!
K: This book it totally Mad Men meets Batman, but with less capes and fewer butlers. And this Batman is a very, very bad man. And this story doesn’t take place in an ad agency. And our “hero” steals things. And kills people who cross him.
D: So nothing like the Dark Knight?
K: Nope, not at all.
D: That makes more sense. The not-Don Draper in this story, Parker, is out for revenge. He’s double crossed by a fellow thief. The double crosser, Mal, makes off with all of the money from a heist and Parker’s wife.
K: So Parker is “The Hunter” in the title. Got it.
D: And as you can tell, this is a very lean revenge driven story. There aren’t any wise cracks. The dialog is straight and to the point. The violence is harsh, and not at all glorified. This is noir storytelling, served straight up.
K: “Noir storytelling, served straight up?” Listen to this guy over here…
D: I’m just saying.
K: When the book opens with the lead character telling a stranger, “Go to hell”, you know you’re in for a gritty story. No rose-colored glasses here!
D: Exactly. Like I said, “Noir storytelling, served straight up”.
K: I heard you the first time. My favorite part is when the lackey cab driver, scared out of his mind, describes Parker with the line “He had big hands, Mal”. ::makes clawing motion with hands::
D: I knew you’d like that part.
K: But what I didn’t like, were the parts where the bad guys, basically all of the guys in the book, were beating up on or killing women. So not cool.
D: This shows that these are men without a moral code beyond “Don’t screw over your partner”.
K: I get it, but I don’t like it.
D: But what about the overall story? Did you like THE HUNTER?
K: Yes! I have to say, after reading this graphic novel, I can’t imagine a Parker story not done in this style. Cooke took Stark’s words, distilled them through his own mind, and created a distinctive version of early 1960’s America. It’s an amazing marriage of words and pictures.
D: “It’s an amazing marriage of words and pictures.” Get a load of this lady here…
K: Shush, you. I’m serious. I’m no noir maven, but I know what I like. I don’t want to use the wrong term here, but his somewhat “animation” style conveys a beautiful, and in places brutal, vibe. This style almost adds to the violent aspect of the story. It’s hard to explain.
D: Not at all! Cooke was universally lauded for this adaption, and his style is now the only adaption that is accepted by Parker fans. From the details poured into every panel, to the “blue” color tones throughout the book, the overall package presentation is incredible.
K: So, I think what we are both saying is this: THE HUNTER as adapted by Darwyn Cooke succeeds on two fronts.
D: Yes! As a faithful adaptation of the beloved Parker character (for the literary set)…
K: … and an amazing visual feast (for the comic book/graphic novel set)! This needs to be on everyone’s bookshelf.
D: ::sees Kate putting on lipstick and strapping a revolver to her thigh:: NOW what are you doing?
K: ::grabs keys:: I’ve got a date with that Statham guy. We’re meeting up for PARKER 2: RED AND THE BRIT.