Richard Stark’s Parker: SLAYGROUND

Darwyn Cooke—words and art
Pub date: December 24, 2013
IDW Press

It is pretty safe to say that the Richard Stark Parker books are among the best hardboiled books in the genre. What Westlake brought to his mysteries he brought in spades to these stories. In all the years he was alive Westlake only once allowed someone to do an adaptation of his work using the Parker name. It happens to be these graphic novels by Darwyn Cooke.

Cooke has already gained a reputation for wonderful work, in particular period pieces like The Spirit and New Frontier. His work on Catwoman was also amazing. What we see here, on every page is his love of these stories. It shows in his art and in the adaptation.

SLAYGROUND is a great cat and mouse tale. Parker is pulling a heist and it goes bad. He’s on the run and ends up in an amusement park closed for the winter. He is seen going in by what he assumes is cops. Who really saw him was corrupt cops and the gangster who pays them. They wait for reinforcements and go in after Parker to eliminate the witness, not knowing of course that Parker knows what they want and has been given time to prepare for them.

Action ensues.

I love these adaptations, they look like something right out of the early sixties, pull off the jacket and look at the detail on the book. It’s a work of art. The front paper, the look of the art and even the font.

I would say that anyone who is a fan of Richard Stark needs these books.

Jon Jordan