Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Book: Richard Stark’s Parker: The Outfit, by Darwyn Cooke (2010)

Cooke follows up his critically-acclaimed graphic novel adaptation of The Hunter (aka Point Blank, aka Payback) by Richard Stark (aka Donald E. Westlake) with what amounts to a double dose of the steely professional thief Parker.

Part one of The Outfit is based on 1963’s The Man With the Getaway Face. Parker’s got a new look but the same old problems, forced into an armored car heist fated to go south. In the rest of the book, drawn on the ’63 novel of the same title, Parker finds himself hounded by the Mob. He responds the only way he can: by arranging for his criminal cohort to take down every connected establishment they know of.

Cooke’s illustrations are, as ever, gorgeous, steeped in period detail. One of the great pleasures of this series is seeing Stark’s flinty narratives play out in the era in which they were written. In adapting the traditional third-person section of the novel Cooke truly gets inventive, recounting multiple heists in an assortment of styles including the pages of a crime confession magazine using Stark’s prose as copy. Cooke would seem to be tacitly admitting that the words need little adornment, but then you turn the page to find a brooding double truck panel of Parker sitting by a shuttered pool at an upstate New York motel and are reminded again of what Cooke brings to the table.

Reminder: Hell & Gone Giveaway

Go read last week’s Q&A with Duane Swierczynski. Then enter the contest to win a signed copy of Duane’s book Hell & Gone. U.S. residents have until noon PST on Wednesday, November 2 to email their name and postal address to contest@vincekeenan.com with Hell & Gone as the subject line.