In Darwyn Cooke’s third masterful adaptation of Richard Stark’s Parker series, we find Parker being enticed into doing a job so crazy, that he can’t say no to. Knocking over the entire mining town of
in one night. He’s told of the job and how many men would be involved which
causes him to scoff at the very idea at first, but rolling it around in his
mind causes him to actually say yes to this impossible feat that seemed like a
plot to a movie that would never work in real life. Copper Canyon
Twelve men crazy enough to help Parker take on this monumental job and keep their wits about them while hiding from the law, yeah, it’s crazy. And you’re glued to this book for the entire time.
Never once do you feel like you’re not in the same room as Parker and his crew. Cooke keeps it close and intimate.
The 13 Eisner Award winner’s art mirrors Parker’s own personality in some ways, he doesn’t say much and when he does, he lets the man’s actions speak for him.
The character of Parker is one that Hollywood just can’t seem to leave alone, Stark’s master thief has been played by many actors over the years, Lee Marvin, Michel Constantin, Jim Brown, Robert Duvall, Peter Coyote, Mel Gibson, and Jason Statham.
But who could blame him? He’s a very complex but simple character that you can’t help but cheer on and hope that he makes it.
All these actors played Parker in spirit but would never allow Parker's name to be used. (until Jason Statham in Parker). Apparently Donald Westlake, (the real name of Richard Stark) was so swayed by Cooke’s adaptation that he gave him his blessing to use the moniker “Parker”. He went on to adapt the first four books in the series, The Hunter, The Outfit, The Score, and Slayground
“Strip it all down to essentials and draw the hell out of what’s let.” Alex Toth once said.
And Darwin Cooke’s followed that with an almost monastic Focus. His characters are simple yet elegant, you almost tend to forget how brilliant his artwork is because of the simplicity of it, he knows where to put lines, and curves. Everything is exact and nothing ever seems out of place for one moment.
He knows how to channel his art in that Toth-esque minimalist style in a way that no one has ever tried before. He has a way of delving straight into that vein that Toth started long ago in the ’60s.
And that's what makes this artwork so beautiful and so timeless when you look at it, you don't see art, you see the past, you see exactly what he wants you to see.
Parker is the proto character that other popular writers modeled their protagonists after, he‘s close to Lee Child’s Jack Reacher, in that he’s this big animalistic brute that doesn’t say much. Parker is an unrepentant, thuggish, bastard and yet you can’t help but love him. And just like Stark, you’ll end up liking him for what he won’t tell you about himself.