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Richard Stark's Parker: The Hunter

(Parker Graphic Novels #1)

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  6,548 Ratings  ·  496 Reviews
The Hunter, the first book in the Parker series, is the story of a man who hits New York head-on like a shotgun blast to the chest. Betrayed by the woman he loved and double-crossed by his partner in crime, Parker makes his way cross-country with only one thought burning in his mind - to coldly exact his revenge and reclaim what was taken from him! Richard (Donald Westlake ...more
Hardcover, 140 pages
Published July 14th 2009 by Idea and Design Works, LLC. (first published June 1st 2009)
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Jun 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
When I heard a comic adaptations were being done to Richard Stark’s stories about professional thief Parker, I had a lot of doubts. There’s been a bad trend of trying to turn any book, tv show, film or video game with any nerd appeal at all into graphic novel form and the results have been mixed at best. So I wasn’t running out to pick this up. But I saw some good reviews on it from fellow Parker fans and when I came across this at the local library, I checked it out, and I’m glad I did.

Darwyn C
Illustrator Darywn Cooke's adaptation of the classic blood soaked revenge fueled noir, The Hunter by Donald Westlake's most renowned pseudonym Richard Stark captures the essence of the novel and manages to better it by adding a layer of grit to the grime, in the process creating a visually perfect picture to compliment he prose.

Parker is a professional thief, taking only the most profitable jobs; its high stakes, high risk, high reward.

When an opportunity arises to take a cut of a cool 90k, he
David Schaafsma
May 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: gn-crime
I finally picked this up because Darwyn Cooke just recently died, may he RIP, so I wanted to honor his name and work by revisiting a little of his work, and picked something y'all told me was his best stuff. I have not been a huge fan of his work, particularly, his DC stuff, his Before Watchmen work that I found an uninteresting cash grab. This was by far the most interesting work he has done that I have seen, in part because it meets my interests in graphic crime stories at the moment. I would ...more
Man, was this all kinds of awesome.

Based on the acclaimed novel of the same name by the late Richard Stark (Donald Westlake), artist Darwyn Cooke adapted it to the graphic novel medium. Parker, set up by a desperate man in need of paying off some sketchy loans, seemingly returns from the dead to settle a score. Running through members of a massive crime organization dubbed, The Outfit, Parker makes it clear he wants his money back - at any cost.

I know I've been told 'round these parts that Parke
Feb 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Starts off with a helluva quiet bang, but massive punch in the face nonetheless. Slows down some once we start to learn a little backstory, and eases into a slow smoulder with an acrid smokey haze of bitter revenge.

The source material is obviously rich, oozing atmosphere, personality and sensuality. I'm impressed as much at how little Cooke needs to extract to tell a tight but layered tale to us, and how well he translates a prose-heavy story into arresting, storytelling imagery.

Under the combin
May 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime, graphic-novels

- This is a very faithful adaptation to the source material. The few changes that I noticed were made just to work better with the graphic medium.
- Beautiful hard-boiled art style, reminiscent of the art of Sin City.
- Better ending point than the original novel, which had another job tacked on at the end.
- Really nice hardcover book with a book jacket cover.


- Interior art is grey-scale, not in color like the cover.
- So similar to the novel that it is redundant to read both.
- The entire
Scott S.
Mar 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Starkly (no pun intended - or was it?) effective crime story that will seem familiar if you've seen either Point Blank with Lee Marvin or Payback with Mel Gibson, both of which used Donald Westlake's first 'Parker' novel for their cinematic screenplays. This was one nasty little piece of sadistic, un-P.C. and probably misogynistic business . . . and I loved nearly every minute of it! (Sometimes you just want to get down in the mud and say "&$#% it, it's time for some rough justice.") It was ...more
Bryce Wilson
Nov 10, 2009 rated it it was amazing
There are few things I love more then Crime Fiction. There are few things in that genre that I love more then the great Don Westlake’s Parker novels. Written under the pseudonym Richard Stark and spanning twenty four novels, the series follows professional thief Parker from job to job.

The books themselves vary little, most follow a pretty set formula Where in, A) Parker takes a job. B) Some poor fool crosses him. C) We follow said poor fool as we watch him try to escape from Parker’s wrath. D)
Dec 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: A Must for Richard Stark fans
Richard Stark writing plus quality art.
A great,great Graphic Novel and now I finally see why Cooke's art is so highly rated.

Almost black,white art that makes the story come alive very strong. You can see Cooke is a real Richard Stark fan, Parker is drawn like a mean looking guy which is a copy of my ideal look for Parker that i have in my mind when i read the books.
Richard Stark's first Parker novel, The Hunter, was the perfect story to be recreated as a graphic novel. The graphics are dark and powerful. Parker is a little more handsome than I pictured him. Stark said when he was creating Parker, he pictured someone like Jack Palance. Perfect. The story was written in 1962, so Cooke clearly had a lot of fun recreating those days. The store signs, the clothes, the mid century modern furniture. Lots of great detail.

I also enjoyed where they chose to end the
Sep 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: crime, reviewed
Years ago, I discovered Richard Stark's 'Parker' thanks to this book. I'd been a fan of Darwyn Cooke's work for years so when I heard about this particular project I decided to check out Stark's novels. I figured I'd read them so that I could then see how close to the source Cooke had stayed in bringing his adaptation to the comic book page.

I really liked those Richard Stark novels. But! To read this adaptation was... amazing. The quality of the original story is without question, but to read it
Sep 17, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: comics, crime
Critics and hardcore crime genre enthusiasts may tell you differently, but to me the source material is nothing but sexist, juvenile crap. Always was, always will be. What makes this book worth reading, however, is what Darwyn Cooke does with said crap. Cooke repaints his trademark retro artwork in a chilly blue palette and makes excellent use of silent panels to illustrate Parker's hunt for revenge. Cooke obviously gets a thrill out drawing little things like coke bottles, handguns, and cigaret ...more
Oct 20, 2014 rated it did not like it
Bad source material.

Even the best art can't save this misogynistic power fantasy.
Lars Guthrie
Jan 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Darwyn Cooke’s ‘Parker: The Hunter,’ the first in a series of Richard Stark crime noir novels adaptations, begins in a swirl of activity, conveyed almost exclusively in the purely visual language of comic books.

Parker, a big, rangy, man, dirty and ragged, ready to explode. For some unknown reason out striding down the middle of the George Washington bridge into 1960s Manhattan, purposefully moving into the city, oblivious to all the cars and people, intent only on what he’s got to do. Within a
Jason Pettus
May 17, 2010 rated it liked it
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography []. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)

Late author Donald Westlake is apparently a revered figure in the world of crime novels, which admittedly I'm not much of a fan of; and while writing under his pseudonym "Richard Stark," one of his most infamous characters turned out to be a professional con-man and complete sociopath known only as "Parke
The art and visual storytelling by Darwyn Cooke are excellent. Just detailed enough for clarity yet stylized enough to evoke a noir-type atmosphere.

There are rare times when a graphic novel's story does not live up to it's artwork. This is, unfortunately, one of those times. Although there are occasional interesting mystery novel elements; this is basically a dark, unpleasant revenge story.

The main character, Parker, is an amoral thief who got double-crossed and spends the entire novel working
Apr 30, 2013 rated it liked it
Back in the day, the "take no prisoners" tough guy pulp was a staple. Super macho gifters, thieves, and assassins who kissed - and killed - equally amoral dames while barrelling toward a bloody and pointless revenge of some sort.

This type of novel has fallen out of favor in our more PC times.(Actually, as popular as they once were, these stories were always the kind of disreputable paperbacks you might find lying around a gas station somewhere - and that, of course, was part of their appeal.) B
Feb 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
A solid 3.5, mainly bolstered up by Darwyn Cooke's incredible artwork. The Hunter is a brutal story about revenge at all costs, and the monochrome art in this adaptation elevates the story from a 2.5-3. The silent panels toward the beginning of the story, the merciless violence of the action sequences, the attention to detail, and a certain splash page toward the middle of the book are lush and gorgeous. The pacing is excellent. The misogynistic source material is not all that excellent. In the ...more
Andrew Uys
Dec 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I became a big fan of Richard Stark's Parker novels after having dinner with Darwyn Cooke, who at the time was working on this graphic novel. Before Darwyn's (amazing) book had hit stories, I'd already devoured the first 4 or 5 Parker novels. Now, I'm just hunting for the last 2 (there's 18 or so). This graphic novel adaptation of Richard Stark's work is incredible! Darwyn's art is perfect for this project, and every page is a visual treat for the reader. Darwyn Cooke was a life-long fan of Mr. ...more
Jan 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Não conheço o livro original de Richard Stark e foi a primeira vez que me cruzei com Parker. Não posso, portanto, tecer críticas quanto a qualidade do livro enquanto adaptação...
Mas posso avaliar este livro como um trabalho independente e nesse sentido tenho de referir que o devorei numa tarde. O trabalho artístico é bastante bom (gosto sempre deste estilo de trabalhos) e a história é cativante.
Jan 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime-noir, comics
This is a beautiful book. Not only is Cooke's art fantastic, but the book itself has orange and black cloth covers with embossed image on the front board, plus end-papers with an abstract design (presumably by Cooke). Kudos to IDW for taking care to produce well-make book!

I'm not sure how to describe Cooke's art. If you've seen it, you can't forget it and his style is readily identifiable. He had a background in animation and advertising, and I think those influences are apparent. Also, there i
A Reader's Heaven
(I received a free copy of this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.)

In 1962, Donald E. Westlake, writing under the pseudonym Richard Stark, created what would become one of the most important and enduring crime fiction series ever produced — Parker.
Westlake wrote more than 20 Parker novels, many considered classics of the genre, and a number of which have transitioned to the big screen. Most notable of these is Point Blank, directed by John Boorman and starring Lee Marvin, re
While speaking to a colleague recently, we discovered our mutual interest in crime-fiction, particularly serial crime fiction, and he thought I might like a crime-fiction graphic novel series, so he lent me the first installment of Richard Stark’s The Hunter. Written in 1963 by Donald E. Westlake under a pseudonym, he wrote a series about a calculating, hard-boiled career criminal named Parker. Following his last heist, his former accomplice made an attempt on his life, but doesn’t know that Par ...more
Drown Hollum
Aug 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very neat adaptation, and some amazing cartooning from Cooke. It's easy to get wrapped up in Parker's world, and there's a certain level joy which comes from watching him masterfully manipulate the opposition. In fact, my biggest grievance with this book is the last of realistic tension. We're simply never led to believe that Parker COULD fail. He's just on top of shit the whole way through. He's truly an awful man by the way, no lovable rogue to like here.

I would read more of this, sh
Nov 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was quick to read, easy to understand and the characters well defined. I like the feel of this book.
Trashy Dreams
Dec 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
How do you adapt perfection? If you're smart, you'll know you can't, so you don't. But then there's Darwyn Cooke. His passing in 2016 was a tremendous loss to the comics community. But like Richard Stark, he was an unmatched master of his craft.
Sam Quixote
Jul 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
A mysterious man enters New York City in what looks like the 1950s. He's only got the clothes on his back but his wits soon has him attired in new clothes and on his mission again. He's Parker and he's been double crossed by his former partner and his wife out of money from a job they pulled in South America. But when they left him for dead, guess what? He wasn't!

A classic revenge setup then. Only unlike similar stories of vengeance (and I immediately thought of Frank Miller's The Hard Goodbye
Erik Erickson
Apr 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
I can think of no one more perfectly suited to illustrate a 1960s crime pulp than Darwyn Cooke. The man gives good 60s. Ed Brubaker and Sean Philips are the only other comic-kas (to twist 'manga-ka' for Western use) who do crime comics this well right now. But Cooke's work is more pure, and not just because he's using an original rather than riffing on or extending the genre.

Although I would probably very much enjoy the initial prose versions of these Parker stories, Darwyn Cooke's art and the e
May 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Lee Marvin
Recommended to Andy by: Walker
Sometimes the planets are in perfect alignment and the book gods actually grant us a chance to see something truly wonderful, like Darwyn Cooke's marvelous intrepretation of Richard Stark's "The Hunter", drawn in perfect Camelot-period American style and beautifully faithful to the novel. There are some great images you need to see that will enhance your appreciation of this most maginificent noir classic.
Mike Sgier
Jun 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Top notch, hard-boiled crime comic. I don't have much experience with the source material or Darwyn Cooke's work, but I was impressed all around. The story speeds along just right, going from one betrayal to the next. And Cooke's art, with its '60's retro vibe, brings a certain class to the lurid, back-stabbing machinations.

And Parker is one tough f@#%er. Neither hero nor villain (entirely), just a man looking out for his self-interest, and with a body count to show for it.
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Darwyn Cooke was an Eisner Award winning comic book writer, artist, cartoonist and animator, best known for his work on the comic books Catwoman, DC: The New Frontier and Will Eisner's The Spirit.

In 1985, Cooke published his first comic book work as a professional artist in a short story in New Talent Showcase #19, but economic pressure made him leave the career and he worked in Canada as a magazi

Other books in the series

Parker Graphic Novels (5 books)
  • Richard Stark's Parker: The Man with the Getaway Face
  • Richard Stark’s Parker: The Outfit
  • Richard Stark’s Parker: The Score
  • Richard Stark's Parker: Slayground
“Stegman looked back at him. "I don't see no gun," he said. "I don't see no weapon."
Parker held up his hands. "You see two of them," he said. "They're all I need.”
More quotes…