Friday, October 08, 2010

Richard Stark's Parker: The Outfit by Darwyn Cooke

Darwyn Cooke's original outing with Richard Stark's Parker was a lushly rendered, graphic tour-de-force. With his second go-round, the aesthetic more or less remains, but much of the energy is gone. Part of this is due, I think, to Cooke's strict faithfulness to Stark's work. There are Parker books where the action is very physical, and moves relentlessly forward, The Hunter being one such. But there are also Parker books where most of the action is in Parker's head, as he adjusts tactics to stay one step ahead of his mark.

The Outfit (A) falls all-too-solidly into the latter category, which must have driven Cooke crazy. Midway through the adventure, Cooke resorts to several varieties of metatext, inserting a (vintage) men's magazine story to provide several pages of back-story, or ritzing out another caper in a Googie-graphic fashion that brought to my mind a very particular incarnation of the Wizard of Oz (source). Meta-text/narrative is a jarring strategy at the best of times, especially so in a work that is fighting stasis from the get-go.

The book concludes with the promise that "Parker will return in 2012." Two things are noteworthy about this announcement: (1) unlike the last outing, it makes no mention of which book Cooke will adapt next (2) Cooke has given himself a deadline that could extend to two years. I think both are worthy strategies with material that is as tricky to adapt as Parker, and I look forward to the next adventure.

Sorry: no illustrations with this post, because the stuff I'm wingeing about isn't the stuff on offer in teh interwebz. Thus far I'm the only one kvetching: this guy makes a strong case for the book. In his review, and other picture searches, all you get is Cooke's super-fab illos, which I've got nooooo beef with whatsoever.

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