Graphic novel adaptation of Richard Stark's Parker The Hunter


I'll admit that I'd never heard of author Richard Stark (real name: Donald E. Westlake) or his 1962 novel, The Hunter, until I'd read this superb graphic novel adaptation.

Eisner award-winning Artist and writer Darwyn Cooke's version is stunningly rendered in black and blue that perfectly matches the mood of this hard-boiled story about an amoral professional thief name Parker who's on a mission of revenge against another thief who double crossed him.

Imagine Mad Men, with its cool stylishness, but with characters even more depraved and rapacious, and you'll have an idea for what's in store when you read The Hunter.

Parker: The Hunter by Darwyn Cooke


  1. “…until I’d read this superb graphic novel from which it was adapted.”

    So, then, the 1962 novel was adapted from the superb graphic novel?

    How prosaic time travel has become.

  2. I’ve read all the Parker books, and this one most recently, actually. So excited to see a graphic version!

  3. Westlake was a prolific writer of crime fiction. My favorites are the Dortmunder series penned under his own name. Also, both “God Save the Mark,” and “The Ax” are really great novels.

  4. Seems like I’ve seen the name of this Richard Stark novel come up a lot lately. Recently rewatched the neo-noir masterpiece Point Blank with Lee Marvin, which is based on the novel (so is Payback with Mel Gibson). Also, Film Score Monthly just released Quincy Jones’ excellent score for another Westlake/Stark-related movie called The Split. I look forward to checking out this comic adaptation. Right up my alley.

  5. “…until I’d read this superb graphic novel from which it was adapted.”

    So, the 1962 novel was adapted from this superb graphic novel, then? Gee, I hadn’t realized time travel was in common practice.

  6. The Parker series is fantastic. I imagine Stark/Westlake’s economical prose would translate well to a graphic novel. I think it was Ed Brubaker’s like-minded comic series Criminal that turned me on to the novels – each month the back pages of Criminal feature an article on under appreciated pulp writers.

    The Hunter was twice made into feature films as well: John Boorman’s groundbreaking, psychadelic cut-up – Point Blank starring the great Lee Marvin, and Brian Helgeland’s so-so Tarrantino take starring the anti-semitic Mel Gibson.

  7. “The Hunter” was also the basis for two movies, one a brilliant, genius-level decontruction of action movies, the other somewhat less so: “Point Blank”, with Lee Marvin and Angie Dickenson; and “Payback”, with Mel Gibson and Maria Bello (and Lucy Liu).

    It is left as an excercise for the reader which movie is the good one.

  8. There have been 6 movies based on Parker novels. The one I’d most like to see is The Outfit, which stars Robert Duvall as the Parker character, plus Karen Black and Joe Don Baker as his henchpersons. I guess for curiousity’s sake I’d also like to see Jean Luc Godard’s adaptation of The Jugger (haven’t read it yet), in which the Parker character is played by Anna Karina. There’s also The Split, wherein Parker is played by Jim Brown. Cast also includes Gene Hackman, Ernest Borgnine, Warren Oates and Donald Sutherland. None of these seem to be available on DVD currently.

    Lee Marvin is by far the best casting choice for Parker, but Walker is pretty different than Parker. Parker is all about control and self-discipline, as opposed to the raging Frankenstein that is Walker in Point Blank.

    The Parker character is never called Parker, I have read, because Columbia pictures owns the rights to the name even though it has never used it. Makes no sense to me but so I have read.

  9. @13: Godard’s adaptation, Made In USA, is more of an exercise in form than a narrative film. It does follow the plot loosely, but is pretty far removed from his early work with ‘Genre-films’.

    It’s screening in Chicago (Gene Siskel Film Ctr) all week, if you’re anywhere nearby..

    ALSO, while Point Blank is a better film, Payback may be a better adaptation of The Hunter.

  10. Actually, the Parker books are being reprinted, in order, for those of you who want to get your hands on them. Another 3 of them were just released this week, actually. I think they’ve reprinted 10 total, and hopefully they’ll keep going until they’re all reprinted. – There’s a link to the first one, and you can find links to the rest of the University of Chicago reprints from there. I’ve read a few of them and got the rest sitting in a stack on my nightstand.

  11. Also, I believe Darwyn Cooke has said this is the first of three adaptations he plans on doing of the Parker books.

  12. The Parker novels are great fun. I think I’ve read them all- the only “Parker novel” that doesn’t have Parker as the key player is “Lemons Never Lie.” The rest are standard good heist-cum-something-went-wrong stories where Parker ends up getting away with the loot and the dame. Well, the loot anyway. They’re great fun and not too heavy on the thinking, which is what I need now and then.

  13. Actually, there are four non-Parker Richard Stark novels, all starring Parker’s sometime partner in crime (and occasional actor) Alan Grofield. “Lemons Never Lie” is the final Grofield novel (and the best one).

    I’ll echo what everyone in here has said about the Parker books. They’re among the best crime novels ever written.

  14. Excellent, though you lose points for showing me this when I’m trying to stop spending money on books.

    As another hardcore Westlake/Stark fan, I was absolutely gutted when he died on New Year’s Eve. The final Dortmunder book was just published, and I finished it not two days ago.

    And I’m gutted again, not because the book was bad, but because Westlake’s hundred-somethingth novel was still so damn good.

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