Richard Stark's Parker: The Hunter

The Hunter, Donald Westlake?s first novel concerning tough-guy criminal Parker (issued originally under the pseudonym Richard Stark), masses a trim 198 pages. The new graphic novel adaptation of this caper, illustrated by Darwyn Cooke, weighs in at 140 pages. Given the fabled thousandfold ratio of pictures to words, this statistic should tell you that the new version is an uncommonly faithful retelling. But what mere numbers won?t reveal is how authentic the book feels, as a movie-on-paper capture of Westlake's original ambiance and tone. Anyone who read Cooke?s '50s superhero saga DC: The New Frontier, knows Cooke?s flair for limning America in her postwar, populuxe, pre-swinging-'60s glory. Given the 1962 setting of The Hunter, Cooke is in his glory, drawing seedy settings and characters. Anyone who read Cooke?s Spirit stories knows of his facility depicting Eisnerian gangsters and femmes fatales, and his portraits here translate Westlake?s descriptions with flair and accuracy. And anyone who read Cooke?s Catwoman heist tale, Selina?s Big Score, knows of his affinity for the crime genre. In short, this talented artist-writer is the perfect fellow to adapt Westlake, and he never falters. He retains Westlake?s convoluted chronology and shifts in perspective without baffling the reader. He makes very few cuts and interpolates very little new material. Dialogue and narration comes straight from Westlake, although certain swears forbidden in 1962 are now intermixed for verisimilitude, and a couple of the killings are grimmer. This is one of those rare instances where translation to another medium produces a work which not only honors the original but also reveals new angles and aspects to the story, in a manner unique to the new format.

April 24: "[The HST] lifted a curtain from our view of the universe, changing it so profoundly that no human can look at the stars in the same way..."

Kenneth Calhoun (Black Moon) and Lysley Tenorio (Monstress) of the Discover Great New Writers program on B-movies, heritage, and finales.

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
In the Light of What We Know

Zia Haider Rahman's mystery of a brilliant Bangladeshi mathematician's past barrels through the Ivy League, London high finance, and spy-haunted Afghanistan in a page-turning tale of exile, intrigue and the price of friendship. A Discover Great New Writers selection.

The People's Platform

Once touted as the foundation for tomorrow's digital democracy, the Internet is increasingly ruled by a few corporate giants, while millions of contributors till its fields for free. Astra Taylor looks at why the web has failed to deliver a communitarian cyberscape, and offers a compelling case for restoring its original vision.

A Private Venus

Dubbed "the Italian Simenon," Giorgio Scerbanenco (1911-1969) began his crime-writing career with books set in the USA, but quickly shifted scene closer to home, the city of Milan.  In this adventure, appearing in English for the first time, his underdog hero Dr. Duca Lamberti finds himself in the middle of a seedy, scantily clad criminal racket, where the presence of an outsider could result in death.