MTV Geek chats with the writer/artist behind Parker: The Hunter and The Outfit about adapting Richard Stark as well as some of his own upcoming work.
For most comic fans, Darwyn Cooke needs no introduction. But as someone who humped it all the way to midtown NYC with a copy of the Absolute New Frontier for this distinctive creator’s signature, it’s always nice to give appreciation for his work to those fans who aren’t as familiar with his style and aesthetic.
Besides the aforementioned New Frontier mini (where Cooke provided 60’s-style revamps to tons of characters from the DCU), he was also responsible for a brief run on Catwoman alongside writer Ed Brubaker that revitalized Selina Kyle, placing her in a series of noir-tinged (mis)adventures. He also provided words and pictures to the first 12 issues of DC’s revival of Eisner’s The Spirit (which is long past due for an oversized collection), as well as writing the now-defunct Superman Confidential in a dream team-up with Tim Sale on art.
Most recently, he’s been churning out adaptations of the work of Richard Stark (the pen name of the late Donald Westlake), starting with Parker: The Hunter, followed by last year’s The Outfit. For fans of Cooke’s Parker adaptations, Cooke has more on the way as well as an oversized volume collecting both The Hunter and The Outfit.
Stark’s Parker novels followed the titular savvy (and occasionally) ruthless criminal as he masterminds heists and ends up going toe-to-toe with almost corporation-like criminal syndicates. It’s easy to see the appeal for Cooke, whose main claim to fame is his skill with realizing square-jawed, two-fisted heroes and curvy, dangerous-looking heroines. His nuance with faces and characters make him a fit for the moral gray areas of Stark’s seamy plots.
Cooke’s also working on his first fully creator-owned title, and which will be an e-book. Cooke is promising that the unannounced title will be limited to digital for at least five years without a print counterpart, and will be geared toward the screen layout and technology of e-readers.
He also contributed a story to the recent Rocketeer anthology, also published by IDW. He expressed some anxiety about continuing the work of the late Dave Stevens give how close to Stevens’ heart he kept his creation, The Rocketeer. Cooke shouldn’t have too much to worry about: quite a few reviews have singled his entry out for its excellence among the other stories in the anthology.
Beyond that, he also promises more Parker books, with The Score and Slayground next on his slate, but without any confirmed finish dates.
Finally, Cooke teases a big project that he has coming from DC, but says that he can’t divulge any more than that since he’s been sworn to secrecy. He promises that it’ll be announced in October and that it will intrigue and enrage in equal measure.
Parker: The Hunter and Parker: The Outfit are both on shelves now from IDW with a collected Martini edition due out on August 2.