Saturday, 22 August 2009
Richard Stark's Parker: Book One - The Hunter
A quick word. Unwieldy, but necessary, title aside, Darwyn Cooke's pop-art Parker is a pared snatch of picturebook aggression. Cooke's artwork strays looser than I've ever seen; heavy blacks laced with squared detail and a murky grey depth colour, framed on a yellowed paper stock. The informal brushwork has a hurried, impatient quality to it, matching its prowling centre-man beat for beat. There's a temptation to call it storyboards, simply because it isn't overproduced, and Cooke has a background in animation blocking, but it's an irrelevant sort of snide. Cooke's Parker is breathless, and engaging, the dash renders accentuating that quality.
Cooke's preoccupation with America as an aspirational 60s lifestyle catalogue finds thesis purchase as an empty synthetic contrast to the minimalist hero. It's a counterfeit world built on greed and spectral criminality, poised and placed to be annihilated by this rampaging madman. Parker's a thunderous presence, clipped and direct, where his enemies are bloated and concealed. Parker is rootless in this world. He's an intruder, here drafted as a dishevelled, amoral mirror to the Bruce Wayne of Cooke's New Frontier brand. Both purposed and focused, running on a private objective motor. A wonderful reframing of Richard Stark's career criminal. Cooke can't get to The Man with the Getaway Face quick enough.