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In what would seem like a natural outgrowth of their partnership with the Estate of Donald E. Westlake, IDW announced in New York this weekend that they plan to release deluxe hardcover versions of Westlake’s Parker novels, designed and illustrated by Darwyn Cooke.
“The Parker novels written by Donald Westlake had a profound effect on me as a young man,” Cooke said in a press release. “To first be able to adapt them in graphic novel form, and now to illustrate his prose as well… for me, it just doesn’t get much better than this.”
Cooke, of course, has been producing the excellent and well-regarded Parker graphic novel adaptations for the last few years, with the next one, Slayground, set for release in December. The first illustrated novel, The Hunter, will arrive in 2014.
“This is the first time the full series will be published in hardcover,” Cooke said at IDW’s panel on Saturday. He added that he’s taking “a completely different approach” to the art style he used in the graphic novels, and that this represents a chance “to make sure these books are properly preserved.”
Parker, the remorseless thief created by Donald E. Westlake under the name Richard Stark, will return to IDW Publishing in December with Darwyn Cooke’s adaptation of Slayground. It will be the fifth Parker story the cartoonist has adapted since 2009’s The Hunter.
Slayground pits the character against crooked cops and sleazy gangsters when a heist goes wrong and Parker is trapped in an amusement park closed for the winter, and caught n a deadly game of cat and mouse.
“A boarded up amusement park was an inspired setting for Parker,” Cooke said in a statement, “and Westlake made the most of it. A great story that I’m enjoying the hell out of adapting.”
His previous Parker adaptations have received numerous Eisner Awards, with Richard Stark’s Parker: The Score winning just last night for best adaptation from another medium.
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Joining us today is Evan “Doc” Shaner, who you might know from IDW’s Ghostbusters, Jim Henson’s The Storyteller, the excellent Buddy Cops, Eerie Comics, Green Hornet: Year One Special and Blood Brothers, which arrives from Dark Horse on July 17.
Now let’s get to it …
Darwyn Cooke is coming to Long Beach Comic Con this weekend to premiere Parker: The Martini Edition, a deluxe, slipcased set of his two graphic novels Parker: The Hunter and Parker: The Outfit. Both are based on the novels of Richard Stark (actually Donald Westlake, writing under a pseudonym), and are drawn in a style reminiscent of the period in which they’re set, the early 1960s (when the 5’0s were just fading a bit and the Swinging Sixties had not yet begun), and Cooke won a fistful of Harvey and Eisner awards this year for Parker: The Outfit. He talked to me about The Martini Edition earlier this year at Boston Comic Con: