Friday, April 24, 2009

Darwyn Cooke's Stark Realisation

Darwyn Cooke, the ultra-talented creator of such mind-boggling hits as DC: The New Frontier, The Spirit and Catwoman: Selina's Big Score, is undoubtedly one of the most consistently inspiring and thrilling creators on the comics scene today. His gorgeous artwork, clear and inventive storytelling and his flat-out staggering sense of style makes even his every one-shot, guest-appearance and editorial a must-have.

Of course, this will be no surprise to Gosh! regulars, who will have seen our staff's numerous displays and showcases of his work, heard us refuse to shut up about him, and seen the stony-eyed gaze of contentment in our eyes on the days of his new releases. It's been a while since the most recent Cooke book emerged in the form of Jonah Hex #33, and we junkies here in the halls of Gosh! have been getting antsy, particularly back when it was revealed that his next big project was to be a series of adaptations of the quintessentially two-fisted Parker novels. The first four of them, to be precise! Starting from the top, those books are The Hunter (filmed as Point Blank, starring Lee Marvin), The Man With the Getaway Face (aka The Steel Hit), The Outfit and The Mourner.

With the aid of our own incredible Will Kane, we here at Gosh! have been slavering over every minor tidbit of information about this masterwork-to-come, from concept art to test covers to James Sime's teaseworthy images of the original pages, the anticipation has built and built. Only now, close to the book's release (July 14th in the States, fact-fans), do we begin to see our reward. The book's publisher, IDW, has just released a preview of the first chapter of the book on its official website, and it's looking like something very, very special indeed. Cooke conveys grit, clarity, character and atmosphere, and (despite the comic being based on a novel of that wordiest of genres, crime noir) manages to do all this almost completely wordlessly. Comic book storytelling, thy name is Cooke.

As for Parker himself, he's a perennial surname, a ruthless crook with a penchant for self-destruction, not to mention the destruction of those around him. He's the creation of veteran pulp writer Donald E. Westlake, writing under his pseudonym Richard Stark. As mentioned above, the Parker novels have already had their day in the media spotlight, with an excellent film adaptation in 1967 of this very first volume, under the title Point Blank. However, nobody in comics has yet had the stones to try and communicate this hardest-boiled of pulp villains in comics, until now. We, for one, can't wait.

For more Parker goodness check out the official blog. Stay tuned to this blog for more exciting developments just as soon as the artwork reaches our eager mitts...