Monday, October 11, 2010

The Outfit

Darwyn Cooke's follow-up to his adaptation of Richard Stark's The Hunter, hit shelves this month. The book glosses over much of what happens in The Man With the Getaway Face, the second Parker novel, in favor of the more exciting third novel. While this choice makes artistic and economic sense, it does, however, leave the book feeling a bit stuffed.

The Outfit was a book which had a lot going on, and the book described many different robberies by many different thieves. Cooke cheats a bit when it gets to this bit of the story, which feels like a bit of a gyp, since the description of clever heists is part of the appeal of the Parker stories. At one point, Cooke merely excerpts an account of a crime directly from the novel, disguising it as a newspaper article. This little trick doesn't work because Stark's prose doesn't feel like a newspaper article, and because this is a graphic novel. I've already read the novel. I own it. I can read it any time I want. The entire purpose of a graphic novel is to see as well as read. The other crimes, however, are presented in unique visual styles of their own, separating them from the rest of the book, which is a good trick, even if the entire section feels a bit perfunctory. Fortunately, the book is just as gorgeous as the first one, and is, overall, faithful to Stark's famous character. The three color artwork, and Cooke's obvious attention to period detail make the book a pleasure to read. I just finished it, and I think I'm going to go back and read it again, just to pick up any details I may have missed.

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