Review: Darwyn Cooke’s Parker–The Martini Edition

People are cynical about repackagings, and they should be. How many cuts of Blade Runner are there now? I think there’s a box set to collect them all. And I will fully acknowledge that when I first heard about this project, the song that popped into my head was “Paint a Vulgar Picture” by The Smiths:

Reissue, repackage, repackage,
Re-evaluate the songs,
Double-pack with a photograph,
Extra track and a tacky badge.

That thought was fleeting, but it was also unfair. Because I should trust Darwyn Cooke. He’s earned it. I can’t find the interview with the exact quote at the moment, but he said that if they were going to charge a trailer-load of cash for a repackaging, he was going to make it worthwhile.

Well, he did. If there’s one problem with Parker–The Martini Edition, it’s that it’s so gorgeous you may be afraid to touch it.

But you need to. Books are for reading, after all.

So what do you get for your hard-earned dinero?

You get that sweet slipcase pictured above.

You get The Hunter and The Outfit, looking big and beautiful at 9″ x 13″.

You get a short adaptation of the conclusion of The Seventh. It stands on its own pretty well, but it made me hope that it’s someday expanded to a full-length book.

You get Tom Spurgeon’s excellent interview with Darwyn and special guest Ed Brubaker from The Comics Reporter. Yeah, it’s available online, but it’s nice to have a dead tree version.

You get a small portfolio, inspired by The Hunter, entitled “The Man Called Parker.” This stuff is just great.

You get a portfolio of drawings inspired by the films based on Parker, with a few well-chosen asides. This is also great. I was pleased to see The Limey getting some well-deserved recognition. And the drawing of Peter Coyote is the only good thing to come out of the godawful mess that was the Slayground film.

And there are other goodies sprinkled along the way. All told, it’s 65 pages of new material according to the press release. This is the ultimate fan letter to Donald Westlake. I wish he could see it.

So should you buy it? If you don’t have The Hunter and The Outfit yet, the answer is unequivocally “Yes!”

If you have those already? I know times are tight, but I don’t think you’ll regret the purchase for a minute once you get your greedy little hands on it, and you can always take the opportunity (as another site suggested) to give those editions to someone you love for Christmas and create another fan.

In summary: Not this…

…but this.