Inside the new hardcover edition of The Hunter



As you may not be aware because I did not give it nearly the coverage I should have, Darwyn Cooke and IDW Publishing have launched a companion line to their highly successful line of comic book adaptations of the Parker novels. They will be reprinting the original Richard Stark novels, each with ten full-color plates by Darwyn himself.

“That’s great!”, you say, “But I’ve already got a couple of copies of The Hunter. Do I need to buy this, too?”

Everyone’s circumstances are different, of course, but let’s have a look-see and maybe I can help you decide.

The appropriately stark red dust jacket declares this to be the “first hardcover edition of the classic novel.” That’s not technically true, but it’s close enough. There was a Gregg Press hardcover, but that was pretty much sold only to libraries so it isn’t like you could go to a bookstore and buy it, and there was a UK Alison & Busby hardcover as Point Blank, but that didn’t do you much good if you lived in the USA. So it is the first hardcover available to the general public in the United States.

Excitingly, the spine says “Volume 1.” I know IDW has said they are going to do the set, but that drives it home.

The back features an illustration, based on a photo I have not seen before, of a young Donald Westlake.


The endpapers will be familiar to anyone who has purchased the graphic novel adaptations, tying these editions to those.

The pages are printed on high-quality, acid-free, blindingly white paper. This book is built to last.

There is a short and touching introduction from Darwyn Cooke, providing a little background while keeping it quick for readers who are likely eager to get to the good stuff.

And now, the moment we’ve all been waiting for–we get to our plates!

You can see the first one atop this post, titled “Go to hell,” and illustrating a scene that needs no introduction for most of the folks reading this. If you’ve read Darwyn’s comic book adaptations (and if you haven’t, what’s wrong with you?), you’ll immediately note that he’s opted for a more realistic style than he did in the comic books. This is an important and excellent decision. Illustrations in the same style as the comic books may have made it seem like he was simply recycling art. This lets you know that you’re buying a whole new creation.

In selecting what to illustrate, Cooke picked a nice combination of brooding noir scenes and explosive action. Parker sits on the bed with a cigarette next to the corpse of an overdosed Lynn. Parker runs and fires his weapon during the heist that sets the events of the novel into motion. Mal Resnick waits alone, in fear. Parker tells Bronson, “I’ll be seeing you.”

As I’m sure you can guess by now, the plates are on beautiful, high-gloss paper, continuing IDW’s admirable commitment to quality for the Parker line.

I think this edition of The Hunter is a steal at the $20 or so you’ll pay at an online retailer, and even at the $30 MSRP if those discounts go away. For the price of the latest New York Times hardcover bestseller, you get a handsome edition of this classic, wonderfully illustrated, made from top-notch material in every regard. It looks great on my bookshelf, and it will look great on yours.

(If you have any questions about the book, drop a line in the comments and I’ll happily answer.)

PS: On Twitter, Alexander P. points out a Point Blank homage in one of the plates.