COMIC BOOK CONFIDENTIAL: Recommended reading from the staff at High Octane Comics

THIS WEEK'S PICK: PARKER THE HUNTER

Canadian-born Darwyn Cooke's adaptation of the Richard Stark (a pseudonym of author Donald Westlake) novel Parker: The Hunter has easily been one of my best reads to date.

Parker was the star of no less than 24 novels, and The Hunter was adapted into two movies, Point Blank starring Lee Marvin in 1967 and Payback starring Mel Gibson in 1999 .

The premise: It's early 1960s and professional heist-man Parker had pulled off an amazing job when one of his partners and his own wife betrayed him. Parker is shot and left for dead. Parker survives, ends up in prison and has plenty of time to plot his revenge. Simple plan: track them down, collect his money and kill his betrayers with his bare hands. Parker is not a nice man and you'll find it tough at times to like the protagonist of this story.

Cooke's art for Parker: The Hunter is drop-dead gorgeous. The book has a traditional 1960's animation-style, with streaks of blue to give it an old-fashioned look. The book is even printed on '60s-style parchment. It's so impressive how Cooke can just use black and blue as his colours and create so much depth to each of the pages. This hardcover is a modern comic masterpiece with the look, the feel and the amazing story told in words and art.

Available in both hard and softcover, this is crime noir at its very best, and is the first book in a series of three. Look next for The Outfit and The Score. Highly recommended.

- Ryan Lopes

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Comic Book Confidential is written by staff at High Octane Comics & Collectibles at 250 Third Ave. Contact the store at 250-377 or online at www.highoctanecomics.com.

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