by Gabriel Neeb
On Sunday at Comic Con panel dedicated to Darwyn Cooke’s Parker series of graphic novels, Darwyn Cooke and editor Scott Dunbier announced that a fourth Parker adaptation would be published in late 2013 and that it would be based on Donald Westlake’s Parker novel, The Mourner.
With this the audience burst into applause with knowledge that the latest ParkerGN, The Score – just published that Wednesday, would not be the end of Darwyn Cooke’s award winning series. Dunbier and Cooke, however, knew that just one announcement would make the panel exciting, but not insanely exciting.
So they announced that Cooke had recently agreed to do a fifth Parker GN after the conclusion of several other ongoing projects. This pleased the audience more, and Dunbier also expressed his hope that Cooke would someday do a sixth. Nothing for this has been planned and it was merely a desire on Dunbier’s part.
With that, Cooke and Dunbier opened the floor to questions from the audience. Audience members were quick to ask about Cooke’s attitudes towards the 1960s and the past in general, and about the AMC show Mad Men.
Cooke revealed he has a deep affection for the past, especially the 1960s, but he keeps himself tempered and away from idealistic nostalgia that infects too many stories set in that time. He is also well aware that the people that lived through it maintain a subdued attitude to the things those that didn’t might delight in. Cooke recounted a story where he purchased a 1960s era suit from a thrift shop in the early 1980s and completely surprised his father who… wasn’t all that impressed. Cooke was also positive that Mad Men would fail, probably due to the unsympathetic approach the show took to the time period and the fact that it was set in the non-stereotypical (no hippies) 1960s.
Perhaps the most controversial comment Cooke made was that he considers Parker’s creator Donald Westlake to be a better writer than hallowed author Raymond Chandler of the Philip Marlowe novels. Cooke is probably unaware (or maybe he is!) that he’ll have to answer for this belief whenever he is invited to speak at colleges and crime story gatherings in the future.
Finally, when asked about the possibility of an Artist’s Edition for the Parkernovels, Cooke felt that “they’re something I always felt when you were dead or at the end of your career.” A slightly different question posed to Scott Dunbier about whether or not the Parker GNs would be published in softcover editions was answered with “Yes.” Dunbier did not say when this would occur.