The Archive

The Parker Series

The Parker Series:  The biggest bastard you’ll never admit wanting to be.

“When a fresh-faced guy in a Chevy offered him a lift, Parker told him to go to hell. The guy said, “Screw you, buddy,” yanked his Chevy back into the stream of traffic, and roared on down to the tollbooths. Parker spat in the right-hand lane, lit his last cigarette, and walked across the George Washington Bridge.”

Parker is pissed and has every right to be. Betrayed by his partner and wife, left for dead, and out of his take from a recent score, he sets out to New York for revenge and to get what’s owed. To those that left him for dead, they have a serious problem. Parker is the son of a bitch that just won’t quit. Lying. Stealing. Threatening. Killing. If you stand between his Point A to B, you will be in a very bad place very quickly. The looming anger he carries is big enough to make New York seem a small, timid place when he’s on the warpath. It’s a dangerous world that he lives in, with the darker, seedier criminal elements standing in way. But even with his back to the wall in his moves to get his money, it doesn’t seem fair to everyone else.

Parker is a lot like an evil Santa Clause where he sneaks through the window and kills you. Well.  Ok.  He's nothing like Santa Clause.

There have been several attempts at adapting the Parker stories and there was something that was always off. Mel Gibson’s Payback was entertaining, but couldn’t get away from giving him a soft spot with getting the girl in the end. Lee Marvin’s Point Blank was great, but a little too artsy for those that wanted true hard boiled grit. Jason Stratham’s Parker was laughable. What is the most faithful adaption to the Richard Stark novels (even getting his personal blessing) comes in comic form from Darwyn Cooke. His contrasts between black and white give the series that gritty crime noir that a Parker story desperately needs. It almost feels like Bruce Timm of Batman: The Animated Series fame, spent an angry night with a bottle of whiskey and got to work. It’s dark, brooding, and fucking great.

In the world of crime fiction, Parker is the mold. You can see his influence in comics like the great series Criminal and 100 Bullets. For those looking for an adaption done right, wanting a tough as nails story, or the idea of a character as ruthless as Parker twitching your ears, the Parker series is nothing short of essential. You can pick it up in hardcover format and currently on it's fourth volume.