Other than Jack Kirby, no comics creator has meant more to me than Darwyn Cooke (1962-2016). After having been out of comics for years, I discovered Cooke’s graphic novel adaptation of Richard Stark’s (aka Donald Westlake) novel The Hunter (1962) in 2009, the same year it was published (by IDW). For years I’ve loved hardboiled novels, film noir, and anything related to those works, so when I discovered Cooke’s adaptation, I felt I had stumbled upon a wonderland of crime fiction that was simply too good to be true. The Hunter is the first book in the Parker series, which ran for 24 novels, so I was looking forward to many more Parker graphic novels for many years. I was also looking forward to meeting Cooke at a convention, hoping to tell him how much his work means to me.
As we all know now, that will never happen, not in this lifetime. Cooke passed away on May 13, the victim of an aggressive form of cancer at the age of 53 (just a few months younger than I am).
Although it’s been mostly movies around here lately, I have been reading some pretty interesting graphic novels:
Part I of August’s Graphic Novel Reads was a bit slim, but hopefully Part II will make up for it. I hope you find something of interest. If you do, please let me know.
Rip Kirby Volume 1: 1946-1948 (2009) – Alex Raymond
My love for newspaper comic strips began just a few years ago when -thanks to Chris Marshall over at the Collected Comics Library – I discovered Milton Caniff’s Terry and the Pirates and was hooked. It didn’t take long before I found that everything published by IDW’s Library of American Comics imprint was worth reading and probably essential to own. Yet I had some reservations about Rip Kirby…
It may appear that July is going to be a thin month in the graphic novel department, but I’m currently in the middle of a project that involves re-reading and studying an entire completed series which – while very enjoyable – is taking up a good bit of my reading time. More on that next time. For now, here’s what I’ve read during the first half of July:
Corto Maltese: Under the Sign of Capricorn (1970/2014) Hugo Pratt (IDW EuroComics)
Trade paperback, 138 pages
Italian comics legend Hugo Pratt preferred the term “drawn literature” over “comics” and it doesn’t take reading many pages of Corto Maltese: Under the Sign of Capricorn to understand why. It’s not that Pratt’s work is pretentious or stuffy compared to other comics, it’s that he’s choosing to tell his stories in a different way from most other creators of his time – and ours.
When IDW decided in 2007 to launch its Library of American Comics imprint featuring collected editions of classic newspaper strips, its first choice of material was obvious. Terry and the Pirates, under the pen of Milton Caniff, ran in newspapers from 1934 through 1946 and was read by 31 million newspaper subscribers. Howard Chaykin considers Terry and the Pirates “the greatest adventure comic strip ever done.” He’s not alone in his estimation.