Cartoonist Darwyn Cooke adapted four of Richard Stark’s violent PARKER books (THE HUNTER, THE OUTFIT, THE SCORE and SLAYGROUND, all published by IDW) into graphic novels before Cooke’s untimely death in 2016. Sad that we’d never get any more of the adaptations, I started reading the original novels, which I’ve been enjoying. I’ve sculpted Cooke’s version of Parker before, but only as he appeared in the first book THE HUNTER, after which Parker had extensive plastic surgery because he’d run afoul of he underworld. Cooke’s second version of Parker is less conventionally handsome, more chiseled, and just meaner looking, and I wanted to sculpt that version, too.
This 1/6th scale minibust is about 3” high, sculpted in Sculpey Firm over an aluminum wire and foil armature, and accented with black cel vinyl.
Cooke PARKER fans: can you tell which specific panel from which Cooke adaptation this was based on?
Created by Richard Stark (the pseudonym of writer Donald E. Westlake), the violent and remorseless criminal Parker was the subject of twenty-four Stark novels from 1962-2008. The first PARKER book, The Hunter, was one of four adapted into graphic novels by the late artist Darwyn Cooke. Although Westlake, who died in 2008, never saw the finished graphic novel, he worked with Cooke and even approved the use of the Parker name, something he’d refused the several film adaptations of Parker novels.
This sculpture is based on Cooke’s design for Parker, one authorized by Westlake, as he appeared in THE HUNTER (in subsequent stories, Parker underwent extensive plastic surgery so he wouldn’t be recognized by the criminal underworld; Cooke redesigned Parker’s face accordingly). It was sculpted in Super Sculpey over an aluminum foil and wire armature and stands about 7 3/4″ tall. It’s painted in a high-key color scheme where I tried to match the style of the colored inkwash technique Cooke utilized in his graphic novel adaptation.
This Summer I taught a sculpture class, during which I did a rough one-off sculpture (as opposed to something I cast and duplicate) of Darwyn Cooke’s version of Richard Stark’s character Parker. My talented and prolific (seriously Erica, you’re making everyone else look bad) friend Erica Henderson is going to paint it. Here are the “before” pics: