Noir Comics | Richard Stark’s The Hunter

Noir Comics Richard Starks Parker The Hunter Splash Page

The paneling in this noir comic is inspired.

As far as noir comics are concerned, it’s hard to find much better than The Hunter. Donald E. Westlake aka “Richard Stark” pens like a boss and the adaptation from Darwyn Cooke is flawless. (Not to mention the fact that his art is erection inducing. Why can’t Darwyn and Brubaker get together for some noir comics creation you say? What if I told you they did? More to follow later). iFanboy named this graphic novel 2009’s “Book of the Year,” and I’m here to testify, they weren’t wrong. Once again, lets run The Hunter down the noir definition that we have created thus far:

1) The Seedy Underworld

New York City, 1962 for the majority, with a couple of dips down to Miami Beach for some R&R. A criminal’s gotta spend that grr somewhere right?


Noir Comics Richard Starks Parker The Hunter New York City 1962

perfect setting for a perfect noir comic

2) The Anti- Hero

Parker is one of the most fabulous noir creations in the entire genre. So bad you hate to love him, yet so damn cool you’re seduced regardless. In the noir comic The Hunter, Parker is on the warpath for revenge. A dame and a fiend who screwed him out of his take in his cross hairs. He never wavers and never relents, and come hell or high-water he’ll get his money back.

Noir Comics Richard Starks Parker The Hunter Parker

Parker himself, a mean noir comic S.O.B. and anti-hero

3) The Femme Fatale

Lynn. The dame that should have known better.  The following interaction between the two is priceless:

Lynn: “I’m glad you’re not dead. Isn’t that stupid?”

Parker: “Yes.”

Lynn: “You ought to kill me.”

Parker: “Maybe I will.”

Lynn: “I keep taking pills. Every night. If I don’t take the pills I don’t sleep. I think about you and how you’re dead and how I wish– I wish it was me.”

Parker: “Take too many pills.”

The greatest way to say, “go kill yourself” that I have ever heard.


Noir Comics Richard Starks Parker The Hunter Mal

desperation dive from Mal

4) Misogyny

Noir misogyny was found in healthy doses throughout the novel, particularly in Parker’s “equal opportunity” killing style. Doesn’t matter if you are a man or a woman, if you are in Parker’s way you get killed. In one scene where the theme really shines through he lifts a hooker off the ground by her hair to get some information that he wants.

5) Redemption

Revenge. Parker won’t feel the cleansing breath of redemption until his money is back where it belongs.

Noir Comics Richard Starks Parker The Hunter Cover

the dust cover and title art

6) Loss of Innocence

Lynn was Parker’s wife and she betrayed him. What once was holy became defiled and fed the monster of vengeance inside Parker.

7) Eroticism

There really wasn’t much eroticism in this noir comic, but there were several prostitutes/sex workers who visited Mal (the dirty double-crosser). Mal bought women because they wouldn’t want him for free.

Mal was disgusted. He wasn’t sure why he splurged on the penthouse suite anymore than he was sure why he was throwing away a c-note on a broad who couldn’t possibly do more for him than Pearl would- probably for less.

“Sweet baby Jesus.”

He knew he would never have better.

“Hello, Mal. I’m Linda.”

If he lived a hundred years he’d never have anything again as good as this. Better in the rack maybe, but not better looking, not more desirable or perfect than this.

If you have not read this noir comic, “Take too many pills.”

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