Arts Desk

Darwyn Cooke to Speak at Smithsonian Saturday

The Hunter graphic novel by Darwyn CookeCartoonist Darwyn Cooke will speak at the American Art Museum this Saturday about his adaptation of The HunterDonald "Richard Stark" Westlake's first book in the "Parker" series.

The series follows an amoral criminal for whom murder is frequently the easiest solution to his problems, and yet both Westlake and Cooke skillfully make his story impossible to put down. The Hunter is an 140-page, two-color adaptation set in 1962 and beautifully rendered in Cooke's retro style. It's one of my favorite books of 2009. Cooke will be signing copies after his talk.

Most of Cooke's comic artwork is as an animator, but in recent years he's moved into comic books. His 2004 series New Frontier is a retelling of the classic DC Comics superheroes' lives and times in the postwar 1950s. The series was an award-winning hit and was adapted into animation and a toy line. Cooke's also worked on Superman, Catwoman, Batman, and The Spirit for DC. Many of these comics have been collected into books and can be found locally at comic stores and bookstores—my guess is the museum will only have his current book for sale.

The rest of the details: Pick up free tickets (two per person) at the museum's G Street lobby, one hour prior.  The event is in the McEvoy Auditorium, lower level, 9th and G streets NW.

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