Missing 100 Bullets? Need more Criminal? Then read on: The Man With The Getaway Face (IDW) is described as the prelude to The Outfit but really its origins are a little more complex. Essentially Darwyn Cooke had decided to adapt only his favourite of Richard Stark's Parker novels the first of which, The Hunter, came out last year to a rapturous applause and made the New York Times bestsellers list. The next one up for the treatment is The Outfit but there's an important piece of information in the previous novel (The Man With...) that's necessary for the story. So Cooke 'knocked out' a super-abbreviated version of the story with the relevant information intact. It will be included in The Outfit as a prelude, but given that its not out for about three months and that it's been almost a year since Parker, it was decided to release it separately and for a knocked down price of $2 to satisfy the impatient and the curious (I'm in the former camp). And it really is worth the punt: it's an 8''x12'' over sized edition with 24 pages and it's a complete story so you really feel you're getting value for money on the product despite the fact that because of the quality of the content, including more fantastic wordless sequences, there's a very good chance you'll be buying The Outfit.
Ironically enough if you're a fan of the source - ie Richard Stark's style of crime writing - then there are in fact two titles on offer this week. Richard Stark is Donald Westlake and under this real name he wrote a series of novels about a luckless thief named John Dortmunder. And would you believe it, out the very same day was an adaptation of one of these books: The Hot Rock (Self Made Hero). Less violent, less hard boiled, Dortmunder is less of an uncompromising character. It's more about the complex heists and delicate professional relationships all conveyed with a lighter tone. The painted artwork by Lax is more detailed than Darwyn Cookes but equally impressive with a more European style of delicate lines and exaggerated body language.Artistically its interesting to see two creators displaying excellent examples of contrasting styles adapting the same writing style especially as both projects have received the thumbs up by fans of Westlake. The Hot Rock is £13 and The Man With The Getaway face is £1.40.