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BF Awards 2009 - Best Original Graphic Novel: The Hunter

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“Sex on paper,” that was John Martin’s (a friend of mine) description of our winner for Original Graphic Novel. 

The Hunter might seem like a dark horse for the prize, considering the critical drooling over Asterios Polyp or the New York Times Bestseller status of Logicomix.  Problem is Mazzuchelli’s book might have been too clever for the average reader and while the Barnes & Noble set may have rushed out to buy the graphic biography of Bertrand Russell, most comic fans have never even heard of the book. 

Cooke’s book had everything going for it.  It was written and drawn by a fan favorite creator who also happens to be a critical darling.  The Hunter was based on a novel that spawned 23 sequels by a writer who is cited as a heavy influence on Elmore Leonard.  That same novel also inspired two movies, Point Blank (starring Lee Marvin) and Payback (starring Mel Gibson).  Finally, it was the first time Donald Westlake (the pen behind the name Richard Stark) allowed anyone to use Parker’s name in an adaptation.  One wonders what the legendary writer would have said about it if he had lived long enough to see its completion.

When you add all that to one of the best pantomime sequences of all time, a hard-boiled crime story in this new noir renaissance with a literal femme fatale, and Cooke’s crisp, almost faultless storytelling, you get the best graphic novel of the year.

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