Comic Fodder

King "Slings" at Marvel

So Stephen King is going to be making a comic book at Marvel.

That was how it began.

There was much discussion about what kind of comic King would be making, would he be taking over on a Marvel title? Would he be making a creator-owned book in the Icon line? Would he be adapting his stories into comic form? These were just some of the ideas tossed around at the time of the initial announcement. They all sound exciting and new and very very cool.

So what did we end up with?

DARK TOWER: THE GUNSLINGER BORN #1 (of 7) Written by PETER DAVID & ROBIN FURTH Art and Cover by JAE LEE & RICHARD ISANOVE Sketch Variant Cover by JAE LEE Variant Cover by JOE QUESADA “The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.” With those words, millions of readers were introduced to Stephen King’s Roland—an implacable gunslinger in search of the enigmatic Dark Tower, powering his way through a dangerous land filled with ancient technology and deadly magic. Now, in a comic book personally overseen by King himself, Roland’s past is revealed! Sumptuously drawn by Jae Lee and Richard Isanove, adapted by long-time Stephen King expert Robin Furth (author of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower: A Concordance) and scripted by New York Times Best-seller Peter David, this series delves deep into Roland’s origins—the perfect introduction to this incredibly realized world, while long-time fans will thrill to adventures merely hinted at in the novels. Be there for the very beginning of a modern classic of fantasy literature! 48 PGS./CARDSTOCK COVER/Parental Advisory …$3.99 ©2007 Stephen King. All rights reserved.

Hmmmm. Okay, a Dark Tower comic could be kind of cool. Jae Lee is certainly a kick-ass pick for artist. I like the idea of delving into Rowland's past....but wait....what's this?


Peter David? Robin Who? What the hell is going on? I thought Stephen King was writing a Marvel book! I've got to say, this is a MAJOR DISAPPOINTMENT. Maybe it wouldn't be so bad if King and Oeter David had writing credit but...Robin Furth? What a major fucking let down.

A recent LA Times article sheds some light on just how these writing duties were shared and just how much imput King had in the making of his Marvel debut:

But how much of the new nightmare was dreamed up by King himself? Comics writer Peter David is credited as scripter, and Robin Furth, King's research assistant, is also credited. King's name may be the biggest on the cover, but he acknowledges that the work inside is clearly collaborative.

"They — Marvel, and especially Robin Furth, who worked with me on the later ["Tower"] books, keeping the proliferating details straight — broke out a simple story line that might be called 'Teenage Gunslingers and How They Grew,' " King said. "The basis was 'Wizard and Glass,' the 'Dark Tower' Book 4, the only novel in the series that comes close to being a stand-alone. I modified their outline, and have had a chance to tinker with the dialogue and narration of each issue before it gets graven in stone. I don't tell anyone what or how to draw, though. I know my limitations."

Thumbs down Marvel. Thumbs down Stephen King. If I want to read Peter David's version of Stephen King I would have specifically requested it. What I remember asking for was Stephen King to write a comic. I didn't get that. I get a watered down King idea told through the words of a guy I'm not crazy for and a person I've never heard of in my life. Dark Tower was never my favorite of King's books so the title alone isn't enough to draw me in, which is sad because I was almost as excited about King's first comic as I am about the new season of Buffy.

What do YOU think?

Lame. Lame. Lame. Lame. Did I mention Lame?

While I'm all for King giving his "assistant" the credit deserved, the comic was definitely pitched as something else.

Stupid marketing strikes again.

-- Posted by: Shannon at February 2, 2007 9:34 AM

Disappointing, true, but I'll still be buying it. The art alone looks amazing.

-- Posted by: Perrin at February 2, 2007 9:41 AM

I picked the morning edition of the LA Times but hadn't had a chance to read the article I saw yet.

Hmm. I know a lot of people adore Peter David for his Star Trek novels (specifically a series that contains the stories of a bunch of original trek characters)...but I never "got" what was so great about his writing, other than he was able to get a contract writing original characters in the Trek universe.

Is King supplying the outline? Does he have any input at all?

Robin Furth...every writer should have an assistant who marks down character details; but that doesn't make them a *collaborator*. And if the final three books about The Dark Tower were the result of King "collaborating" with this Robin Furth person, well... let's say the results were disappointing at the least.

It's too bad this graphic novel couldn't have been a collaboration with Peter Straub.

-- Posted by: Gategrrl at February 2, 2007 11:40 AM

I'm not even really sure why they selected Peter David. Any ideas?

-- Posted by: ryan at February 2, 2007 12:39 PM

King apparently is overseeing the project, tweaking what David is writing based on the "Wizard and Glass" book. He gets the script and then makes notes where he thinks the book should go. In an article in the ComicShopNews David says that King purposely left the characters open to interpretation.

-- Posted by: Foolkiller at February 7, 2007 10:07 AM