Dark Tower: The Gunslinger Born

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9780785121442: Dark Tower: The Gunslinger Born

JAKE CHAMBERS RETURNS AS STEPHEN KING'S DARK FANTASY EPIC CONTINUES! Haunted by the specter of a boy he let fall to his death, ROLAND is tortured by despair. But the boy never existed, and Roland's guilt is madness. Or is it? As timelines converge and reality shatters, JAKE CHAMBERS becomes the focus of Roland's quest...and may be the key to the survival of the Ka-tet!

COLLECTING: DARK TOWER: THE DRAWING OF THE THREE - THE SAILOR 1-5

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Review:

"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 bestseller Peter David, this series delves in depth 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! Collects Dark Tower: The Gunslinger Born #1-7.

Questions for The Dark Tower Illustrators, Peter David and Robin Furth

Amazon.com: How closely did you work with Stephen King on this project?

Peter David: Robin worked far more closely with Steve before the fact, as it were, working out the overall story arcs and beats. My association was more after the fact: I wrote the scripting, which then went to King who provided the line edits and tweaks.

Robin Furth: I’ve been working with Steve King (and Roland!) for about seven years now, so the three of us have quite a long history. While working on The Gunslinger Born, I ran my outlines by Steve King and Chuck Verrill (Steve’s editor) at the same time that I ran them by our Marvel editors. After all, The Dark Tower is Steve’s child so it’s only right for him to have first dibs on any changes. I feel it’s really important that Steve has final say about The Long Road Home. Hence, I always try to make sure he sees everything as soon as I can send drafts to him, and that includes the articles I write and which are at the end of each issue.

Steve has been really supportive of this whole project which has been great. I was lucky enough to be with Steve while he looked through some of Jae’s early sketches for The Gunslinger Born and his reaction was a lot like mine—it felt as though somebody had reached into his imagination and had taken his characters and given them a physical existence. I think that’s pretty high praise, don’t you?

Amazon.com: Roland is one of the most iconic characters King has ever created. How hard was it to get him (and the other characters) "right" on the page? Did any iterations get vetoed by King?

Robin Furth: We were really lucky with The Gunslinger Born because we could adapt scenes directly from Wizard and Glass. We could really stick to Steve’s descriptions. (Occasionally we dipped into other Dark Tower novels, but on the whole, Wizard and Glass was our template.) The Long Road Home was a little more complicated since we spun the story from scattered tales that Roland tells about his youth—stories that are found throughout the Dark Tower books. (As you can imagine, I used my Concordance quite a lot while I was working on the outlines!)

To tell the truth, Roland has such a strong personality that he feels almost human. I even dream about the guy, and once or twice I swear I’ve seen his shadow pacing past my writing room door. (No joke.) But even when it comes to writing about someone you know well, every person has their own perspective. As long as Steve King feels like we’ve caught Roland’s youthful self, I’m happy. If longtime Dark Tower fans feel we have, then I’ll be INCREDIBLY happy. So far Steve has been pleased with our approach. Fingers crossed that the fans will feel the same way!

Peter David: King was very supportive of the license we took in terms of both the story compression and narrative stylizations that Robin and I undertook that were required to take a work of such massive scope and transform it into something that works as a graphic series.

Amazon.com: What was the most challenging aspect of this particular project?

Peter David: For me? Stage fright. Steve had stated that, as "a words guy," he was awaiting the scripts with great anticipation. That's pretty daunting, knowing that Stephen King is going to be going over my interpretation of what is arguably is most personal work.

Robin Furth: I suppose the biggest challenge has always been (in Mid-World speak) to stand true. In other words, to remain true to our original mission and to translate the Dark Tower universe from novel form to comic book form. The Dark Tower universe is so big that we have to do a lot of condensing. It’s both scary and exhilarating.

Amazon.com: Robin, I imagine it is challenging to fit a several thousand page series into a graphic novel. As the DT aficionado, was it hard to adapt this series? What parts of the book did you wish you could include but had to cut because it just wouldn’t fit?

Robin Furth: It certainly has been challenging (you should see the state of my fingernails), but it has also been a really great experience. I have learned huge amounts about comics and about storytelling. I have always loved Roland, Alain, Cuthbert, and Susan so it has been wonderful to work with them again. There’s something very moving about working with young Roland—the boy who grew into such a hard and (at times) unforgiving man. You see the wounds that later become calluses, if you know what I mean.

As for the parts of the book I had to cut—there are many! When we first started working on these comics, The Gunslinger Born was supposed to be six issues long. I handed in eight issues! In the end we managed to cut back to seven, which worked well. In retrospect, I guess the greatest challenge has been to know when to stick to the plot of Wizard and Glass and when to borrow from other books (or occasionally even other parts of the Dark Tower universe) in order to fill out Mid-World for those who don’t know the novels, or to make the comics ring true for long-term fans. That takes a lot of careful planning and sometimes it means taking risks, but if it works it’s really worth it.

Amazon.com: Peter, What was it like to work with Robin and King on this project? Have you worked closely with writers before on adaptations of their work?

Peter David: It was both exciting and daunting: exciting being part of something as ambitious and potentially groundbreaking as this endeavor, and daunting in that King is a writing god whom I desperately wanted to please with my interpretations. No, I've never worked with a writer adapting his work before, which is why this was new territory for me: And what a place to start, huh? It's difficult to imagine any subsequent experience with adapting someone's work measuring up to this.

Amazon.com: What is your favorite panel?

Robin Furth: I must say I like them all, so I don’t know if I could choose. However Jae recently sent me the cover for the first issue of The Long Road Home, and I think that would be in my top ten!

Peter David: I'm torn on that. In terms of story narrative, the one where Roland and Susan give in to their passion. In terms of pure iconic power, that two-page spread early on where we first see Roland, as the gunslinger, in pursuit of the man in black. You never have a second chance to make a good first impression, and Jae and Richard just absolutely nailed it.

From Publishers Weekly:

SignatureReviewed by Paul Pope This comics adaptation (including prequel) of King's Dark Tower: The Gunslinger Born follows the early days of the Gunslinger, Roland Deschain. For the first hundred pages or so, you think you're in the old American West, until we come across a landscape littered with rusted oil rigs and vintage WW2 Panzer tanks. This sort of future-past otherworldliness typifies Roland's experience as he begins his quest as a teenage cross between Malory's Lancelot and Sergio Leone's Man with No Name. He and his young friends, high-born sons of the landowning political cadre called the Affiliation, are student-apprentices in a sect of knights bearing an arcane code of ethics, who must undergo strict training in order to bear the title Gunslinger. Early on, Roland earns the title Gunslinger by overcoming his teacher in a masterful fight sequence. Eventually, Roland and a group of fellow Gunslingers are sent to spy on the evil John Farson. Pretty soon, things get medieval. Maidens in distress appear, as do sadistic bad guys, witches and a weird monster called the Thinny. The Gunslinger's world is a weird hodge-podge of 1066 Hastings, 1865 Appomattoxand 1941 Warsaw—and in places the mélange is quite exciting. Still, a lot of The Gunslinger Born's plot is unclear and the prose purplish. Characters walk on and walk off, communicating in monotonous speeches wedged between scenes of murder and torture. The requisite love affair between Roland and young Susan Delgado is a bit passionless, and there's very little mirth; emotional ranges stretch from grimacing endurance to abject misery. Writer/adapter Peter David turns some nice phrases in a sort of sub-Faulknerian style, but the wordiness slows the action. At times, artist Jae Lee and colorist Richard Isanove are left with little to do other than create static pinup pages to accompany the prose. Nevertheless, there is a palpable charisma embedded in The Gunslinger Born—you can tell everyone involved is having a blast. Lee's drawings are smoothly rendered and realistic, yet sensually illustrative, and his art has never seemed so warm. And there's a touch of legendary underground comics artists Richard Corbin and Frank Frazetta in Isanove's palettes. The GunslingerBorn is the perfect starting point for those who think comics contain nothing but men in spandex costumes and masks. If it hooks new readers, that's good enough for me.Paul Pope is the artist/writer of the Eisner Award–winning graphic novel Batman Year 100 (DC Comics) and PulpHope: The Art of Paul Pope, recently published by AdHouse Books.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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