Dark Tower an Adaptation?

Maybe I’m missing something. When Marvel first started sounding the clarion about their Stephen King project, it was plugged as original work:

Dark Tower promo art


New Comic Series Exploring the Origin of the Notorious Gunslinger Character Marks First Time Stephen King Has Produced Original Content for the Comic Book Format

Now, Peter David’s been interviewed (link no longer available) about the project. He’s the credited writer, with King serving only in some kind of adviser/approval role. That makes me question the “Stephen King Has Produced” bit above. And then there’s this bit from the article:

David relishes writing the gritty anti-heroic characters who appear in Dark Tower, but since adapting the novels to comic books required various reimaginings of characters created by one of his own favorite authors, David paid special attention to King’s original intentions and factored those observations in with his own creative direction.

So it’s only an adaptation of the existing novels? What’s original about that? Is this all a huge bait-and-switch? And will it appeal to the King fans who were being counted on to drive huge sales as new comic readers swarmed the shops?

Update: Don MacPherson examines the changes between the press releases and the promised product in much more detail.

21 Responses to “Dark Tower an Adaptation?”

  1. David Oakes Says:

    The idea that King was writing a comic is/was bait and switch. But I think most of us knew it at the time.

    That the content isn’t new, I am still willing to give the benefit of the doubt, to PAD if not Marvel. “[A]dapting the novels” isn’t a direct quote, and “own creative direction” could still be original stories.

    Of course, if it is still Jae Lee on art (was it ever?), I won’t be getting it, PAD, not-King, or not.

  2. Captain Spaulding Says:

    That the content isn’t new, I am still willing to give the benefit of the doubt, to PAD if not Marvel. “[A]dapting the novels” isn’t a direct quote

    A quote from PAD in the article:
    “There’s a creature called a thinny in the book that’s currently being adapted”

    Judging from the article, it’s an adaptation and it’s bait and switch too.

  3. Johanna Says:

    Jae Lee’s still doing the art, David.

  4. JD Says:

    Definitely an adaptation :

  5. Augie De Blieck Jr. Says:

    Sounds to me more that the comic overlaps the books to some degree — there’s likely a scene or two from the novels adapted to the comic to establish the time frame. The whole thing isn’t an adaptation, just reused characters and scene(s).

  6. Don MacPherson Says:

    In a new editorial, I examine Marvel’s original PR for the project to determine if this indeed a bait-and-switch situation… as well as point people to King’s past dalliances in comics.


  7. Jog Says:

    Jae Lee says the entire first miniseries is an adaptation of one of the books, and that new stuff will appear later…

    The first miniseries is an adaptation of Wizard and Glass — book four of the series. But, that’s more of a way to reintroduce the world to the readers that are familiar with the book and to introduce the characters to people that have never read the series… As much as we would’ve liked to have started with a brand new story, I don’t think we could’ve done that. There are just so many emotional things that happen in that story that need to be told to get the series going. After the first miniseries, that’s where all the new material comes in.


  8. Paul O'Brien Says:

    According to Steven King himself at Newsarama – http://forum.newsarama.com/showthread.php?t=94759

    “The first few issues… are almost entirely drawn from the books.”

    I’d be very interested to know what’s going on here, since Marvel unambiguously promoted the book as featuring original material, and shipping a straight adaptation as the opening arc seems to me like a clear case of bait-and-switch. However, to be fair, the solicitation for DARK TOWER #1 does describe the content accurately (“adapted by long-time Stephen King expert Robin Furth”), although it – perhaps deliberately – blurs and confuses matters by throwing in the line “long-time fans will thrill to adventures merely hinted at in the novels” without making clear that, apparently, this doesn’t apply to the seven-issue miniseries they’re actually soliciting.

  9. Lisa Lopacinski Says:

    I’m confused – and as a store owner I’m not supposed to be. I do know that PAD, not King, is writing it and that King really has little to do with it now. But, is this a adaptation of the original novel, like the Anita Blake comic is? Or, is it what I was told this summer, a not-before told story of the origin of Rolland the Gunslinger? Is it the origin of the Gunslinger taken from the bits and pieces revealed in the novels, so it’s adapted? I just don’t even know!!

  10. Johanna Says:

    And that’s really the problem, that they’re asking us (especially you retailers) to commit to buying something that doesn’t appear to be what was advertised.

  11. Don MacPherson Says:

    The vague quality of the marketing message would lead me to believe that it’s mainly an adaptation (as Jae Lee and Stephen King have acknowledged), but Marvel understandably wants people to believe it’s something more.

  12. Barry Says:

    To me this project sounds no different than the adaptations of the Superman Returns or X-Men movies, just that this is an adaptation of a prose, rather than film property. In other words, no big deal.

  13. Lisa Lopacinski Says:

    According to D. Gabriel the story is ALL NEW. I’ll go with that and if it’s not right then we as retailers will have to figure out how to deal with Marvel.

  14. John Says:

    Marvel announced that it was Peter David writing it back in April. Or at least PAD announced that Marvel had made it public, and he’d known for a ‘long time’.

  15. John Says:

    sorry, ‘quite some time’.

  16. Johanna Says:

    Lisa, I know I’m not a retailer, and so it doesn’t matter so much to me, but until I saw that in print in official solicitation materials, I wouldn’t rely on it myself, because it seems to contradict everything else coming out.

  17. R. Isanove Says:

    It seems you are angered by the vagueness of the language of the press announcements. So, to calm down the conspiracy theorists, here’s the straight dope:

    1-Stephen King signed on to write the project but wasn’t sure as to wether he would be able to script it himself. We all hoped he would. As soon as SK confirmed he wouldn’t be able to do it, the project was offered to Peter A. David who was overwhelmingly welcomed, even by the SK hardcore fan community.

    2-The first 7 issues story arc will recount the events of Roland’s past that were revealed throughout the
    book series, mostly in “The Gunslinger” and “Wizards and Glass”, putting them in chronological order and filling in the gaps. The events in question are not told from Roland’s point of view (as they were in the books) and will therefore offer a different perspective as well as new plot points. The next 24 issues will be strictly new material.

    3-Stephen King IS writing it. He produces a Stan lee-like short story, which is tightened up, fine tuned, put meat on and structured into comic format by Robin Furth. Jae (and I) do the Art which is then sent to PAD who scripts it. SK gives his approval or corrections at every single step of the process.

    4-A couple of weeks after the first announcement , Stephen King himself decided to postpone the release for almost a year. He wanted to be able to supervise the project but was busy writing a play as well as promoting his latest book. How it ends up being blamed on “a publisher with an unfortunate reputation for lateness when it comes to high-profile projects” is a little mystifying (but not really).

    5-Most of those contentious points were actually addressed in an extensive interview given by Joe Quesada on the very day of the first announcement in which he explained in detail the creative process I summarized in 3.

    Hope that helped,
    -Richard Isanove

  18. Comics Worth Reading Says:

    […] A big thank you to Richard Isanove, who stopped by my post on Marvel’s Stephen King project to clarify whether it’s new material by giving a history of the effort. What I find most surprising: they’ve got 31 issues planned already! […]

  19. R. Isanove Says:

    King has laid out the stories for Five 6 issues story arcs.We had to add up a 7th issue to the first arc so who knows how many we’ll ultmately end up with.
    The idea, as I understand it, is to cover the period of Roland’s life from the day he became a man to the Battle of Jericho Hill.


  20. Comics Worth Reading » More Dark Tower News Says:

    […] More announcements related to the Dark Tower comic: Marvel is attempting to drum up attention by allowing a midnight release. […]

  21. Antione Says:

    So this is the book I’ve been hearing about? Steven King huh. So I see why they are going to Market this differently. Steven King not just comic book fans will be enticed by this one. I have a feeling this book is going to be a rare and hot book. That also means even if it’s not real good.




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