Dark Tower an Adaptation?

Dark Tower promo art

Maybe I’m missing something. When Marvel first started sounding the clarion about their Stephen King project, it was plugged as original work (link no longer available):


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

Dark Tower promo art

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.


  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • R. Isanove

    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

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