"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: Ive 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 (Steves editor) at the same time that I ran them by our Marvel editors. After all, The Dark Tower is Steves child so its only right for him to have first dibs on any changes. I feel its 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 Jaes early sketches for The Gunslinger Born and his reaction was a lot like mineit felt as though somebody had reached into his imagination and had taken his characters and given them a physical existence. I think thats pretty high praise, dont 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 Steves 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 youthstories 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 Ive 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 weve caught Rolands youthful self, Im happy. If longtime Dark Tower fans feel we have, then Ill 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. Its 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 wouldnt 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. Theres something very moving about working with young Rolandthe 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 cutthere 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 dont 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 its 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 dont 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
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