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AICN Comics: Quint becomes an @sshole and reviews Stephen King and Marvel's DARK TOWER: THE GUNSLINGER BORN #1 (of 7)!!!

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here. I'm currently sitting in my pretty crappy hotel in LA, coming off of seeing about 50 movies in 3 weeks at the Sundance and Santa Barbara Film Festivals. During this time, I was given an early look at Marvel's upcoming foray into Stephen King's DARK TOWER universe, called THE DARK TOWER: THE GUNSLINGER BORN. I was an avid Marvel reader as a kid, but I gave up comics in the mid-90s, right around the time when the ridiculous Ben Reilly/Spider-Man Clone Saga flooded the market with a dozen alternate covers and a convoluted and boring story. In recent years I've slowly come back to the art form and I have Robert Kirkman to thank for that. His WALKING DEAD series had me going back to the comic book store and I was doing that just as a glut of interesting things began happening in the comic book world. Brian Posehn did a crazy funny book called THE LAST CHRISTMAS for Image Comics, Walking Dead has been amazingly strong and Marvel has been kicking ass with their Civil War storyline. It's as big as the aforementioned shitty Clone Saga thing, but it seems more real, which means you can take it more seriously. Spider-Man unmasking himself is real and has had real implications, not just another fake-out. Unless The Watcher pops up at the end and nullifies everything or some shit. Although, I've been out of the loop for the last 3 weeks, so maybe I'm totally talking out of my ass here. I picked up the most recent Civil War issue in Santa Barbara, but I haven't read it yet. And now Marvel has THE DARK TOWER.

I reviewed the last 2 books early for the site and have been a fan of King's Dark Tower world since my pre-teen years when I first discovered the large paperbacks for the first three books in the school library. I quickly found myself wrapped up in Roland Deschain's world, a futuristic yet old world full of horrors, creatures and magic. Equal parts science fiction, horror, western, fantasy and mystery, King made a true original out of a dozen cliches. Think Sergio Leone meets Tolkien with King's own trademarked character work and fucked up sensibilities. If you're not a Dark Tower junkie, have no fears with this one. They've taylor made the first of the 7 issues to be an introduction to this world. The book does begin with the titular gunslinger, Roland, pursuing the Man In Black, just as in King's first book and focuses on Roland's childhood coming of age. He has a big, tough bastard of a trainer whom he has to challenge and defeat in battle to earn the right to wield guns. If Roland fails in his challenge, he is exiled, his family shamed and his birthright forever denied him. In this world Gunslingers are like Knights in Arthurian legend. Roland's father is the leader of the Knighthood, a direct descendant of the line of Eld, which began with Arthur. These are evil times and there are even more evil men working to destroy this order. One of these men manipulates Roland in to challenging Cort, his trainer, a full 2 years younger than the youngest has done so and been victorious. My understanding is that over the course of this mini-series we'll be getting the story of Young Roland's first tests, which were detailed in WIZARD AND GLASS, the 4th book in the series. There is a promise that we'll see events just hinted at in the books, such as the events leading up to the fate of Roland's childhood friends Cuthbert and Alain and the much hinted at battle of Jericho Hill, where Gilead fell and the world began to fall apart. The 7 part mini-series is overseen by King, with story help by his Dark Tower protege Robin Furth (author of the fantastic Dark Tower Concordances, illuminating examinations of every one of King's books) and Peter David. Jae Lee penciled and Richard Isanove colored. The book is a great companion piece to the novels. The artwork by Lee and Isanove is not what I had in my mind, but it's very interesting and not overly computerized like I've seen so many comics turn to recently. It has a water painting type quality in the colors, although Lee's artwork is sharp and focused. The gore in Roland's fight with Cort is much bloodier than I expected, so good on Marvel for getting that part right. Is this my ideal window into Roland's world? I prefer Michael Whelan's amazing work in first and last Dark Tower books and to me that is the look and feel of the Dark Tower world, but speaking as someone who was ready to call bullshit on this comic, someone who began reading it with an incredibly cynical and critical eye, I have to say that I'm greatly enjoying it so far. I'm a little disappointed that I have to see them cover material already in the books when there's so many grey areas that King and Furth could illuminate in this medium, but I also understand the need to have this series appeal to more than just the rabid Dark Tower fans. If you're a Dark Tower virgin you won't feel lost with Book 1 of 7. If you're a fan, you'll get to see a great artist like Jae Lee interpret Gilead, Cort and Roland's Father. Marvel's putting a lot of weight behind this release. They're doing midnight sales tonight at comic book stores across the US (Click here to find the list of stores staying up late) and King himself is appearing at the NY Comic Con to talk about it. I wish to God I was going. I'm such a Stephen King geek and a geek for Dark Tower in particular I'd love to hear him talk about this series and I'll be kicking myself for not being able to be there. I hope this book becomes popular so we can get King's authorized (or even better... authored) account, in comic book form, of the Fall of Gilead and other events hinted at, but not explored, in the 7 Dark Tower books. I've got a full next few days in LA, but I'll try to start catching up on my Sundance interviews and Santa Barbara reviews. Thanks for sticking with me on this rare entry into the realm of @ssholes! I leave you with this badass Joe Quesada variant cover!

-Quint quint@aintitcool.com



Readers Talkback
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  • Feb. 6, 2007, 4:33 a.m. CST

    Looks good

    by mrfan

    Might give it a try

  • Feb. 6, 2007, 4:33 a.m. CST

    my first first

    by the_shogun_gunslinger

    neat...anything about gunslingers is a ok with me ;)

  • Feb. 6, 2007, 4:34 a.m. CST

    mrfan

    by the_shogun_gunslinger

    how dare you steal my dreams like that =(

  • Feb. 6, 2007, 4:36 a.m. CST

    First again.

    by mrfan

    My third time.

  • Feb. 6, 2007, 4:58 a.m. CST

    Stephen King homage

    by numberwhunfan

    this youtube video catches all the kingsisms http://tinyurl.com/32jdkf looks like it could be a funy book!

  • Feb. 6, 2007, 5:10 a.m. CST

    Ahem

    by drew mcweeny

    ... becomes?

  • Feb. 6, 2007, 5:03 a.m. CST

    well, THIS series of 7 covers covered ground, but......

    by tibbar

    i heard they are working in 7 issue chapters, and that the archs will chain together from roland's induction into the beginning of the first tower book. that ought to give them some freedoms as to exploring things we havent seen. this makes sense to start here, though. perhaps little sidesteps similar to the little sisters will be in our future.

  • Feb. 6, 2007, 5:55 a.m. CST

    All that matters ...

    by chrth

    is that Roland keeps the Horn after the Fall of Gilead.

  • Feb. 6, 2007, 5:50 a.m. CST

    chrth brings up an intriguiing point...

    by tibbar

    will things be different for roland this time?

  • Feb. 6, 2007, 6:05 a.m. CST

    Civil War

    by Dr.Zeus

    Is a whole boatload of ASS Quint! And it seems to be the same "great creative mind" that thought up the SpiderMan clone crap! (Hey! I know what we'll do....let's clone Thor!) That is hands down! The dumbest shit i've seen Marvel do to their characters since the Ben Reilly crap. (On topic)....The Dark Tower stuff looks really good so far. I'm not the biggest Jae Lee fan, but he looks like he's pulling out all the stops for this book. I'm sold.

  • Feb. 6, 2007, 6:36 a.m. CST

    tibbar: it damn well better be

    by chrth

    He needs to keep the horn, save Jake, not palaver with Walter, prevent all the beams from breaking, fight the Crimson King before the latter goes insane, and encounter Robert Browning instead of Stephen King.<p> Then I'll be happy.<p> Of course, if they don't keep going with the comics past the beginning of the Gunslinger, it's moot.

  • Feb. 6, 2007, 6:50 a.m. CST

    What demon does roland do now?

    by bootle2

    Man <i>alive</i> King, why you gotta keep going to the well. <br> I'm a <b>huge</b> fan of the dark tower, but I don't want to read a comic that covers things that we've already seen in the books, like Cort. Show us new things or don't bother.

  • Feb. 6, 2007, 6:43 a.m. CST

    Of King and The Dark Tower

    by performingmonkey

    It's a great series...until you get to the last three books and it becomes a drawn-out dirge (granted, some of it is still fucking fantastic, but the story started out so promising only for King to literally lose the plot). The first four books are classics, you know you're experiencing King as his very best, when I first read Drawing Of The Three (the second book) I could NOT believe how great it was, you get this spine-tingling feeling as you know something excellent is beginning. If only he'd written more of the series when he was at his best rather than seemingly forcing himself to pen the last three books simultaneously after his accident (he feared he would die before ending the series!). The second half of the 7th book in particular feels like it's written by someone who either doesn't want to write a good story or is simply too tired to. He'd just HAD IT with The Dark Tower by then, you can tell.

  • Feb. 6, 2007, 8:08 a.m. CST

    My advice -- stop reading after Book IV

    by ZakChase

    The dropoff in quality after Wizard & Glass is almost too massive to believe. And that is the truth.

  • Feb. 6, 2007, 8:24 a.m. CST

    This is a fantastic idea.

    by Childe Roland

    It gives King the do-over we all wanted him to take (and that he, himself, left open with his "ending" to the tower saga). This time it HAS to be different, just because I can't imagine King, talented writer that I know he is, looking back at the way those last three books played out and saying to himself: "Yeah, baby. You nailed it!" Maybe if he was still doing a lot of drugs, but clean and sober I'd expect he harbors the same dissatisfaction for the conclusion of the saga that we, his fans, do. So here's hoping this mini is a hit and we get an ongoing or a series of minis to follow and clean up the mess King made of his multiverse.

  • Feb. 6, 2007, 8:17 a.m. CST

    'dissatisfaction for the conclusion of the saga'

    by chrth

    Do you mean the Epilogue? No, the Epilogue was fucking fantastic. Do you mean Books 5-7? Then yeah, I agree with you.

  • Feb. 6, 2007, 8:58 a.m. CST

    I've been really anticipating this . . .

    by Nice Marmot

    . . . but never tried to find out any details. I'm bummed to hear they are featuring events we've already read, but even more bummed to find that King isn't even writing the damn things. I'm picking up issue 1 tomorrow, my first comic purchase since Uncanny X-Men 300, but am no longer getting my hopes up.

  • Feb. 6, 2007, 9:13 a.m. CST

    Modern Colorists = Photoshop filter whores

    by Movietool

    In that top piece of art, I love how the colorist has light streaks coming from the direction of the tower even though Lee has gone to great pains to show that the light source is coming from the other direction. Hack coloring job at its finest.

  • Feb. 6, 2007, 9:16 a.m. CST

    I still think the gunslinger should be

    by Jonesey1111

    Hugh Jackman. I'm not sure why, but seeing him in Scoop made me think of him as Roland. Maybe it's just the crack talking.

  • Feb. 6, 2007, 9:18 a.m. CST

    Did the artist bother to read the books?

    by yourmoviesucked

    I love how the artists cast the eyes in shadow although Roland's eyes are probably his most distinguishing characteristic. Aside from his mutilated hand that is.

  • Feb. 6, 2007, 9:31 a.m. CST

    The Saint of Killers

    by CuervoJones

    just kidding

  • Feb. 6, 2007, 9:23 a.m. CST

    A man spider shitting his pants...

    by BGDAWES

    Do you think that will show up here? Roland's little bastard shitting all over himself in the snow? I'm sure that would look great illustrated.

  • Feb. 6, 2007, 9:33 a.m. CST

    The only reason Books 5 and 6 are looked down on...

    by DanielKurland

    is because in the previous books, such progress is made in reaching the tower, and booksk 5 and 6 don't. I can understand that, and I like them a little less for that too (Although the whole King getting hit thing, and the mentality of the driver is great, among other things). Book 7 however, in my opinion, was incredibly satisfying, and perfect. It provided such a fitting end to the series and it did not let me down at all. I recently started re-reading the books again, as I forgot how fantastic they are. Drawing of the Three and The Wastelands just blow me away though; such good stuff.

  • Feb. 6, 2007, 9:44 a.m. CST

    Why Book VII sucks

    by ZakChase

    I actually enjoyed the ending ENDING of Book VII. That last line was perfect. Everything before it -- not so much. Specifically the lame-ass Crimson King and the sudden offing of Randall Flagg at the hands of a character who wasn't even introduced until Book VII. After reading Wizard & Glass, you can't wait to find out what will happen when Roland and Flagg face off again at the end of Roland's journey. The fact that the showdown never comes is beyond disappointing. It's unforgivable.

  • Feb. 6, 2007, 9:59 a.m. CST

    How about a reboot?

    by Billyeveryteen

    I haven't read past Wiz-o-Glass, but I keep hearing horrible things. Can't King go back and fix shit? A re-release?

  • Feb. 6, 2007, 9:49 a.m. CST

    Why would these books constitute a do-over

    by Lovecraftfan

    They are clearly there to simply illuminate his childhood. And you guys maybe you should just accept that King like a small minority including me loved the final three books (looking at you Childe Roland). I know everyone except me and five other people hate the last three books, but maybe you should start to try and accept that they are what they are. Besides if I was an author I would stick by my work and not let a lot whining peer pressure me into changing an ending. I would have no respect for him.

  • Feb. 6, 2007, 10:02 a.m. CST

    The clone saga was a good idea

    by Lone Fox

    Initially. But every writer involved will readily admit that certain decisions made from on high resulted in the story faltering, but there were some great story arcs within the whole. Shame they didn't have the nerve (read: were scared of losing sales) to carry it through. It was certainly a more daring move (at least originally) than, say... the death of Superman. As for this... Lee's work is always worth a look.

  • Feb. 6, 2007, 9:50 a.m. CST

    Why would King fix anything?

    by Lovecraftfan

    Seriously if he did that the very next day all of you guys would be bitching that he has no integrity and will change anything at the slightest hint of peer pressure.

  • Feb. 6, 2007, 9:57 a.m. CST

    Lovecraftfan: You're forgetting about the Epilogue

    by chrth

    King can do anything he wants in any incarnation and it simply doesn't matter, because it's easily explained away by one simple line: That's how it happened THIS TIME.

  • Feb. 6, 2007, 10:11 a.m. CST

    That is so awesome...

    by FilmFanatik

    I can't wait for these. I love those books and I've been waiting for these comics to hit the stands.

  • Feb. 6, 2007, 10:01 a.m. CST

    The problem with Book 5

    by chrth

    Book 5 was actually pretty good, but the main problem was that it resembled Book 4 way too much. Too many similarities (Roland and his ka-tet fight evil in a border town ... again). If he had spaced the two stories out, it wouldn't be as bad. In other words, if the comic book follows chronology (and actually gets to/re-enacts Wolves of the Calla) then it won't be as bad.

  • Feb. 6, 2007, 10:17 a.m. CST

    chrth- True

    by Lovecraftfan

    Forgot about that

  • Feb. 6, 2007, 10:31 a.m. CST

    But...

    by Yogsoggoth

    will they change the ending of the series. I mean, King ran the story into the ground after volume 4.

  • Feb. 6, 2007, 11:05 a.m. CST

    what if **SPOILERS***

    by master bitchfist

    it is my favorite story of all time. and though i am beyond excited for this adaptation, i hope it does very well so that it can spin off into stories that we have not heard before. OR if this picks up where the 7 part books ended and we are seeing a different version of his quest after going back to square one?

  • Feb. 6, 2007, 11:08 a.m. CST

    Yogsoggoth & master bitchfist

    by chrth

    Yog: It's possible the comic book won't revisit the series. It looks like all it's covering is the flashback parts and things related. It very well may end with the first line of Gunslinger.<p> master bitchfist, same idea. It may only cover the stuff from before the beginning of gunslinger so we may only see what has already happened, not what will happen again or differently.

  • Feb. 6, 2007, 11:15 a.m. CST

    Movietool

    by BenBraddock

    Actually there seem to be two light sources in the illo - one from the left and one from the right. For what it's worth..

  • Feb. 6, 2007, 11:25 a.m. CST

    Books I-IV rock! V was pretty great, After that...crap!

    by kinghenryVIII

    SO FRIGGIN' LET DOWN with stories VI and VII. UGH! King - i want my money back - I bought the hard covers and they ain't cheap!<p>The firt 4 books are terrific. It took me a bit to get into #2 (I was in 9th grade and didn't know what to expect) but man, once I did. Wastelands was great and Wizard .... In my opinion, book 2 and book 4 are the best of the series. Book 7 .... so full of bullshit. Each page page pissed me off more and more - saw the ending coming and wanted to rip the pages out when I got there. The fight needed to be epic - not fucking left field! I will be buying the comics but throwing an tantrum while I read.

  • Feb. 6, 2007, 11:49 a.m. CST

    Book II

    by Tito Trinidad

    Book II convinced me that if King were a movie director he'd be Michael Mann and Quentin Tarintino's all rolled into one. Helluva writer of action

  • Feb. 6, 2007, 12:12 p.m. CST

    chrth, you've got my heart racing

    by SamBluestone

    "All that matters is that Roland keeps the Horn after the Fall of Gilead... He needs to keep the horn, save Jake, not palaver with Walter, prevent all the beams from breaking, fight the Crimson King before the latter goes insane, and encounter Robert Browning instead of Stephen King. Then I'll be happy. Of course, if they don't keep going with the comics past the beginning of the Gunslinger, it's moot." Holy shit, man. Holy shit. If they do that, if King and Furth actually do that, ohhhh my god, that would totally redeem the end of DARK TOWER. I mean, ok, the chances of all that happening are slim (the only one I don't care about is the Browning one), but what if that's what this mini-series is? What if it's the start of Roland actually getting it *right* this time around? Because man, if Roland could be saved (and if the Crimson King couldn't be reduced to a feeble undead crazy old dude with a sack of grenades, how fucking anticlimactic was that?!?!), I will be in utter geek heaven. Please, please let some measure of this happen, King. Don't let this just be "DARK TOWER for beginners."

  • Feb. 6, 2007, 1:04 p.m. CST

    In Other News:

    by Forestal

    May 22, 2008. That is all.

  • Feb. 6, 2007, 1:11 p.m. CST

    READ the Following:

    by vivavitalogy

    The Nightly News by Jonatha Hickman available through Image comics.

  • Feb. 6, 2007, 1:19 p.m. CST

    Confused, does Roland have the Horn?

    by Dr Ozymandias

    So we know that Roland has the Horn at the end of Book 7, but does he have it as he follows the Man in Black in the comic? Because if he doesn, this is a semi-new story, and if he doesn't, it's just a comic that will go in another direction and tarnish the original (much like the craptacular Neverwhere comic)

  • Feb. 6, 2007, 1:44 p.m. CST

    Jonesy, it's the crack talking...

    by Abin Sur

    Jim Caviezel IS Roland. Finito!

  • Feb. 6, 2007, 1:54 p.m. CST

    Really Excited About This

    by Mr. Winston

    Personally I don't care if this is a reboot or a rehash or a redo - I'll read it eagerly. THE DARK TOWER series was the only bit of Fantasy I was ever able to get into - I love the idea of Gilead and everything Roland stands for. <br> <br> Since we've been discussing the books, I'll add this: I hate to agree with most of you, but I do. THE WASTE LANDS was my favorite of the series - the whole sequence with Lud and the Tick Tock Man was beyond brilliance - and, as far as I'm concerned, one of the best books I've ever read. It took me a while to get into WIZARD AND GLASS, and for a bit I was confused as to why we needed to go back to that period...but then it all started to make sense. <br> <br> However, I think books V and VI were HUGE missteps for King, protracted stories that, I'm convinced, didn't NEED to be told. I like the concept of the Wolves but not where it took the story. The sixth book almost went totally unregistered for me. Book VII, I thought, started well and progressed well, but Man Jesus, every one of you are correct in saying that King dropped the ball so very, very, very badly with the Crimson King. It just made me sick to read that as it unfolded. Sick. However, I thought that most of the rest of the book was pretty good and I really did dig the ending. I was surprised how impacted emotionally I was by the deaths of Eddie, Susannah and Jake. <br> <br> If there's anything in this series that can potentially quell my disappointment for the treatment of the Crimson King, I'm in. And just to stir the pot, I'd cast Viggo Mortenson as Roland and never look back. Ever. Though as a young teenager, strangely and for reasons I won't ever be able to explain, I always saw Roland in my mind's eye as looking like (though not sounding like or acting like) Paul Hogan. That's weird.

  • Feb. 6, 2007, 2:12 p.m. CST

    Amazing

    by NightArrows

    I think this thread is the one that will finally allow me to stay clear of this place and all the ignorant knuckle fuckers that traffic it. To those who don't appreciate the last three novels in the DT series: Fuck you and the horse you rode in on with your cock in it's ass. You really don't deserve anything creative. And what speaks volumes on that? The whiny little whores who wanted some grand ending where Roland "has some awesome bad ass fight and goes to the top of the tower and everything is like the Ewok song, Nub Nub." Your fathers should have pulled out before your inept little dribble made it's way to mommy. The ending is as perfect as the ending could possibly be, and if you don't understand why, Marlee Matlin herself couldn't fucking sign it to you lowbrows so you'd understand. And as for Childe Roland, "we" don't want King to perform a "do-over". We being the true fans, and not the fucking AICN Gollums, like yourself, that sit in here day in and day out, expounding on everything like you actually matter, and putting your "creative" two cents in like any of you are actually creative (and I'm not talking about all the little scripts and other bullshit you've all pounded out on your Dells). I bet if there was a Talkback section on girls lunchboxes, Childe Roland would pop his head in to babble on and on about one side of it or the other. God, I can't wait for eternity to silence you and the rest of this place. The DT series is as King and Ka wanted it to be, and that, as they say, is that. Fuckwits.

  • Feb. 6, 2007, 2:19 p.m. CST

    expectations...

    by kung_fu_elvis

    I think that regardless of how King ended the stories, it wouldn't live up to anyone's expectations. Was I ticked at the end of the last book? Sure, at first... but then thought rolls in, and he's right, there was no other way to end the stories. I think it's easy to sit back and critisize him on it... but if you haven't read all the books, then you're not in the position to judge... Furthermore, I'd like to see someone here write a better epic, as opposed to blogging about how bad it was. Stoked on the Comics.

  • Feb. 6, 2007, 2:17 p.m. CST

    SamBluestone: why he has to encounter Robert Browning

    by chrth

    Because otherwise Robert Browning never writes 'To the dark tower the childe Roland came' (if I screwed up the quote, I apologize). Roland, when confronted with this, is taken aback: he does not believe he's earned the title 'childe'. Therefore, in what I believe will be the final iteration, Roland does earn that appellation and it is Robert Browning he encounters, not "Stephen King".<p> Now, since we know the central world only moves forward, that indicates to me that Roland, in the final iteration, completes the job *sooner* -- probably soon enough to save all the beams. How can he save it sooner? If he doesn't palaver with Walter*, when he loses time. If he doesn't palaver with Walter, that likely means he saved Jake. That in of itself may be enough to earn the title 'childe'.<p> *I'm aware that "Flagg" claims he tricked Roland into thinking time has gone by. I have chosen to ignore this, because King royally F'd up Flagg/Walter/Martin. The idea that they're all the same person contradicts earlier references.

  • Feb. 6, 2007, 2:18 p.m. CST

    NightArrows, We ALL have the right to criticize...

    by Abin Sur

    Since WE are the consumers. WE are the ones that make ventures by those in the entertainment industry viable. I am pretty sure that I will never come close to being able to spin a tale with the mastery of Stephen King or any number of authors, but I've read enough to know what works and what doesn't. I have issues with some sections of the last three books - as a whole, though, I actually enjoyed them quite thoroughly, and any nitpicks I had with characterization did not outweigh that enjoyment. But I and anyone else can come on this site and complain about whatever the heck we want - and the sharp ones here know the difference between criticizing and hating. So NightArrows, I bid you a fond adieu, and an even less fond Fuck You. Cheers!

  • Feb. 6, 2007, 2:23 p.m. CST

    When discussing the ending, please clarify which one

    by chrth

    If you're criticizing the Epilogue, state Epilogue. If you're criticizing the events in Book 7 prior to the Epilogue, say so. Me? I LOVE the Epilogue but dislike pretty much everything in books 5-7.

  • Feb. 6, 2007, 2:35 p.m. CST

    Susannah

    by AL bino

    She was pretty much the worst character and I kept praying for Roland to put a bullet through her head.<br><br> Am I the only one who thought of Odetta/Susannah as an old gray-haired grandma looking woman in a wheelchair? It must have been the 3rd or 4th book before I realized she was supposed to be in her 20's. I thought Eddie loved her in a motherly sort of way, until they started screwing, at which point I was totally grossed out.

  • Feb. 6, 2007, 2:42 p.m. CST

    The true hero of the books is Oy!

    by chrth

    So why couldn't Patrick draw Oy alive again? Oh wait, he could have.

  • Feb. 6, 2007, 2:43 p.m. CST

    I listened to 1-4 on audiobook

    by Prague23

    In my old walkman, with cassettes and it was amazing. Walking to and from work, about 30 min each way. King read the 3rd book, not nearly as well, so that caused Waste Lands's brilliant Tick Tock Man to sound like a nasely madman. But Wizard and Glass was amazing to listen to. <p> But Dark Tower got me into Robert Browning which lead to other amazing epic poetry discoveries so thanks to King for that. <p> Never got around to books 5-7 but I hear they're not that great, though Wolves of the Calla is a really good title, yeah?

  • Feb. 6, 2007, 2:51 p.m. CST

    The Horn

    by Jack Burton

    Quint: Does he have it at the beginning this time? Because ever since this was announced (and any further Dark Tower adaptation) I think he definitely should. I loved the last 3 books, but part 7 definitely started to feel like it was rushing toward it's ending. The epilogue saved that one. Wolves of the Calla was excellent, especially after waiting so damn long for it.

  • Feb. 6, 2007, 2:55 p.m. CST

    Cap'n & Burton, re: The Horn

    by Dr Ozymandias

    The issue with whether he has the horn is mainly due to Quint saying "The book does begin with the titular gunslinger, Roland, pursuing the Man In Black", so I assume it will start ala book 1 then flashback. I just wonder whether before the flashback, we can see/are told he has the Horn of Eld with him. Of course, I suppose we'll find out tomorrow...

  • Feb. 6, 2007, 3:10 p.m. CST

    a Book AND Comic?

    by Fabulous Freak

    It's sure to become a film now.

  • Feb. 6, 2007, 3:12 p.m. CST

    Vog From Dimension X: About the horn

    by chrth

    We recognize (or at least I do) that the Horn does not, by itself, indicate that Roland will 'succeed' this time. However, it is quite an easy marker for determining whether or not what we'll be reading is the same as the novels, or if they'll be able to go in different directions. That is all.

  • Feb. 6, 2007, 3:14 p.m. CST

    Quint, I wanna see! I'm in LA. Pllleeeassseee...

    by DarthCorleone

    I'll buy you a drink or dinner or whatever you like. Please please please. Dark Tower...comic...must...see...

  • Feb. 6, 2007, 3:17 p.m. CST

    What's this "becomes" and @$$hole sh!t?

    by Squashua

    I thought Quint *IS*.

  • Feb. 6, 2007, 3:33 p.m. CST

    How much I love

    by MrJJonz

    The first of the Dark Tower books. KIngs finest stuff in my eyes. I would love to see an HBO animated treatment of this. Then no real problems with pacing and having to compress 3 books into 1 film. Also would avoid bad CGI moments and problems of me watching thinking, 'I wouldn't have chosen him as Roland' etc etc.

  • Feb. 6, 2007, 3:38 p.m. CST

    By the way, I LOVE V - VII.

    by DarthCorleone

    Not gonna try to convince y'all...I just think they were exceedingly satisfying and then some. That "Bob" example in the Star Wars comparison above is hyperbolic and ridiculous. Mordred was a developing character since book 3. True - he wasn't alive and active until 7 - but to imply that he is just some random non sequitur that kills Flagg completely ignores the awesome foreboding build of Susannah's pregnancy. Regardless, to gripe because you don't get some cliche showdown of good vs. evil...well, life doesn't always go like that, so why is fiction required to always go like that? The greatness of V - VII is that they are true to the characters.

  • Feb. 6, 2007, 4:14 p.m. CST

    I'm with you, Darth

    by Dijonase24

    I'm not going to try to convince anyone, because I know how futile it would be, but I love the Dark Tower series from start to finish. I loved Flagg's demise (I always thought Eddie and Jake were right to call him a bumhug, so I thought he went out just like he deserved). If you didn't like the last three, I can understand that. Just don't tell me that I'm some kind of simpleton or apologist for loving them.

  • Feb. 6, 2007, 4:31 p.m. CST

    The Gunslinger was fantastic

    by Atomic.Lobster

    but unfortunately King never wrote any sequels. Always wondered how it would've turned out.

  • Feb. 6, 2007, 5:03 p.m. CST

    The loop explained and the POINT of the series

    by performingmonkey

    Obviously you shouldn't be reading this TB if you don't want parts of the books spoiled so it's your own fucking fault. OK...at the very end of book 7 when Roland opens the door and ends up back in exactly the same place as at the start of book 1 his whole life DOES loop it's just that the desert at the start of book 1 is the true beginning of his quest for the Tower and that's why the door opens on that rather than him as a baby or something. All his life before then IS played out again we just don't see it. When we see him at the start of the quest this time he has the Horn of Eld which he needs to finally complete his mission and rest. The whole point of the quest looping over and over is that Roland must learn to be a better person and honour his friends before he can enter the Tower properly (i.e. with the Horn). What he learns on this iteration of the quest (i.e. books 1-7) makes him want to pick up the Horn of Eld from the fallen Cuthbert (his best friend) to honour him. This is something he never thought of doing in the previous loops of his life. So when we see him at the start of the quest with the Horn of Eld we know (or at least hope) that this is his FINAL journey to the Dark Tower and when he reaches its top this time it won't be the desert from book 1 he sees but...well, I don't know, heaven? I think the reason for the several anti-climaxes in book 7 are that they also can't happen properly until it's Roland's FINAL quest. In theory, on the FINAL quest Mordred wouldn't end up being born and therefore Flagg wouldn't get such a stupid death and would instead have the final showdown with Roland that should have happened. Susannah would never leave him near the end (because he wouldn't be as much of a bastard this time around) and Jake would probably be around also because Roland would have saved him from the car.

  • Feb. 6, 2007, 5:28 p.m. CST

    Has anybody read Insomnia?

    by Kung Fu Hustler

    King obviously had the "random" character planned a long, long time before he starting writing 5-7.

  • Feb. 6, 2007, 5:40 p.m. CST

    My take on The Dark Tower

    by psychedelic

    I'm a HUGE King fan. I'm the first post on the Official Stephen King thread in The Zone. As a whole, I think The Dark Tower is uneven. Upon finishing Book VII, I immediately started rewriting the series in my head for a multiple-movie adaptation. The Waste Lands is my slam-dunk favorite. Parts of V-VII are terrific, but there's much fixing to be done. Things in V-VII I like: shootout at general store; underground chase by Lovecraftian creature; Fr. Callahan against nasty vampires; assault on Thunderclap. I could come up with more if I thought about it. I HATE King writing himself into it. Flagg biting the dust early sucks. More should be done with the austic painter especially since Insomnia is all about saving him. For those who love all 7 as is, good for you. But don't get all nasty because some of us want improvements. Nobody wants to see King knock stuff out of the ball park more than me.

  • Feb. 6, 2007, 6:20 p.m. CST

    "Has anybody read Insomnia?" Yes, I have

    by chrth

    And I agree with Roland: if someone gives you a copy of it, throw it in the trash.

  • Feb. 6, 2007, 6:20 p.m. CST

    The Last Three Posts

    by Mr. Winston

    Glad you all made the points you did, because trying to talk about this series always fails me. <br> <br> My thoughts on the end of VII, performingmonkey, are much the same as yours...though I took the fact that Roland had the horn to mean that he had merely learned just *that* much more in this quest and that the new one would be only slightly different - sort of a nitpicking dissent, I suppose, but if you see it as any kind of reincarnation it's certainly possible. <br> <br> As I said before I definitely dug the Back to Zero ending of the story, especially with the Epilogue, but I have to be honest in saying that the Crimson King fiasco almost ruined the whole series for me. I felt that strongly about it. I think there's a hard comparison here to the DARK TOWER SERIES and LOST; the writers, respectively, started something and once it got going they couldn't figure out how to handle it. And while they've succeeded in creating some great ideas out of that mess, they've also neutered their stories because of it. Maybe we were expecting too much from King, but it's only because he laid the groundwork for that expectation and lost his grip a bit. <br> <br> Personally I loved the arc of him writing himself into the story, especially since in doing so he summed up all of his perceived shortcomings as a writer.

  • Feb. 6, 2007, 6:23 p.m. CST

    Looks promising

    by craig1974

    I look forward to getting this. Can't wait to see the fabled Battle at Jericho Hill!

  • Feb. 6, 2007, 6:38 p.m. CST

    from the Neutral planet...

    by Algul Siento

    Since I have a DT-related user name, I thought I'd chime in with the comparitively apathetic point of view. All the books have problems, continuity being the biggest overall, but so what. Obviously something kept me (and most of you) coming back. Wolves kicked ass, Song seemed a little pointless, and VII had a lot of cool shit in it, including the sans-battle ending. I'm just stoked that I might find a killer drawing of Roland to put with my tattoo of the Crimson King sitting on his skull throne. Because that's what it's all about... tat material. You should have seen the look the comic book store guy had on his face when he informed my ignorant ass that new comics come out on Wednesdays. Silly me. As for the Horn of Eld, I bet that's what Indy's looking for in the (yeah right) 4th movie. And Michael Keaton is Roland, there, I said it. But do I mean it?

  • Feb. 6, 2007, 6:34 p.m. CST

    "summed up all of his perceived shortcomings as a

    by chrth

    writer" ... and his massive ego, too!<p> Just kidding, Stevie.

  • Feb. 6, 2007, 6:52 p.m. CST

    more casting...

    by Algul Siento

    Ashton Kutcher as Eddie! Jessica Alba (in heavy makeup) as Susannah, with legs! And of course, Dakota Fanning as Jake! Okay, I'm done cracking myself up for the moment.

  • Feb. 6, 2007, 6:44 p.m. CST

    There are moments...

    by Gunslinger1919

    I've said this before, and I'll say it again, the books may not be perfect...but at least they got finished. I'd rather have finished and flawed than not finished at all. The ending has grown on me quite a bit, and I still love WOLVES to death...especially for the return of a kick ass Callahan. I'm looking forward to the comics, but here's something intereesting I'm coming up with that I'm wondering if anyone else has noticed. The series was supposed to take off this time last year. But it was postponed a year "due to King's schedule". What I'm wondering is if Furth did a pass at the script and it wasn't up to snuff. Her Concordance is definitive, but one of the few times she actually writes something like a story in it (the intro) it comes off stiff. And the reviews I've read of the comic so far seem to indicate that the piece she wrote for it (the history bit) was so so. I'm wondering if they brought in David because even though Furth knows her shit she can't write worth a hoot....any takers? --G

  • Feb. 6, 2007, 6:44 p.m. CST

    Dakota Fanning as Jake? Naw, she's better suited as

    by chrth

    Oy.

  • Feb. 6, 2007, 6:46 p.m. CST

    They probably brought in David for two reasons

    by chrth

    1) He's a GOD.<p> 2) He's experienced in comics. If you don't do comics, you don't realize how important (and how hard) pacing, layout, etc. can be. It's not just about writing a story, it's about presenting one. David insures it gets presented correctly.

  • Feb. 6, 2007, 6:50 p.m. CST

    NO NO NO

    by Gunslinger1919

    Gary Sinise reprises his Cap'n Dan role and plays Susannah!!!! --G

  • Feb. 6, 2007, 7:07 p.m. CST

    I have never been more disappointed...

    by jollysleeve

    ...in a work of entertainment (movie, book or music album) than I was in the way King ended the Dark Tower series. I swear, Spielberg could make an "ET TOO" next year, and turn Elliot into a Jive-Talking Wayans brother and fill it with poop and fart jokes, and I would not be as disappointed as I was with the end of King's saga..... It was like getting my heart ripped out. And not only that, the story-line contradicted many of the threads and hints he so meticulously laid out over the years throughout all his novels. (Where the fuck was that "Green Man?") .........And no, I don't think this was some case of, "Wasn't it brilliant to pull the readers' expectations out from under them?" Uh, no. I literally got the sense that King himself actually forgot what the hell he had planned for the series. Because seriously, not only was the ending totally unsatisfactory, it didn't make any fucking sense in the grand scheme of things. (And it doesn't make all the discrepencies "okay," simply because Roland chose to throw away a copy of Insomnia, as if to sheepishly tell the reader, "Yeah, what you're reading now doesn't really make any sense, and contradicts the groundwork I've laid over the years... but that's okay, because I'm acknowledging it here with this post-ironic self-referencing device." What a cop-out.)....... I really do feel that King's van accident erased some bits of his brain that had been the watchguard for the Tower story arch. ......I found the book Insomnia to be flawed on many levels. In fact, I think the last 2/3's of the book (after an absolutely stellar first third) actually flew off the rails and didn't quite work. However, if the closing of the Dark Tower series had been of similar quality, I still would've been less disappointed than I ultimately was. Why? Because at least Insomnia TRIED to be epic. At least it had big ideas, even if King didn't entirely succeed in pulling them off. But the way he in fact decided to end the series was like he wasn't even trying. It was like he was spitting in the face of the reader for even caring. He turned Roland into an idiot, the Crimson King into a shitty B-movie villain with literally no supernatural powers whatsoever, and the entire quest into some inconsequential "vanity project" for our hero.... Damnit, I want King to rewrite the last 2 or three books of the series. Please, just for me. I'm begging you Mr. King (because I know you're reading this right now). And hey, don't worry about looking silly if you do it. After all, we learned throughout the story that there are many alternate universes and alternative paths that exist simultaneously. Couldn't we just pretend that the new versions of Books 6 and 7 are just what happened to the characters in an alternate (and far less unsatisfactorily insulting) universe?

  • Feb. 6, 2007, 6:59 p.m. CST

    but it LIT-ER-A-CHURE

    by Gunslinger1919

    See....one of the problems with that last book is the lengths King goes to in making the death of EVERY major protagonist as anti-climactic as possible. Flagg. Mordred. Dandelo. The Crimson King. You're let down every time. Which, I think...much like the ending...is King's way of trying to hit the ball towards the part of the field that has "literature" as its bleachers (wow...what a shitty metaphor...but whatever). There are moments that are such purely amazing entertainment in those final books (the battle at the Dixie Pig, the battle at Algul Siento...nice name btw...) but then there's these scenes where you feel that he's trying...and too hard...to make this into a piece of literature. Which, in some ways, is too bad...

  • Feb. 6, 2007, 7:28 p.m. CST

    Oh and why do people want a DT Film?

    by Lovecraftfan

    If you guys hated the last three books why would you want movie versions from them. Isn't that completely contradictory.

  • Feb. 6, 2007, 7:27 p.m. CST

    Buy this online?

    by DeviantBoiSPS

    Anyone know where I can buy this (and future issues) online?

  • Feb. 6, 2007, 7:45 p.m. CST

    and another thing...

    by Algul Siento

    Never mind how badly the Crimson King was fleshed out in the last book... what about his name itself? Isn't that lame? The Crimson King? Come on! He looks pretty cool on that throne though. Ian McDiarmid as the Crimson King! All he has to do is get a red version of his last costume... and David Spade as Jake, since Dakota has been recast as Oy. Jim the Jesus guy (not gonna attempt to spell his name) can play Patrick. and Matt Damon (say it like on Team America!) can play a more chatty Flagg/Marten/Walter/Vader/Dr. Evil/Lex Luthor... I'm sure he's a bunch of other people too, but don't wanna hog the talkback.

  • Feb. 6, 2007, 7:54 p.m. CST

    dark tower

    by stvnhthr

    The series started off strong, but by the end did not seem to have a coherent ending or reason suitable to justify its length. The whole ending that is not and ending idea did not work for me and made me extremely disappointed that I had wasted so many sleepless nights on the series. I know King is capable of better, so it is sad when he misses. Maybe someday King will have a brainstorm and revisit Roland and recapture some of the old west epic excitement he packed into the first 4 books. Maybe some sort of side story which would cover characters from the Stand, and include the Low Men in Yellow Coats.

  • Feb. 6, 2007, 8:29 p.m. CST

    It Doesn't Matter

    by MoleyRusselsWart

    I'd been reading the series since I was a kid and I love every bit of it. Whatever anyone else thinks doesn't matter (just like with Lost) Deviant, Marvel website offers subs, but your best bet is a comic store.

  • Feb. 6, 2007, 8:42 p.m. CST

    Insomnia

    by Gunslinger1919

    Actually....I thought Insomnia wasn't so bad...AFTER I read From a Buick 8 of course. Now THAT was a piece of trash... Yes, Steve, we get it. There's just some things in the world you can't do anything about...and you have to live with them. We get it. Did you have to write a whole book with hardly anything happening in order to tell us that? --G

  • Feb. 6, 2007, 8:46 p.m. CST

    From a Buick 8 was so damn frustrating (spoilers)

    by chrth

    He goes through whole spiel about "how we can never know", and what does he do? HE FUCKING TELLS US! The dude looks through the gate and sees the evidence. I was so F'ing pissed about that. Talk about ignoring your own credo! Still leaves a bitter taste in my mouth.

  • Feb. 6, 2007, 8:56 p.m. CST

    Book 7 wasn't that bad...

    by Beeslo

    I am so at Austin Books at midnight tonight! See you all there. I guess, I'm the only one that sorta liked the "loop" ending. Someone said "Hell is repetition" and I think this fits Roland perfectly. He is a very flawed character and will most likely never find peace. However, part of me believes this a sort of "12 Monkeys" ending. Yes, history is repeating itself but there are parts that will be differnet, such as Jake's role in the series. Makes me believe that while the plot will remain the same, the outcome might be different. But we will never know...

  • Feb. 6, 2007, 9:14 p.m. CST

    The Horn is Hope

    by Gunslinger1919

    That's kind of what I took away from it...he has the horn the last time...so it's a bit more hopefull for him this next time around. I kind of enjoyed it, and, in a way, feel that Roland IS the Tower. Yeah, I'm heading to my local shop tonight here on Long Island. I'll probably be the only one is my guess. Me...and the guy behind the counter. --G

  • Feb. 7, 2007, 12:48 a.m. CST

    Hell

    by blackwood

    Roland is in Hell. That's what the entire series has chronicled - one man's journey through Hell which is, indeed, repetition. He spends most of his life hurting, fighting, losing those he dares to love. He clings to Ka - he is helpless to Ka. He is unable to take hold of his own destiny. It drags him to the Tower with the promise of hope and redemption after it has killed everything that mattered and made him human in the first place.<br><br> And then it shits on him.<br><br> The horn IS hope, of course - but what makes you think it'll be any different this time around? Hope is the carrot dangled on the Wheel, leading him around. There are a lot of details, but in the Dark Tower there are only two real things - Roland, and the Tower. Everything else (friends, villains) is just propellant - minor rewards and long, measured punishments. One man's Hell.<br><br> That's what I think, anyway.

  • Feb. 7, 2007, 2:18 a.m. CST

    Re: The Horn...

    by DarthCorleone

    King himself wrote that he feels its inclusion at the end is ambiguous. Maybe things will go differently this time around, and maybe they won't. He leaves that for the reader to decide. Hence, I don't know why some of you seem to write definitively that this means Roland gets the prize next time. That's your interpretation. My interpretation is that the Horn is a tease, and he is in hell for the rest of eternity. Details might vary, but being caught in that loop and making that realization at the apex of the Tower every single time is just about the most horrific ending I could imagine. Mr. King is the Master of Horror after all, so I thought it was damn fitting. Plus, it's as far as I could imagine from the anticlimax that I had been fearing all those years between books. And once again, I'm sorry some of you were so disappointed in the turn that the tale took and obviously so personally traumatized by it. Do a 180 from that feeling, and you'll basically know how satisfied I was. Too bad for you - great for me. Nobody's right, and nobody's wrong, of course.

  • Feb. 7, 2007, 5:58 a.m. CST

    Midnight on Long Island

    by Gunslinger1919

    It was a cold night (as the Decemberists might say), and I sat in my Jeep Liberty, the heat cranking, parked behind one of the few other cars on the street. The car in front of me had a bumper sticker that read TROMAVILLE HIGH. At around 11:35 another car pulled up...it was another SUV. Then, a few minutes later another SUV. All of us sitting outside the brightly lit Grasshopper Comics. We were the only ones on the road. Finally one of us got out at 11:40 and went inside. It kind of felt like we waiting to go in and purchase porn to satisfy out late night hunger. But, I think, what shocked myself and the other guy, was the fact that the first guy came out so quickly. And with a bag. We followed suit. The transaction was done in silence, in the darkness of the night. The complete opposite of a Harry Potter event, we were the only ones there it seemed. I left with my copy of GUNSLINGER: BORN (as well as a copy of 300), and went off into the night, feeling dirty. --G

  • Feb. 7, 2007, 6:35 a.m. CST

    DarthCorleone: Let me say it again (and Hell)

    by chrth

    I don't think the idea for most of us is that horn=success. All I'm saying is that the horn establishes that it's a different cycle. Doesn't have to be the correct or final one. All I'm interested in is whether or not the events are going to follow the books exactly, or if there will be variations. Possession of the horn while in the desert is the clearest signal that there will be variations.<p> As for Roland being in Hell, I don't buy it. Besides the fact that SK has already tread the "Hell is Repetition" path (I believe in the Everything's Eventual collection), what we are left with is a pointless series of books with no meaning outside of "Hell is Repetition"; the individual events, if solely fictional, are then meaningless because they're just illusions. I don't think SK would've wanted to invalidate his work in such a way.

  • Feb. 7, 2007, 7:34 a.m. CST

    But in Doctor Who....

    by Gunslinger1919

    They quote King as saying "Redemption and Damnation are the same thing." I don't know if King ever said this, actually. And, to tell you the truth, I don' t think Roland is damned either. I agree, the horn isn't success...but I think a hopeful sign that he's headed in the right direction this time around. Whether he gets it right or not is up to him. --G

  • Feb. 7, 2007, 8:50 a.m. CST

    The ending wasn't an ending, Lovecraftfan...

    by Childe Roland

    ...as I pointed out in my post in this thread and chrth reminded you later. The ending started the quest again at the desert. The difference this time being the horn, but "for the want of a nail..." and all that. I'd have a much easier time accepting the crappy climax of the whole saga if King himself hadn't written the epilogue that opens the door to a different version of the story. So don't blame me for my unwillingness to accept the phoned in, rushed garbage we got in most of books 5-7. Even King believed there was a reality out there where things turned out better for Roland. Or at least had the potential to. And if they adapted the saga for films or a series, who's to say that alternate reality version isn't the one we'd get? The key word in any movie version of a book being adaptation. I'm not sure why my particular dislike for those last three books seems to bug you so much. Is it my screen name? Is it that my arguments for disliking them tend to be pretty thorough and based on an analysis of the saga as a whole (drawing the inevitable comparisons between earlier and latter installments)? Do I just piss you off for some reason? I'd cry your pardon if I cared. You can like the books as much as you want. It's not going to change my analysis of them or stop me from sharing that with people who want to talk about them. And chrth, it's "Childe Roland to the Dark Tower came..." and I think your idea of Roland meeting Browning instead of King on his horn-bearing journey through the cycle is fan-freaking-tastic.

  • Feb. 7, 2007, 9:01 a.m. CST

    Childe Roland: Meeting Browning

    by chrth

    Let me clarify: it will occur in the final journey through the cycle, whether or not it's the next one with the horn is up for debate.

  • Feb. 7, 2007, 9:37 a.m. CST

    "Marvel has been kicking ass with their Civil War"

    by The Heathen

    … I quit reading after that. It completely negates anything else that could require an opinion afterwards.

  • Feb. 7, 2007, 9:43 a.m. CST

    It's certainly a non-ending Childe Roland

    by Lovecraftfan

    but I still loved it and thought it was powerful. Oh well people who like the ending and dont' like the ending will never agree. Lol

  • Feb. 7, 2007, 10:04 a.m. CST

    Oh and I'm not mad at you Roland

    by Lovecraftfan

    Sorry if I gave that impression.

  • Feb. 7, 2007, 12:17 p.m. CST

    Vog: I think Roland can escape the loop

    by chrth

    He just has to get it right. It's like Groundhog Day...but without the self-awareness, and only some of the Sonny and Cher.

  • Feb. 7, 2007, 12:45 p.m. CST

    Five, Six, Seven

    by shellfishh

    Judging from other posts, I might be a very lucky person having bought but not read the last three books. It can't be a surprise that King had a problem finishing the series, he has always had trouble with endings. Combined with his late career decline (for whatever reason) it had to be bad news.<p> I just thought it was a shame that the Dark Tower seemed to infect all his other non-Dark-Tower work, i.e. "Hearts in Atlantis".<p> I'll still read them eventually and see what I think. But I will warn you, the last one of his I bought, "Lisey's Story", is fucking unreadable.

  • Feb. 7, 2007, 1:13 p.m. CST

    LISEY'S STORY

    by Gunslinger1919

    Okay, first off....my son's sick this week...so I'm stuck home with him and have nothing better to do than to continue posting to this board. Reading it...man, you'd never know we were talking about paper and ink. Though, if you say a Harry Potter book was paper and ink to a kid they'd haul off and hit you. I'm bummed Lisey's Story sucked. I have it...but haven't gotten to it yet. Big fat bummer. --G

  • Feb. 7, 2007, 2:10 p.m. CST

    That's cool, lovecraftfan. I just sometimes...

    by Childe Roland

    ...get the sense when we type about King that you think I hate the guy. Far from it. I recognize his genius and I recognize when he fails to live up to it. He's set a pretty high bar for himself (in his career and in the early parts of the Tower saga itself), having written what I consider to be some of the greatest short fiction in American history. His novels are more of a mixed bag. With few exceptions (It, The Stand, Misery, Firestarter and Carrie leap to mind) he just can't seem to end a long (more than 200 page) story or sustain character consistency throughout (that's not to suggest that characters shouldn't change...quite the contrary...but after a thousand pages or more, you get a sense for what's in a character's character and, too often, King'll go against that for the convenience of the story). The Dark Tower saga is a marvelous case study in King because it demonstrates a lot of his strengths and weaknesses as a writer and a storyteller at work (the shortest book is arguably the most perfect in terms of what it is trying to be and what it is, the early books introducing Roland's support staff and reflecting on his past are very strong but read almost like a series of short stories framed by a larger theme, and the later books, like later chapters in some of his more meandering works, seem to be all over the place). I don't think it's possible for me to overstate my appreciation of the guy or my disappointment in the way he seemed to hang mismatched pieces of whatever came to his clearly distracted mind on the skeletal framework of a story that ran through those last three books of the Tower saga.

  • Feb. 7, 2007, 2:29 p.m. CST

    Childe Roland

    by shellfishh

    You might already know this, but the first Dark Tower book actually was a bunch of his short stories put together to form a novel. That might have spilled over into book two.<p> Gunslinger, sorry, didn't really mean to put you off 'Lisey'. But I have all of King's books and (unlike Straub) there has never been a King book I could not finish. I have tried no less than ten times to get into "Lisey" and I can't. I checked some reviews on Amazon and there are a LOT of people who seem to feel the same way.

  • Feb. 7, 2007, 2:42 p.m. CST

    VOG

    by shellfishh

    "Roland, the baddest ass man on the planet"<p> I assume you mean he was bad ass, not that he was an ass man? Of course, like I said, I haven't gotten around to the last three books yet. <p>

  • Feb. 7, 2007, 2:40 p.m. CST

    Lisey

    by Gunslinger1919

    Shellfishh....that's too bad. I was hoping for a good read. There's been a few King books I couldn't read...Tommyknockers being on the top of the list....From a Buick I SHOULDN'T have read...it was a waste...Colorado Kid as well. I loved Colorado Kid up to the very end, which was just atrocious. If you're going to write a mystery write a mystery that's solvable. Don't trounce out a fantasy and tell everyone it's a mystery (it's a fantasy because, well, it's a Tower book). Ah, well, have to find myself something else to read. Don't like Straub? He's a tough read...but I've loved all of the Blue Rose books.

  • Feb. 7, 2007, 3:15 p.m. CST

    -looks over at Lisey's Story on his endtable ... hmm

    by chrth

    Well, I'm going to read it, because I've read everything else he's published in a major market (although I don't think I finished The Plant, but I have it around here somewhere). Then again, it's a library book, maybe I'll wait for paperback ...

  • Feb. 7, 2007, 3:25 p.m. CST

    Straub

    by shellfishh

    I used to love Straub. Years ago, with Shadowland and Ghost Story, he was right up there with King. But lately? I suffered through one book and got stuck in another that seemed just as bad and gave up.

  • Feb. 7, 2007, 3:31 p.m. CST

    I don't get the love for Shadowland

    by Lovecraftfan

    I absolutely adored Ghost Story but I couldn't finish Shadowland. The narrative just seemed to be going around in circles and it got really dull really fast.

  • Feb. 7, 2007, 3:24 p.m. CST

    The Key to Shadowland

    by Gunslinger1919

    Is Grimm's Fairy Tales and the love for the history of magic/illusion. I tried to read it once...didn't happen. Then I stumbled onto a copy of the annotated Brothers Grimm, which I happened to read and loved. Then tried Shadowland again and loved it. There's almost too much meat on the bone really, but ultimately it's a good book. Tough slog though. And I'm a whore, I know I'll end up reading Lisey's Story anyway, I'm that big an asshole......BTW anyone seen this...? Darabont is interested in The Dark Tower: http://www.cinematical.com/2007/02/07/darabont-updates-mist-cast-talks-possible-dark-tower-adaptation/ --G

  • Feb. 7, 2007, 6:53 p.m. CST

    Bill Murray as Roland

    by Gunslinger1919

    Well....he did do the Eastwood impression in Groundhog Day....I think he'd be a passable Roland. --G

  • Feb. 7, 2007, 7:20 p.m. CST

    jollysleeve, thank you

    by HermansHead

    You're the only person who's expressed the complete and abyssmal failure that was the final 3 books of that series as it ought to be depicted, I think. I really wish King had just never finished them. I spent so much time imagining while being immersed in that story, re-reading the first four books multiple times...and then later King's "I almost died, I don't need no editor!" mentality introduced us to this world of tacky shit that made the whole thing seem quite meaningless. There was no interweaving of pure thought and compelling story like in the Gunslinger, no taut storytelling like in the DotT, no awesome mysteries unfolded like in Wastelands, and certainly no magic like Wizard and Glass. I can't think of any other books in the world that should have been written less. We'd all be better off just still imagining.

  • Feb. 7, 2007, 8:49 p.m. CST

    I agree, HermansHead...

    by jollysleeve

    ...someone earlier said something to the effect of, "Well, at least King finished the series." Unfortunately, I'm with you. I actually would've been happier if he'd simply stopped writing after Book 4 or 5. (Not because he died, but because of writer's block or something.) I would've much rather lived with the "mystery" than to have my hopes and dreams crushed.... Okay, okay, I know that sounds geekily melodramatic--but seriously, when you total all the time I, as a reader, spent investing myself in this saga, it really adds up. When you include the entire Dark Series, plus all of King's other epic tales that were related to the DT universe (Rose Madder, Insomnia, Low Men, Desperation, etc), you've probably got something like 20 thousand pages of reading. For me, anyway--that means about two decades of caring, imagining, and dreaming. All of which came crashing down when the last couple DT books (and aspects of Book 5) were released. Ever since, I've been trying to pretend the series was never finished. ("It was all a bad dream; it was all a bad dream...") ... The closest thing I can personally compare this to is how I feel about Back to the Future 2 and 3. (The original BTTF is one of my favorite movies.) However, even Marty's suddenly soulless and cartoonish adventures in the future and Wild West don't come anywhere close to the shark-jumping madness of The Dark Tower.

  • Feb. 7, 2007, 11:49 p.m. CST

    My perfect casting

    by hooties mcboob

    Roland- Liam Neeson Eddie- Ed Norton Susannah- Thandie Newton Jake- Haley Joel Osment

  • Feb. 8, 2007, 9:10 p.m. CST

    Does anyone else think...

    by Akuma No Uta

    that Spider-Man Reign is pretty good? I know its a total FM riff, and such, but I really like it.