Community Nooch's Comic Reviews

Hooray for adaptations!

Stephen King's The Dark Tower: Treachery #1
by Stephen King, Robin Furth, Peter David, and Jae Lee

I love Stephen King. Not in like a "I want to have your babies" kind of way. Not a "we should be together 4-Eva" kind of way. Not even in a "Thanks for always being there for me, Steve!" kind of way.

I love his writing. I first read a short story collection called "Night Shift" when I was in sixth grade. That was the first I was ever exposed to King's writing, and I was hooked. I've since read about 3 dozen of his other novels and short story collections, in addition to watching just about as many of those stories adapted to film.

As much as I love King, I can't say that all of those adaptations were really that spectacular. Misery was great, as was the recent, depressing-as-hell, please-kill-me-now adaptation of The Mist. But some made-for-TV stuff like Tommyknockers and the dog-awful remake of The Shining really felt like someone ate a pile of manure and those movies came out the other side.

So when I heard that The Dark Tower was supposed to be adapted into comic form by Marvel, I didn't know how to feel about it. The Dark Tower is an amazing 7-book epic that took 34 years to complete. This is a tale that I hold very near and dear to my heart, and it would be such a shame if treated improperly.

I've seen some really cool properties come to comics and lose their magic. If you check out some of the early CSI comics, the art is really bad. The same goes for Battlestar Galactica. Those are both strong properties with very loyal fanbases. The thing is, they're licensed and not owned by the publisher. So, in addition to having to pay the creative teams, the publishers also have to pay royalties to the licensors. This can result in settling for less-than-stellar writers and artists. What we can end up with are comics that aren't worth the staples that bind them. To be fair, IDW used Max Allan Collins when they first started adapting CSI, so the writing was great, even if the art was not.

How would this work out when applied to The Dark Tower? Well, Marvel announced who the creative team on the book would be: Peter David and Jae Lee. Peter David has been in the comics industry since the '80s. He's worked on major characters including Spider-Man, Hulk, X-Factor... the list goes on. Though he's been around since way back when, he's been able to keep his stories fresh and relevant. Suffice it to say, if you happen to see me humping any of his appendages at a convention, you'll understand why and not be shocked by the image.

Jae Lee (yes, he's Korean, and no, not related to Jim Lee) is also very talented in his own right. He's got this really distinctive style that uses heavy inks to create dark, but poignant and emotion-evoking images.

Clearly, Marvel did not intend to cut any corners with this project. The issue that came out this week is Treachery #1, with Treachery being the third series in the adaptation. The first two were Gunslinger Born, and The Long Road Home. You should be able to find collections of those in your local bookstore.

After reading the first series, all of my fears were allayed. The adaptation stayed true to the source material, even preserving the unique language of the Gunslinger's world. Plus, the book is gorgeous. The art alone can justify cover price. There's also some bonus material at the back of each book that is supplied by Robin Furth. She's like the world's authority on The Dark Tower. If Stephen King has a question, he goes to her for the answer. So even if you never read any of the books, you can still be fully immersed in the story.

You can tell that everyone involved in putting this book together considers it a labor of love. That's refreshing to see in times when a show like VH1's "I Love Money" has a solid viewership.

Who should read this book:
People who love Stephen King
People who like long, epic-storytelling
People who prefer shakes over malts.

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Nooch's Comic Reviews

More people should be reading comic books, dammit. As the resident comic book elitist, Nooch has made it his personal quest to get more noobs heading into their own dimly-lit comics dungeon every Wednesday to peruse the vastly under-rated world of sequential art.