Monday, 10 January 2011

Comic Review of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger Born

An excellent purchase, this graphic novel seems to draw on a whole culture created by Stephen King in his fantasy series, including a specific Wild West-inspired dialect and weapon set, an interesting approach to honour, a sense of legacy and supernatural mystery about the evil John Farson’s men.

It opens within some apprentices seeking to become “gunslingers” to follow their missing fathers into war, seeking to "remember the face of their fathers" (brilliant enigmantic phrases like this abound). Beyond that we find a tale of growth and hope and dark brooding despair, inked in gorgeous gothic detail by Jae Lee and Richard Isanove.

It’s particularly the mix of courage and doom that got me excited, and that strange narrator spinning us the story, provoking us with “what ifs” and lamenting the strange bents of the unfortunate characters and their destinies – it’s unlike any other graphic novel in this respect. By the end, writer Peter David gives us a sense that we have witnessed something truly significant, a fate that will have great implications for this world and the future.

Has anyone read the whole series of Dark Tower novels, which this was inspired by? Apparently, as part of his desire to include many different realities, the books incorporate elements (and characters) from Stephen King’s other works – how does this work I wonder? I wonder is John Farson is supposed to be Satan? And how you feel about meta-narratives, with many levels – do you like them, or do they just create too many complications?

Click here for a list of other graphic novels I recommend.

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