Here we go again: The Drawing of The Three: The Prisoner marks Marvel's third iteration of its ongoing, ambitious adaptation of King's Dark Tower magn Here we go again: The Drawing of The Three: The Prisoner marks Marvel's third iteration of its ongoing, ambitious adaptation of King's Dark Tower magnum opus. The results have been mixed for me. I started out in a fangirl tizzy, but my excitement soon waned for quite a stretch (in which I stopped reading altogether), then it peaked again like a firecracker going off, only to dampen and fizzle once more at the conclusion of the last two volumes.
Sigh. Look, don't get me wrong. I get a thrill and a chill every time I pick up one of these volumes. Because it holds so much potential. And sometimes I think just the sheer anticipation is worth its weight in gold no matter how conflicted or underwhelmed or disappointed I am by the time the reading is done.
This latest volume likely didn't stand a chance from the get-go, I had placed such GINORMOUS expectations of want and need on its slim modest frame. Out of all of King's seven Dark Tower books (I refuse to count The Wind Through the Keyhole in that number), The Drawing of the Three is my absolute favorite. For a lot of reasons. Not the least of which, Three is what got me addicted to the series in the first place.
When I read it that first time lo those many, many years ago (can you kennit?) I had never read anything else like it. I didn't even know books could do that to your brain and emotions, get in there and live there and completely wrap you up in its world and life and characters. I had loved other books before The Drawing of the Three, but I think it's safe to say this was the first time I had become obsessed - possessed by one. Books have been having that effect on me since but that time, was the first time, and you never forget your first, do you?
At the end of the day, these graphic novels are not, and can never be the books. At their best they are lovely companion pieces to tickle that nostalgia part of every DT fans brain; at their worst, they are very poor substitutes with the power to egregiously spoil the books for any reader ill-advised enough to start with the graphic novels. DON'T DO THAT, OKAY?? Read the books first. Will you promise me that?
There are parts of this one that I did enjoy -- going back to 1980's New York and hanging out with a young Eddie and his big brother Henry was a bittersweet, and due to knowing what's coming, an ultimately heartbreaking affair. The artwork is weak though, and Roland just looks like a caricature sketch of himself. And let's just say the lobstrocities scene fell as flat as a pancake. Boo. But there was astin! And tooter fish! So I shall read on. If only for the anticipation, if not the disappointment. ...more
Here marks the concluding final volume of the original Dark Tower adaptation by Marvel comics and to say it's left me feeling underwhelmed is quite th Here marks the concluding final volume of the original Dark Tower adaptation by Marvel comics and to say it's left me feeling underwhelmed is quite the understatement. It turns out to be a confusing mish-mash of stories that barely connect to what's come before. The first two chapters are spent on Sheemie and the Breakers and strive to explain the birth of the Tower, its crucial importance and the forces who wish to see it destroyed. This is major Dark Tower sacred canon that took King decades to build and make believers of us all. To see it watered down in the final volume like this doesn't sit well with me and strikes me as rushed and lazy.
Then we're offered another adventure of young Roland and his original ka-tet which is followed up by a re-telling of the legend of Arthur Eld and his defeat of Lord Perth (a kind of lame David and Goliath type deal that I can't remember well enough from the books to know whether any liberties were taken with the source material or not).
As much as I was stupid excited for this graphic novel adaptation, I was slow to warm up to the series; in fact I skipped over Volumes 3, 4, and 5 and didn't pick up the series again until Volume 6 The Gunslinger: The Journey Begins. That's mostly because those first five volumes draw almost exclusively upon material from Book 4 of King's series -- Wizard and Glass. I'm much more a fan of long, tall and ugly Roland, than young Roland and his original ka-tet comprised of Cuthbert, Alain and Jamie. So while the series did get better for me as it went along -- especially The Battle of Tull and The Way Station -- there were way more lows than highs. Way more places where they got it wrong than right.
However, despite my lack of fangirling at this point, I'm deliriously excited by this news; the Dark Tower adaptation is continuing this fall with The Drawing of The Three: The Prisoner. Now we're talking!! Eddie Dean! New York! And hopefully some lobstrocities and astin. Oh yeah! The Drawing of the Three is one of my all-time favorite books and I have to hope that adapting from this juncture in the narrative will result in a much more successful experiment than what we've seen up to now. Only the best is yet to come in a world that has moved on. ...more
Well, you wonder why I always dress in black, Why you never see bright colors on my back, And why does my appearance seem to have a somber tone. Well, t
Well, you wonder why I always dress in black, Why you never see bright colors on my back, And why does my appearance seem to have a somber tone. Well, there's a reason for the things that I have on. "The Man In Black", Johnny Cash
Marvel's ambitious undertaking to adapt King's magnum opus has been hit or miss for me. The first five volumes (essentially a re-telling of Book IV - Wizard and Glass) did not work for me, most likely because Wizard and Glass is my least favorite of the series. While I eventually grew to appreciate the story for what it is, young Roland will never beat out long, tall and ugly Roland. So I actually skipped over Volumes 3-5 and didn't pick up the graphic novel series again until Volume 6 The Journey Begins.
I was so relieved and super-psyched to resume the story as it's finally reached The Gunslinger. Roland’s young battles are behind him, all has been lost, and he is now on the road to the Dark Tower as a solitary traveler, embittered, battle-weary, with no tears left to shed. This is the Roland I adore. This is who I want to read about and see captured in the panels of graphic novel.
In the previous volume, Roland finally meets up with Jake, and I loved how the Way Station encounter is handled. This volume focuses on the slow mutants attack and ends with Roland's palaver with the Man in Black himself.
I did not hate this volume by any stretch, but the series is now venturing into sacred territory and I didn't cotton to several of the storyline alterations. Not to mention, most of the art was just...not good. Inconsistent shall we say. I didn't like how in some panels Jake and Roland are very chiseled and there while in other panels they're barely there at all, kind of just shadowy impressions, blurry lines and all.
While I wanted to love the prolonged and "extra" interactions between Jake and Roland, something seemed not quite right about how they were speaking to each other. I can't put my finger on it really. But my gut just wouldn't leave it alone. And the climatic "go then, there are other worlds than these" scene fell flat for me. I didn't feel the punch or the emotionality I should have.
The last section capturing Roland's fireside conversation with The Man In Black is well executed. It strays little, if at all, from the original source material, a lot of the text lifted right from King's novel. Still, there are gaps even in this pivotal scene that I wish weren't there.
It's probably a mistake to read these graphic novels and judge them against King's books. Different format and all that, but I can't help it. And while I'm desperate for more Dark Tower, I'm probably much better off to just go and read the novels again rather than trying to find solace and satisfaction in the colored panels of a comic. A re-read is definitely on the table, but I will stick it out with the graphic novels too. When and where they've worked, I've been extremely pleased. ...more
As long as I can shoot with my mind and kill with my heart, my will is my own.
Oh sweet, crackling Moses, but this series is really heating
As long as I can shoot with my mind and kill with my heart, my will is my own.
Oh sweet, crackling Moses, but this series is really heating up. The only thing keeping me from showering five juicy stars all over this thing, is that I'm leaving some room for further advancement into the realm of EPIC AWESOME. Because this is where we're headed, if you kennit. The best is yet to come, and I don't have to be a demonic, succubus oracle to ordain that, hear me well.
The story arc of Marvel's ambitious (and glorious) Dark Tower adaptation has finally reached the sweet spot for me -- long, tall and ugly Roland, lethal and obsessed and (let's face it, truly fucked up) Roland, hot on the trail of the man in black, in search of the Tower that haunts his dreams. The Battle of Tull is behind him -- yet another massacre to add to the rising count -- and Roland is traveling across the endless desert with his taunting quarry always just out of reach, always just a few steps ahead of him.
Then Roland stumbles into The Way Station and collapses from heat stroke and is revived by a young boy offering him water (and who thankfully resists the urge to dispatch Roland with his pitch fork). The young boy is John Chambers, but he informs Roland that his friends call him Jake. Jake!!! Oh Jake, how I've missed you! And this is where his story begins, but if you've been on this journey before, you know this isn't where or how it ends. Not even close.
I can't tell you how much joy I got from watching these initial intimate moments shared between gunslinger and boy unfold ostensibly for the first time. The devastation and betrayal that you know is waiting for each of them just makes these early interactions that much more precious and bittersweet. I especially giggled at one early morning conversation they share when Jake wakes up to find Roland has tethered him with rope in the night.
"Why'd you tie me up? I wasn't going to run away. Or is this some kind of gunslinger kinky thing that I'm probably not old enough to know about?"
"We don't have time to palaver...Do you see this?...Take the bone and keep it close."
"Sooo first I'm tied up, and now I'm holding your magic bone. This morning could not be more disturbing."
Jake is so innocent here, so trusting, yet to be betrayed, yet to kill. You just want to wrap him up in your arms and hug the shit out of him. (view spoiler)[The scene where Roland hypnotizes him and gets Jake to recount his gruesome death in 1977 New York is effectively done. I felt his pain and terror. Bad memories, and one I did not enjoy remembering. (hide spoiler)]
This is a most welcome addition to the Marvel series, and I can't wait to read more. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
After my painful disappointment over Wind Through the Keyhole, I hoped this installment of Marvel's Dark Tower adaptation would act as a balm on my Da After my painful disappointment over Wind Through the Keyhole, I hoped this installment of Marvel's Dark Tower adaptation would act as a balm on my Dark Tower-less existence. Up until now, this graphic novel series has largely been the account of Roland's young life and his formative years to become a gunslinger. Much of the source material is drawn from King's Book 4 Wizard and Glass; the first five graphic novel volumes are mostly concerned with Roland's original ka-tet of Cuthbert and Alain and climax with the tragic and bloody (is there any other kind?) Battle of Jericho Hill. I stopped after Volume 2: The Long Road Home for reasons I tried to express here.
Unable to resist giving the series another try, I picked up Volume 6: The Journey Begins and I am so glad that I did. It is -- in a word -- awesome. For me, older Roland is where it's at anyway, where he has been forged like iron into something ruthless, battle weary, and obsessed concerned with all things Dark Tower (and man in black). Getting here -- finally! -- to this point in the story, is like that cool, sweet drink of water after crossing the desert.
Dark Tower fans will know the name Tull. It's the first time we meet Roland in the original Gunslinger book that launched an epic seven book magnum opus. It is in the sleepy, mutated, desert town of Tull that we learn of Roland's deadly reflexes and lethal skill with his sacred Sandalwood "widowmakers". We get a glimpse of the darkness and despair he carries around inside of him (and that to try and befriend him will most likely shorten your life by a fair span). At this point in the story, Roland has been friendless for quite some time, and his edges have grown sharp and jagged. This Roland -- god how I love him -- this is the Roland we get in Volume 8: The Battle of Tull.
If you are a Dark Tower fan, this is a must-read re-telling of a seminal event in the life of the Last Gunslinger from Gilead. If you are curious about King's series but are not quite ready to pick up the novels yet, this is a great place to start to get a feel for the setting and language of the Dark Tower universe (without risking any major spoilers for the books). ...more
The Tower trembles; the worlds shudder in their courses. The rose feels a chill, as of winter.
I love this quote and I love this story! Not only is i The Tower trembles; the worlds shudder in their courses. The rose feels a chill, as of winter.
I love this quote and I love this story! Not only is it a giant HEAP of fun, it's filled to the brim with Dark Tower references right down to an appearance by the low men in yellow coats - yes! more please!
The premise is pure King, and would have made an AWESOME Twilight Zone episode. I can just hear Rod Serling now:
Wesley Smith is a professor of literature and his mistress is the book. An unlikely impulse to purchase an electronic reader opens a window through which can be viewed infinite versions of time and space. If knowledge is power, then Wesley has just become the most powerful man in our universe. He has also just crossed over into the Twilight Zone.
Whether you're a fan of the Dark Tower novels or not, this is vintage King. ...more
I adore Roland and everything Dark Tower and I’m not ashamed to say that I squeed with delight (in true fangirl fashion) when I heard that Marvel andI adore Roland and everything Dark Tower and I’m not ashamed to say that I squeed with delight (in true fangirl fashion) when I heard that Marvel and Robin Furth would be spearheading a graphic novel adaptation. Things started out well enough – I was so charmed by the first installment – The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger Born. Essentially a re-telling of Wizard and Glass (Book 4 of the series), the colors were magnificent, the dialect spot-on, and I got shivers just reading that awesome line one more time: the man in black fled across the desert and the gunslinger followed. By the second installment however – The Dark Tower: The Long Road Home – my enthusiasm had waned considerably. I still enjoyed the art, but there was something truly missing, which I tried to articulate here in my rambling but well-intentioned review.
Rather than read on in the series, I stopped while I was ahead. That Roland – while admittedly still the last gunslinger from Gilead – wasn’t my Roland. Then comes along this sixth installment in the next cycle of the series – The Gunslinger: The Journey Begins. It seemed like a good place to pick up the story again. Roland’s young battles are behind him, all has been lost, and he is now on the road to the Dark Tower as a solitary traveler, embittered, battle-weary, with no tears left to shed. This is worlds closer to my Roland and I was only too happy to walk beside him once again. As Robin Furth explains in the introduction: "I would have to show how a boy so completely devoted to his ka-tet could become the bitter, lonely, and dangerous drifter we meet in the first of the Dark Tower novels".
I love that idea, and I think this next cycle is going to be outstanding by comparison because of it. Roland has begun to manifest his "long, tall and ugly" grizzled forbearance. His ruthlessness is apparent, as is his integrity and courage. It goes without saying that the artwork is outstanding and it felt so good to be absorbed back into this time and place once again with a character I love above all others. Here’s to more long days and pleasant nights! ...more
Sigh. Well, it's finished. I will now try and express some of my deep disappointments here even though it will hurt me to do so. Kemper's review captu Sigh. Well, it's finished. I will now try and express some of my deep disappointments here even though it will hurt me to do so. Kemper's review captures much of what frustrated me and left me feeling cheated by the whole affair. To be promised another Dark Tower installment and offered this underwhelming book in its place, so loosely tethered to the source material as to feel as if someone else wrote it, a comical pastiche in parts that tries too hard to be Dark Tower worthy -- well, it just leaves a girl wanting to cry.
I guess I should have read the dust jacket more closely. Maybe if I had gone into this knowing full well that this IS NOT a Dark Tower story, but rather a bedtime story from Roland's youth (ripped from the pages of Magic Tales of the Eld) my disappointment could have been more tempered.
As it stands, we get a paltry 35 pages of Roland, Jake, Susannah, Eddie and Oy (that's not even a story -- it's just used as a framing device for the rest of the book). We get about 100 pages of a Young Roland Adventure -- a monster of the week story that reminded me of Sam and Dean Winchester and an episode of Supernatural set in Mid-World (awesome idea and if Stephen King ever wants to write the Winchesters into the Dark Tower landscape I would probably die from fangirl shock syndrome). In this context however, it didn't work for me. I'm not the biggest fan of Young Roland anyway, and Young Roland in the first person is barely recognizable. It could have been anyone telling that story.
The remaining 160 or so pages is a fairytale featuring a young boy on a quest to save his mother, that may be vaguely set in Mid-World, but has so very little to do with ANYTHING Dark Tower or ka-tet as to leave one itchy and sore. It's a pleasing enough story, but all while I was reading it, all I could think about was 'the gang' and wishing I were back with them, walking with them, adventuring with them. When Stephen King announced he had another Dark Tower story to tell, I believed him, why wouldn't I? It made sense to me that there would be LOADS of smaller stories of ka-tet adventures that did not make it into the 7 book magnum opus, but nevertheless deserve to be told anyway. I want those stories, dammit! Pretty pleeeeeeease, can't I have those stories? ...more
So this is the second collection in Marvel's graphic novel adaptation of King's Dark Tower series. While I LOVE reading about Roland again, and the arSo this is the second collection in Marvel's graphic novel adaptation of King's Dark Tower series. While I LOVE reading about Roland again, and the art work is gorgeous, I'm deeply conflicted as well. There's something here that isn't quite working for me, that seems off. I think the problem is that I'm comparing it to the source material too much, when I should be enjoying the work as its own unique experience (like a film adaptation).
It's also very much focused on young Roland. And I guess that's what's troubling me; Roland young is interesting, but Roland old is a literary legend. I long for the mature, wise, mean Roland, merciless and calculating Roland, courageous and flawed, cool and temperamental. Oh how I miss him.
The young, impetuous, impulsive, rebellious Roland is starting to be kind of a letdown by comparison. I remember feeling this way when I got to Book 4 Wizard and Glass; I enjoyed it immensely once I reconciled myself to the fact that we were going way back in the story to young Roland, but that doesn't mean I wasn't chomping at the bit to return to the "real" Roland. So the creators have decided to tell young Roland's story instead of mature, grizzled Roland. I would never have thought this could matter so much, but it does, it really does.
One more thing: when you read the novels, there is so much you DON'T know for a long time. It's like a puzzle, a really addictive puzzle. King metes out answers morsel by morsel and it's not until the last book and thousands of pages on that the full picture emerges (likely because King himself didn't know how it was all going to finally come together). But here's the thing: the graphic novels have already let so much out of the bag already...about Roland's origins, his destiny, even the Crimson King and his intentions, and what the Dark Tower is and why it's so important. It's too much too soon. I realize that the authors are working on a smaller canvas but where's the mystery? So far the story is very straightforward with uber-heroes vs. uber-villains.
My advice: Read the books first!!! There's a method to King's madness in how the Dark Tower plot unfolded over the course of three decades and thousands of pages. The reward at the end is indescribable. The graphic novels will steal that experience from you even though that is not the authors' intent. It's clear that the graphic novels are a labour of love and Peter David and Robin Furth have my utmost respect and gratitude for keeping Roland's story going. ...more
This is by no means the strongest volume in the series (nor my favourite) -- think The Hobbit in comparison to the rest of The Lord of the Rings -- buThis is by no means the strongest volume in the series (nor my favourite) -- think The Hobbit in comparison to the rest of The Lord of the Rings -- but I gave it five stars anyway because it is the book that launched Roland on his unforgettable, addictive quest. It's a teaser, but absolutely integral to understanding everything that comes after. Don't miss that experience.
And my absolute favourite opening line (say it with me Constant Readers): The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed. ...more