Stephen King’s dark fantasy epic is getting a redo with a new streaming series, and that could be a boon for Dark Tower comic collectors.
It’s been a few years since anyone talked much about The Dark Tower. The master of horror and the face of American popular fiction, King put together a seven-book series (as well as spinoff books and short stories) that many fans regard as his greatest work. The books themselves are more or less the focal point of a King-verse that interconnected characters, locations, and plots from many of his most famous novels.
The plot itself is a mixture of The Lord of the Rings, spaghetti Westerns, sci-fi, and King’s trademark mix of horror and drama. In fact, The Dark Tower’s protagonist, Roland Deschain, aka the Gunslinger, was mostly based on Clint Eastwood’s The Man With No Name. Only, here he was given his own Fellowship and set on an epic quest to track down The Man in Black and, later, The Red King.
Mainstream audiences are familiar with the ill-advised The Dark Tower movie from 2017 starring Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey. Anytime a filmmaker crams seven books of material into a two-hour plot, it’s unlikely to do the story justice. The original plan was much different. There was going to be a series of movies and a live-action television series that would work in unison to tell Roland’s story. Then things fell apart, as they tend to do in Hollywood.
Now, The Dark Tower is getting a second chance at life on the screen. According to Deadline, film studio Intrepid Pictures is not only looking at a live-action series on Amazon Prime but there’s talk of two standalone tie-in movies as well. It’s exciting times indeed for Stephen King and Dark Tower fans, and hopefully, this will remedy the bad taste left in our mouths from the first attempt at a film.
If the filmmakers need inspiration on how to bring the characters to life, they need look no further than the comics.
When Marvel Comics began adapting The Dark Tower, they didn’t start with the first book, 1982’s The Gunslinger. Instead, The Gunslinger Born focused on the fourth novel published in 1997, Wizard and Glass, which was the first time King’s readers learned about Roland’s childhood and the tragic loss of his first love. It would not surprise me if this is where Intrepid begins its tales of Roland, and that could give this first Dark Tower comic a market boost. If nothing else, Tower fans will want it for the amazing Jae Lee cover art.
By and large, none of the Dark Tower comics have been major sellers, but that’s not a bad thing. Under the Marvel banner, everything is overshadowed by either the MCU or Star Wars, and collectors generally target the keys with live-action appeal on those fronts. It has allowed a solid title to fly under the radar. In fact, the graded 9.8 for the standard cover has averaged just $42 over the past 90 days. However, one copy did reach $85 in September.
Like virtually every other comic printed in the 21st century, The Gunslinger Born had its share of variants. One that you’ll want to watch is the Jae Lee sketch cover. Although not in high demand, it last sold for $115 in April. Before that, a graded 9.6 sold for a suspicious $300 in February.
REBIRTH OF THE GUNSLINGER
After seeing how much money Amazon was willing to invest in The Rings of Power, we can only imagine the checks Jeff Bezos will sign to bring The Dark Tower back to life. This is a story that will need an enormous special effects budget, and that’s why it may be for the best that it is going to Amazon Prime. Now, fellow King devotees, let’s cross our fingers that it’s an improvement on the last movie.