Current Reviews


Dark Tower: The Gunslinger Born #6 (of 7)

Posted: Monday, July 16, 2007
By: Geoff Collins

Writers: Robin Furth (plot), Peter David (script)
Artists: Jae Lee, Richard Isanove (colors)

Publisher: Marvel Comics

This is one of the few comics that I’ll say has amazing art. It's a comic I can show to my artist friends and know that it will impress them.

Jae Lee and Richard Isanove are both credited as artists on Dark Tower, but according to a free Preview/Sketch Book that Marvel released a few months ago, Lee does most of the penciling and Isanove is doing the coloring/painting. They’re putting together panels that are close to realism but nothing like Alex Ross because they use less shading. If you look at the younger characters in this issue, especially Susan Delgado, the shading creates depth but compared to a Ross character, it's flat. Their heavy use of shadow and blacks give it a unique style that make it more interesting to look at a lot than Ross' work. Don't get me wrong: Ross is amazing, too, but his work can be more like looking at pictures than a comic book. What’s more, the background colors use paint and shading that reflects southwestern art, which adds to the old west feel of the comic, while the intricate lines and aforementioned blacks of the foreground bring in the apocalyptic fantasy of the book. Look at the panel on the bottom of the page where Susan learns Roland is in jail and is riding her horse; the image of her mostly black silhouette makes it similar to the Black Horsemen in The Lord of the Rings movies; the backdrop is a pale purple sun set which is a central image in southwestern art.

Personally, I didn’t like Stephen King's Dark Tower novels. I couldn’t get through the second one. This comic book, though, I really like. The story is based on the flashbacks of The Gunslinger (hence the sub-title The Gunslinger Born). Like anything adapted from King’s work (since the ‘90’s at least), King has had a heavy hand in its production. That’s why Robin Furth, who he considers the expert on the Dark Tower series, is involved. Along with plotting out the issues, she also writes back-up stories about the Dark Tower world and the mythologies therein. In issue #6 the back-up story combines Dark Tower with Arthur mythology, which is followed by a guide to the types of guns used by gunslingers.

The scripts by icon Peter David brings in the kind of experience and writing sense that few comic book writers have so that Furth and King’s story is translated into a comic book as best as possible. Novelists can write prose great, but it takes different talents to adapt novels into a different medium, and based on what’s in these comics, Furth doesn’t come up with imagery like a comic book writer should. She might be able to write, “Cuthbert will intercept a message from the witch Rhea to Thorin,” but David knows if that line is better used to close issue #5 or open issue #6, which is what he did.

Since there’s only one issue left, you may want to wait for the TPB to come out if you haven’t already started reading these, but take a long look at this mini-series which I obviously am gushing over.

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