Stephen King's Dark Tower

Dark Tower: Talking with Robin Furth Pt. 3

In the final part of our chat with the TREACHERY writer, she discusses her love of maps, other Marvel comics she'd like to work on, and if she'll ever escape Mid-World!

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By Neil Kleid Roland Deschain falls into the possessive grasp of Maerlyn's Grapefruit as the players of DARK TOWER: TREACHERY—Marvel Comics' third comic book series based on the novels by Stephen King—plot and scheme about him. Above them all, holding the puppet-strings alongside Peter David, Jae Lee and Richard Isanove: Robin Furth. Long before she took Roland's strings in hand, Robin documented his early adventures under the watchful eye of King. A walking encyclopedia of Dark Tower legend and lore, Robin uses that knowledge to co-create Roland's back-story, bringing to life unwritten tales only hinted at throughout King's best-selling novels. In the last of a three-part, in-depth interview celebrating TREACHERY—parts one and two still available—Robin expresses her love for maps and folklore, how her life has been changed by comic books, and the bonds that tie her firmly to Mid-World.

Preview art by
Jae Lee &
Richard Isanove

Marvel.com: Maps, of course, are fairly important to Roland's quest. I understand you originally sketched many of the maps painstakingly recreated by Jim Calafiore. Is cartography a secret passion? Robin Furth: Actually, it is! When I was a child, my grandparents had an old map of the Maine coast on the wall. In one of the map's corners there were some drawings of sea monsters, so for years I actually thought that there was a grotto of sea monsters living somewhere off the Maine coast! This thought scared me, but it also set my imagination on fire. When I got a little older, I became fascinated by the maps that appeared in fantasy novels. I would spend hours studying them and dreamt of writing novels that contained maps like those! Marvel.com: The short folk tales you've written for the comics, fleshing out the lore and myth of the All-World, help establish a rich history that adds to the reader's enjoyment. As a writer, have you always wanted to try your hand at world building? Robin Furth: Yes, world-building has always been an obsession of mine. Don't worry—I don't have a God complex or anything—I'm just fascinated by folklore! I spent much of my childhood reading fairytales, folktales, and any kind of mythology I could get my hands on. Later, in college, I also gobbled up a lot of anthropology texts as well as any sci-fi, fantasy, or magical realism I could find. Studying the history of English literature was also really helpful, since I realized that the world as we know it—and the cultural practices we take for granted—are far from

Preview art by
Jae Lee &
Richard Isanove

assured. Over time, all cultures change. I've always been fascinated by the Arthurian legends and by the troubadours and the courtly love tradition, so I've tried to build some of that into the stories I tell. As readers know, those things play a large part in the Dark Tower novels, so it makes perfect sense. Marvel.com: If you had your way, which would you choose to write in: script or prose? Robin Furth: Both! I really do enjoy both and have been lucky enough to do both. I'd also have to throw poetry into the mix, since that feeds a different part of the soul. Marvel.com: You've been living in Roland's world for almost 10 years now—which of his fellows or foes do you closely identify with? Robin Furth: Wow—that's a tough one. I definitely feel haunted by Roland. Whenever I'm working really hard on Dark Tower stuff I feel this shadow hovering nearby. Sometimes I even look up, certain someone has walked into the room! I've had some pretty terrifying nightmares about the Crimson King as well, always in his spider form. And I've had some pretty scary run-ins with spiders while working on the comics. Once, while I was lying in bed trying to puzzle out a scene about the nasty red king, I opened my eyes to see this huge spider dangling over my face! Yikes! It was kind of like the Crimson King was having a laugh at my expense).

Preview art by
Jae Lee &
Richard Isanove

Otherwise, I have to say I have a really strong affection for Cuthbert, Alain, and Susan Delgado. That was why I was so pleased that Marvel wanted to start with "Wizard and Glass"—it meant that I was able to spend time with those particular old friends, who I really felt deserved more attention. When Susan died at the end of GUNSLINGER BORN, I cried, despite the fact that I knew what was coming! Marvel.com: Aside from the Dark Tower books, you've worked on a LEGION OF MONSTERS comic and are now adapting the "Lords of Avalon" novels. Which other Marvel comics would you like to try your hand on? Robin Furth: I'd love to do more with Satana and with her brother Daimon Hellstrom. I'd also love to work with Morbius, or with some of the characters who aren't as well-known, like Spellbinder—Erica Fortune. I think everybody dreams of doing things like Spider-Man or the X-Men or Fantastic Four, but there are so many great writers out there who have a lot more experience in those corners of the Marvel Universe so I think I'll continue to be an enthusiastic reader of those series! I'm a big fan of the adaptations of "Anita Blake." Those are a lot of fun! Most of all though, I'd like to be able to adapt fantasy and sci-fi novels to comic book form. I'd especially love to help bring some of the old horror and supernatural classics to life again!

Preview art by
Jae Lee &
Richard Isanove

Marvel.com: It's been a long road—paved with interviews, conventions and signings—since Joe Quesada proudly announced the Dark Tower comics. How does it feel, being in the spotlight and signing at conventions? Robin Furth: By nature I'm a fairly quiet person, so getting up in front of people is always a major event for me! As far as the success of the Dark Tower comics goes, I'm amazed and incredibly grateful that fans have enjoyed it. It's like a dream come true. Marvel.com: Ka is like a wheel, it always comes around—do you see your life firmly entrenched in Roland's—and, by extension, Stephen's? Though you may move on to other worlds and projects, will the Dark Tower always bring you back? Robin Furth: Mid-World definitely has a hold on me! Whenever I think that I'm moving out of Roland's domain, something happens and I find myself back in the middle of Mid-World again. I'm in the process of finishing up a novel of my own and hope to work on many more comics, but Mid-World has become one of my homes. If I left for too long, I guess I'd get homesick! DARK TOWER: TREACHERY #2 hits stores this Wednesday, October 8. Check out the official Marvel Shop for the best mighty Marvel merchandise!
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