By Marc Strom
Peter David has seemingly done it all in his career, but the highly respected and extremely popular writer met a new challenge head on in 2007 when he took on the task of adapting the legendary Stephen King's magnum opus to comics as writer of DARK TOWER: THE GUNSLINGER BORN.
Now, on February 27, David returns for more along with artists Jae Lee and Richard Isanove and plotter/King personal assistant Robin Furth for DARK TOWER: THE LONG ROAD HOME, another adventure of Roland and company based on the vision of King. The five-issue monthly mini-series will pick up where THE GUNSLINGER BORN left off.
Marvel.com tracked down the man affectionately known as PAD to talk about filling the big shoes of King and his plans for the Gunslinger.
Marvel.com: Roland's in a coma—how are Alain and Cuthbert, the other members of the Ka-Tet, responding to the Big Coffin Hunters chasing them while they're trying to get Roland's body safely back to Gilead?
Well, not to sound flip, but they're responding in the way that one would expect: They're running like hell. Their job at this point is to survive and return home to tell of everything and everyone they've encountered. Goals don't get much simpler than that.
Marvel.com: Where's Roland's mind at right now? What's he going to have to do to escape Maerlyn's Grapefruit, and how much of an impact will his journey inside the Grapefruit have on the man he becomes?
In the words of "The Prisoner," that would be telling. Roland's mind has been yanked into the Grapefruit as of issue one, so basically he and Alain and Cuthbert are all going on their individual journeys.
Marvel.com: With Eldred Jonas dead, who's leading the Big Coffin Hunters that are hot on Roland's trail? Are they after anything more than simple payback for their fellow Hunters slaughtered in Hambry?
Clay Reynolds, the last survivor of the BCHs, is coming after them. And yeah, I'd say there's more than just payback involved. Farson wants them dead and, by extension, the Crimson King wants them dead. And it's never a good idea to disappoint either of them.
Marvel.com: Will we be seeing anymore of the Crimson King and/or John Farson in this series?
Again, I don't want to give too much away. Suffice to say that, at the very least, they'll be a presence.
Marvel.com: THE LONG ROAD HOME consists largely of material not found in the Dark Tower books—when it comes to the division of labor, how much of this material was thought up by you, and how much of it came from Robin Furth and Stephen King?
Most of it is Robin and Stephen. I read Robin's original outline, which was very good, and suggested some possibilities that spun out of what was already there. Robin did a rewrite that incorporated my thoughts. Nor can we diminish the contributions of [artists] Jae Lee and Richard Isanove, whose visuals helped shape the narrative.
Marvel.com: Will we be seeing any other classic Dark Tower characters from the novels appearing in this second series?
If you mean Roland's latter day Ka-Tet, no. We'll be focusing on the characters already extant in Gilead and Mid-World.
Marvel.com: You've said that working on THE GUNSLINGER BORN was a bit more nerve-wracking than your regular comics work because you had Stephen King, the man who created these characters, actively reading and commenting on your scripts. Is that sense still there? How has your relationship with King evolved since you started the project?
I've got a bit more confidence now, a bit more of the path traveled under my boots, as it were. Still, I'm conscious first and foremost of the fact that everyone involved is trying to do right by King and his vision. There's no room for egos here: It's "Stephen King's Dark Tower." We're all just climbing the stairs.
Marvel.com: Any other teases you want to throw at us?
Buy the book.
The first issue of DARK TOWER: THE LONG ROAD HOME ships on February 27.