By Frank DeAngelo IV
"Childe Roland to the Dark Tower came," and fans followed.
As the personal research assistant to Stephen King and author of "Dark Tower: The Concordance," an encyclopedic companion explaining and expanding upon everything that happens in the seven volumes of Stephen King's magnum opus, it's safe to call Robin Furth an expert in all things Dark Tower.
After working on DARK TOWER: THE GUNSLINGER BORN with writer Peter David and artists Jae Lee and Richard Isanove, Furth returns to plot the adventures of young Roland Deschain and his ka-tet in an all-new series hitting shops this week, with a midnight opening at 12:01 AM, Wednesday, March 5 to celebrate its release find out more
Although fans have to wait until the witching hour to pick up DARK TOWER: THE LONG ROAD HOME #1, Marvel.com caught up with Robin to find out what to expect from the next volume of this epic saga.
Marvel.com: At the end of DARK TOWER: THE GUNSLINGER BORN, Roland is in a pretty bad place as he's lost his lover, Susan, he's at odds with his friend, Cuthbert, and his ka-tet has brought quite a bit of attention to itself after their showdown with the Big Coffin hunters. How much time has passed between GUNSLINGER BORN and THE LONG ROAD HOME and where does the story pick up?
Actually, no time at all has passed between the two stories. That's the great thing about comics. Although months have passed in our world, in Roland's, only moments have elapsed.
Marvel.com: Before Roland sets off for Hambry, his father warns him about keeping his emotions in check and Roland does pretty much the exact opposite of that. Will we be see the consequences of Roland overstepping his boundaries?
Oh yes! In THE GUNSLINGER, the first novel in Stephen King's magnum opus, Roland berates himself for having hands and guns that work faster than his mind. In other words, his emotions and his reflexes are too powerful and he often shoots first and asks questions later. Although with guns, "later" is always too late! In THE LONG ROAD HOME, Roland's anger lands him in pretty hot water.
Marvel.com: The Good Man, Farson, played an important but background role in THE GUNSLINGER BORN, mostly making threats and giving orders. Now that Roland, Cuthbert, and Alain have wrecked his chances of getting the war machines of the Old Ones up and running, can we expect him to take a much more active role as the boys set off from Hambry?
We won't see as much of the Good Man in LONG ROAD HOME. He needs to regroup his men. However, his power is silently growing. Once our friends reach
Gilead, the Good Man will be back, and he'll be worse than ever! However while the Good Man recoups his power, his boss, the Crimson King, steps in. He's going to take a swipe at Roland. After all, Roland is destined to be his ultimate enemy!
Marvel.com: While THE GUNSLINGER BORN featured material that was originally found in the "Wizard and Glass" novel, THE LONG ROAD HOME is based on mostly new material is this a story that Mr. King has always wanted to tell or is this something that he created specifically for the Marvel Comics series?
THE LONG ROAD HOME is based on the short tales that Steve King tells within the Dark Tower cycle. Hence in some sense, he's told them already! Our job was to link them together and expand...
Marvel.com: Since this story is mostly new material, did the techniques you and collaborators used to produce THE GUNSLINGER BORN still apply, or did you find yourselves creating a new model?
In THE GUNSLINGER BORN I really had to find my feet. I was new to comics and so went through draft after draft with Marvel editors, trying to refine the storyline. As you can imagine, adapting a large novel to comic book form takes a lot of thought and a lot of planning. Characters can no longer have long inner monologues, things have to happen much faster, and much more graphically.
In THE GUNSLINGER BORN, Peter, Jae and I gave each other feedback, but I think that we influenced each other a lot more in THE LONG ROAD HOME. That has been great, since Peter and Jae have a lot of experience in comics and they really helped to make the story powerful.
Marvel.com: In THE GUNSLINGER BORN we were introduced to many figures from the Dark Tower mythology; are there any characters we can expect to see from the novels making their first comics appearances in LONG ROAD HOME?
In many ways, THE LONG ROAD HOME is a continuation of THE GUNSLINGER BORN. Our tet is dealing with the fallout of their actions in Hambry. Hence the character line-up is very similar, though we'll see more mutants and more of the Crimson King in this part of the tale! We'll also be introduced to a place called the Dogan. As long-time readers of the Dark Tower series will know, that definitely spells trouble for our friends! And thanks to the Grapefruit, Roland will be able to do a little time travel so we might just meet some figures from his future...but I won't ruin it for you!
Marvel.com: THE GUNSLINGER BORN was set against a background of things really coming to a head between the Affiliation and Farson. While little is known about these battles, are we going to see any of them explored throughout this and the future series?
Oh yes. The battle between the Affiliation and Farson is the crux of the Dark Tower comic books. Ultimately, what we are witnessing is the ancient war between light and dark—or in Dark Tower speak, the White and the Outer Dark. Ultimately, Farson is the pawn of the Crimson King. Hence, he is a representative of the very chaos which the Gunslingers have tried to control since the Old People poisoned the world.
Marvel.com: Other than the obvious things like "Stephen King" and "Dark Tower", why should readers check out DARK TOWER: THE LONG ROAD HOME?
We live in difficult times, and in many ways epic fantasy gives symbolic voice to the battles which the world faces. Roland's level of the Tower has already gone through the terrors that we now face—environmental destruction, war on a massive scale, etc. Despite all the horrors, Roland's world survived. Not only has it survived, but the people in it continue to work to create order and harmony amid the mounting chaos. Perhaps that gives us all hope.
STEPHEN KING'S THE DARK TOWER: THE LONG ROAD HOME, by Robin Furth, Peter David, Jae Lee and Richard Isanove lands in stores March 5. And if you're staying up late, why not spend the time with Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited