Published by arrangement with The Doubleday Broadway Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc. The Stand comic series is produced under license from The Doubleday Broadway Publishing Group and Stephen King.
By Sean T. Collins
Meet Stephen King's Doctor Doom.
Every King fan has that "eureka!" moment when they suddenly realize it's all connected
! The master of horror has woven continuity between his books that would make any Marvel fan feel right at home—at least until they find out who's at the center of it all: the grinning magician and madman known as Randall Flagg. This archvillain wanders through several of King's key works under various names and forms and casts a shadow over all he surveys, earning nicknames like the Walkin' Dude, the Hardcase, the Dark Man, and the Man with No Face in the process.
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THE STAND: CAPTAIN TRIPS marks Flagg's official debut on the comics stage. In honor of the limited series' impending launch on September 10 courtesy of writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and artist Mike Perkins, Marvel.com presents a guide to Flagg's appearances throughout King's body of work. So if you catch the Flagg flu—like many characters in THE STAND—now you'll know where else to turn for relief…
WARNING: Some spoilers for Stephen King works including "The Dark Tower" follow—proceed at your own risk…
"THE STAND" (1978; revised and expanded, 1990)
Flagg made his first, and arguably most famous, official appearance as the villain in King's post-apocalyptic epic. Cheerful, charming, and utterly evil, Flagg is described as "the Man with No Face," a figure who operated on the fringes of terrorist groups, lynch mobs, and death cults for decades, always under aliases beginning with the initials "R.F.," before finally coming into his own as the supernaturally powered, denim-clad dictator of some of the Captain Trips plague's survivors.
"THE EYES OF THE DRAGON" (1986)
While "The Stand" is considered one of King's most realistic works, "The Eyes of the Dragon" contrasts as a straight-up fantasy novel—yet both share Flagg as their big bad. Here, Flagg has been a trusted adviser to—and executioner for—the royal
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court of the kingdom of Delain for generations. The malicious machinations of this sinister sorcerer—who trades his jean jacket for a dark cloak in this medieval-esque era—target kindly King Roland and his sons Thomas and Peter.
"HEARTS IN ATLANTIS" (1999)
King's collection of interlocking, Vietnam-related stories may seem Flagg-free at first, but look closely at the final tale, "Heavenly Shades of Night Are Falling," and you'll note that the leader of a radical group responsible for killing a key character in a bombing goes by the name of Raymond Fiegler, said to be adept at some of the magic used by Flagg in "Eyes of the Dragon." Aliases that use the initials "R.F." tend to be the calling card of a certain Dark Man we all know and loathe…
THE DARK TOWER SERIES (1970-2004)
King views his seven-volume series dark Western fantasy as his magnum opus, and it crosses over with nearly 20 of his other books, sharing characters, concepts, and storylines. Meanwhile, the author acknowledges Flagg as his greatest villain, and he pops up in several different forms throughout his work. It's no surprise that the Walkin' Dude makes his way through "The Dark Tower," then—but the forms he takes and roles he plays present an ever-shifting surprise that we'll leave readers of Marvel's other King adaptation by Robin Furth, Peter David, Jae Lee, and Richard Isanove, continuing in DARK TOWER: TREACHERY #1, also on sale September 10, to discover…