News From The Dead Zone #51

Breaking News from the Dead Zone

Parts I and II of Lilja’s interview with Stephen King are online at Lilja’s Library. Part I covers such topics as Fan sites, Blaze and The Haven Foundation. In Part II, King talks about Duma Key, Jack Sawyer and The Gingerbread Girl. Part III appears tomorrow.

In March, Marvel will publish Gunslinger’s Guidebook, which appears to be a concordance type book for the Dark Tower graphic novel series. “May luck rise to meet you, sai. Dark days have befallen the once powerful Affiliation. As the Good Man’s revolutionaries continue their assault on the civilizations of the Inner Baronies, young Gunslinger Roland Deschain of Gilead and his loyal ka-tet embark eastward on an undercover mission to the distant Outer Barony of Mejis on behalf of the Affiliation. The Gunslinger Guidebook serves as your essential guide for Gilead to Mejis and all points in between – featuring profiles on the Big Coffin Hunters, Sheemie Ruiz, and Rhea of the Coos.” Click the cover image for a larger version.

Nicole Boose has a new entry in her Marvel blog, The Error That Almost Was. Issue 1 of the series is at the printers.

Peter David and Jae Lee will sign The Gunslinger Born #1 at Midtown Comics at midnight on February 6th at Times Square.

News From The Dead Zone #50

Breaking News from the Dead Zone

The Haven Foundation will be offering a very limited supply of signed books by Stephen King each month. The January selection is Secret Window. This was published as an exclusive Book-of-the-Month Club anthology of hard-to-find non-fiction pieces, little-known interviews, short stories, and articles, with an Introduction by Peter Straub. It was intended as a companion to On Writing. Copies will go on sale at 12 PM on Monday, January 15th (eastern time zone) and will be on an ‘as supplies last’ basis. They may be purchased at the Haven Foundation store. Unsigned hardcover copies of other King titles will also be available for purchase at the original cover price plus shipping. Many of these are now out-of-print in the hardcover edition. New titles will be added as they become available, so check back often for current inventory.

Through The Signed Page, Richard Isanove, the colorist of The Gunslinger Born, will be signing copies of the comic book for those who can’t meet him at New York Comic Con in February. Here’s a new interview with scripter Peter David and cover art from issue 3 and an interview with Jae Lee.

Stay tuned for an in depth interview with King at Lilja’s Library. He reported yesterday, “Abiut an hour ago I hung up the phone after doing a 45 minute long phone interview with King himself. Yes, you heard correct. Hearing ‘Hello Hans? Steve King…’ when I answered the phone was probably one of the weirdest (in a very good way) things I have ever experienced.”

You can buy the original cover art or prints of Edward Miller’s cover art for the PS Publishing edition of The Colorado Kid here.

Dorman T. Shindler reviewed Secretary of Dreams in the St. Louis Dispatch. He called it “a Twilight Zone-like anthology featuring illustrated works by Stephen King that are reminiscent of the EC horror comics the author professes to love. The tales gathered here—featuring hordes of invading zombies, a haunted truck and a ‘storm’ of frogs—are well-suited to the treatment. And Glen[n] Chabourne’s pen and ink, nightmarish, illustrations (featuring lots of skeletal detail, rotting skin and deranged stares) is the perfect accompaniment. The difference here is that none of King’s words is edited, so the illustrations enhance rather than replace the prose. That makes for near perfection when it comes to King’s 1981 World Fantasy-winning story, ‘The Reach,’ a story Joyce Carol Oates once termed elegantly composed.” Here’s the transcript of Glenn Chadbourne’s recent chat.

News From The Dead Zone #49

Breaking News from the Dead Zone

January 4, 2007: Happy New Year! Welcome back to News from the Dead Zone. This should be an exciting year, with the possibility of two new novels, at least two films, the graphic novel series and who knows what else? You’ll know what else—if you keep checking out this page.

The Marvel web site has lots of new goodies to promote the Dark Tower graphic novel series, which will be out in just over a month from now. On the main DT page you can download a cool screensaver and wallpapers and watch a trailer for the series. On the blog page, Nicole Boose presents a first look at some of the extra material that will be included with the first issue: a map of New Canaan based on a sketch provided by Robin Furth. The previous blog entry is here.

Here’s an interview with Dark Tower comic scripter Peter David

A group called Dead Issue has a song called The Last Gunslinger inspired by Roland on their MySpace page. I haven’t listened to it yet, but I thought I would pass this along.

Filming of The Mist is slated to commence filming February 20 for a tentative November 21 release.

Rebecca Gibney says King called (director) Mikael Salomon after seeing The End of the Whole Mess to tell him it was one of the best adaptations of any of his works that he’d ever seen.

Pan’s Labyrinth director Guillermo del Toro told SCI FI Wire that he hand-carried a copy of his movie to King’s Maine to screen it for him personally. King later named it his favorite film of 2006. “Even now, when you say it, I get chills,” del Toro said in an interview this week in Beverly Hills, Calif. “I do. I mean, … Stephen King has been a huge influence.” del Toro, “like a Muslim going to Mecca,” hand-toted two enormous film cans containing a print of his movie through three airports from Los Angeles to Bangor. “And then I arrived to a theater that, technically, was very hard for me to go, ‘Oh, this is the optimal screening,'” del Toro said. “And yet, to this day, it remains the best screening of my entire life. Because I was sitting next to Stephen King, and he was squirming during the impalement sequence, and I was like, ‘It doesn’t get better than this.'” The FX people who did Pan’s Labyrinth will be doing The Mist, by the way.

Subterranean Press announced recently that they should receive their slipcases for the new edition of The Green Mile within a few weeks, at which time the marathon shipping operation will commence.

I started a new book review site called Onyx Reviews, where I’ve posted a bunch of my book reviews and a couple of interviews. The Owen King interview appeared previously online but the Tabitha King interview appears here for the first time.

News From The Dead Zone #48

Breaking News from the Dead Zone

If you subscribe to the newsletter from Stephen King’s official web site, you received a notice late last week concerning a chance to buy a signed copy of The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon or John Irving’s Until I Found You from a special store set up at The Haven Foundation website. Though the King books aren’t first editions, $40 for a signed hardcover with unequivocal provenance is a great deal in today’s market. The approximately 200 copies sold out very fast, but subscribe to the newsletter or check the Haven web site for future offers throughout the winter. Haven is the replacement for the Wavedancer Foundation, an organization designed to support people in the book and publishing industry who have little or no financial cushion in the event of a sudden catastrophic accident. All proceeds from the sale of these books goes to Haven.

Both Stephen King and Robin Furth will be attending New York Comic Con at the end of February. King will be a Guest of Honor and will appear with Furth on a special panel hosted by Joe Quesada, Editor In Chief of Marvel Entertainment, Inc. on Saturday, February 24. Marvel is beginning a full-court press to support the Dark Tower comic series. One of the series associate editors has established a Dark Tower Blog at the Marvel web site. There’s also an article in today’s USA Today (Dark Tower looms in graphic form) and the newspaper’s website has the e-mail Q&A that gave rise to the article. Both links have sample artwork from the first issue.

CaféFX Plus (Pan’s Labyrinth, Eragon, Ghost Rider) will be doing special effects for Frank Darabont’s The Mist, starring Thomas Jane, who describes the script as “12 Angry Men with monsters.” The movie will be shooting in Shreveport, LA at the end of February for a couple of months.See the interview with Jane here. (Windows Media).

Here are King’s three top-ten lists for 2006: Books, Music, Movies.

News From The Dead Zone #47

Breaking News from the Dead Zone

Check at your local comic shop today for the free Dark Tower sketchbook to promote The Gunslinger Born. This 16-page booklet has pencil art and character design by Jae Lee and some sample color art demonstrating how Richard Isanove developed the sketches. Here is the description of Issue 2 of The Gunslinger Born: “Roland has incurred the wrath of the evil sorcerer Marten, and must flee his home in Gilead with two of his young friends. But arriving in the supposedly friendly town of Hambry may be no safer, for the dreaded agents of Marten are abroad—The Coffin Hunters! Though it’s not all completely bleak as Roland meets the woman who will become the love of his young life—the beautiful Susan Delgado. Plus: Learn more about the land of the Dark Tower with exclusive bonus material!”

The current Entertainment Weekly contains King’s top ten books of 2006, but there’s one author he didn’t include in that list. However, he rectifies that situation on his web site, lavishing extravagant praise on crime novelist Meg Gardiner.

Here are a couple of reviews of the new off-Broadway rendition of Carrie: They Could Have Danced All Night, if They Hadn’t Died and Happy Horror Days.

Thomas Jane has confirmed that he will be playing the part of David Drake in The Mist, directed by Frank Darabont. Filming is expected to start early in 2007.

News From The Dead Zone #44

Breaking News from the Dead Zone

Some great interviews and features and reports:

Here’s a nice overview of critical response to Lisey’s Story.

I’ve had an unconfirmed report that King will be on BBC4’s Desert Island Disks on Sunday, November 19th. This program will likely NOT be archived on the BBC site after it is presented due to rights restrictions.

The new Carrie stage play runs off-Broadway at P.S. 122 in New York from December 2-30th. Tickets, priced $18, are available by calling (212) 352-3101. P.S. 122 is located at 150 First Avenue at Ninth Street.

After about a week on eBay, the bench King signed for charity went for a little more than $2,000. Someone in Virginia bought it. The money goes to the Maine Discovery Museum in downtown Bangor.

Don’t expect esteemed filmmaker Frank Darabont to make nice with The Mist. “This one’s more angry than what I’ve done before,” he tells the Los Angeles Daily News. “To get my ‘shoot fast and loose’ legs under me, I did an episode of The Shield. I had such a blast. I put aside everything I know about filmmaking, the whole Kubrick wannabe approach and shook things up.”

Here’s the official announcement about the Dark Tower graphic novel series debut, and a profile of artist Jae Lee:

DARK TOWER: THE GUNSLINGER BORN #1 (of 7)
COVER BY: JAE LEE
WRITER: ROBIN FURTH
PETER DAVID
PENCILS: JAE LEE
COLORED BY: RICHARD ISANOVE
LETTERED BY: CHRIS ELIOPOULOS

THE STORY:
“The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.” With those words, millions of readers were introduced to Stephen King’s Roland—an implacable gunslinger in search of the enigmatic Dark Tower, powering his way through a dangerous land filled with ancient technology and deadly magic. Now, in a comic book personally overseen by King himself, Roland’s past is revealed! Sumptuously drawn by Jae Lee and Richard Isanove, adapted by long-time Stephen King expert Robin Furth (author of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower: A Concordance) and scripted by New York Times Best-seller Peter David, this series delves deep into Roland’s origins—the perfect introduction to this incredibly realized world, while long-time fans will thrill to adventures merely hinted at in the novels. Be there for the very beginning of a modern classic of fantasy literature!
48 PGS./CARDSTOCK COVER/Parental Advisory …$3.99

PRICE: 3.99
IN STORES: 2007-02-07

News From The Dead Zone #41

Breaking News from the Dead Zone

Lisey’s Story entered the USA Today mixed fiction/non-fiction bestseller list at #1.

Craig R Baxley (Kingdom Hospital, Storm of the Century) hopes to direct a film version of Gerald’s Game starring Nicole Kidman, adapted by King.

If you’re looking for one of the oddest Stephen King collectable items, check out an auction starting today for a signed bench.

At his appearance in New York last week, King said the he has spoken with Peter Straub about the final book in the Talisman trilogy. He sees the story as “sort of a 24 thing” where Jack can only travel back to our world for brief periods because it accelerates his death.

Marvel Spotlight: Dark #14, on sale on January 17, will have a feature on the Dark Tower graphic series. “We’ll talk to the creative team that will unite Marvel Comics with the concepts of one of the giants of modern fiction, getting an inside look at Robin Furth, Peter David and Jae Lee and we’ll even talk to Stephen King himself! So if you’re a longtime fan of DARK TOWER or curious as to what it’s all about, you’ll want to check out this issue.”

News From The Dead Zone #35

Breaking News from the Dead Zone

Newsarama reports that comic stores will be giving away copies of  The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger Born Sketchbook starting in December. It features character designs, penciled pages, commentary, and a primer on the world of the Dark Tower. The Sketchbook comes out two months before the Marvel Dark Tower graphic novel launches.

For people wanting to attend King’s Literary Arts benefit appearance in Portland, Oregon on November 2, here is a link that will get you right to their box office.

Cemetery Dance has been secretly working on three new projects: Stephen King: The Non-Fiction and Stephen King: A Primary Bibliography of the World’s Most Popular Author are going to the printer this week and Stephen King’s The Dark Tower: The Complete Concordance will be going next month. All three will be out at the end of the year. Find out more at their Breaking News page.

News From The Dead Zone #12

Breaking News from the Dead Zone

Dark Tower Concordance author Robin Furth sat down for a lengthy interview with Lilja for his website. Among her revelations is the fact that she’s working on a single-volume version of the Concordances, which Scribner will release this year or next year in paperback, with a limited hardcover edition from Cemetery Dance. She also discusses the Marvel Dark Tower series in detail. The first series of seven comics will retell the Hambry section of Wizard and Glass. The rest of the comics (there will be thirty in all) cover the time period between Roland leaving Hambry and the fall of Gilead.

News From The Dead Zone #1

Breaking News from the Dead Zone

Welcome to the first installment of the web version of News from the Dead Zone. Those of you who read Cemetery Dance magazine know that I’ve been publishing a column in every issue for nearly five years now. However, because of the magazine’s publication schedule, getting timely information out has been a little problematic. With the relaunch of their web site, the good folks at CD suggested doing an online “lite” version of my column. The magazine version will continue, focusing more on in-depth analysis, review and commentary than on breaking news.

Up top, you’ll always find a handy-dandy calendar of important, upcoming dates so you can see at a glance what’s on the horizon. Then I’ll expand briefly on each item as news is announced. Then follow up in the next issue of CD magazine for more details and commentary.

* * *

The next book due out from King is called Cell, which will be published on January 24th, 2006. Here is the description from the publisher as posted to the Barnes & Noble web site.

Civilization doesn’t end with a bang or a whimper. It ends with a call on your cell phone.

What happens on the afternoon of October 1 came to be known as the Pulse, a signal sent though every operating cell phone that turns its user into something . . . well, something less than human. Savage, murderous, unthinking-and on a wanton rampage. Terrorist act? Cyber prank gone haywire? It really doesn’t matter, not to the people who avoided the technological attack. What matters to them is surviving the aftermath. Before long a band of them-“normies” is how they think of themselves-have gathered on the grounds of Gaiten Academy, where the headmaster and one remaining student have something awesome and terrifying to show them on the school’s moonlit soccer field. Clearly there can be no escape. The only option is to take them on.

Cell is classic Stephen King, a story of gory horror and white-knuckling suspense that makes the unimaginable entirely plausible and totally fascinating.

I should have a review for you in the next issue, but let me just say that this book is sure to inspire some interesting discussions, with comparisons to classic books like The Stand and darker tales like The Regulators. King describes the book as “like cheap whisky . . . very nasty and extremely satisfying.” I find it interesting that the main character in Cell is a graphic novel artist who has just sold his first major project, given the recent announcement of a graphic novel Dark Tower series (see below).

When you read the book, look out for a character named Ray Huizenga. His sister paid $25,100 in an eBay charity auction of character names benefiting the First Amendment Project. The real-life Huizenga is a fishing captain and longtime King fan, but is also the son of the owner of the Miami Dolphins. Huizenga beat out another strong bidder who was willing to take out a credit line on his house for the honor of having a character in Cell named after him.

* * *

The Dark Tower fan community was recently thrilled to learn that Marvel comics was planning to release a series of graphic novels based on untold Dark Tower stories. Originally planned for a May 2006 release, a recent memo on King’s web site revealed a new schedule for this project.

Stephen and Marvel have decided to push back the launch of the Dark Tower comic books to 2007. “Given the size of the project and all the creative talent involved, I want to give the Marvel series all the room to breathe it needs and deserves,” said Stephen. “I’ve got so much else going on in 2006-two novels coming out, Cell and Lisey’s Story, and the work with John Mellencamp on ‘Ghost Brothers of Darkland County.’ The Marvel series is going to be a blast, and I want to have the time to enjoy it.”

The 1st issue of the yet-to-be-named first arc of the Dark Tower comic series will be shipping in February 2007. The last issue of this six-issue series will be shipping in July 2007. The first hardcover collection will be shipping in October 2007.

Though original reports billed this project as The Dark Tower 8, in truth the stories will fill in some of the gaps in Roland’s early history, in the era covering the trip to Mejis and the final battle at Jericho Hill, “new stories that delve into the life and times of the young Roland, revealing the trials and conflicts that lead to the burden of destiny he must assume as a man.”

Jae Lee is the illustrator who will bring King’s stories to life, and the colorist is Richard Isanove. The complete number of series has not been announced, but there may be as many as six different stories.

Links:

* * *

A stellar cast has been announced for the eight-part series Nightmares & Dreamscapes: From the Stories of Stephen King that will debut on TNT next June. Despite the show’s name, the stories actually come from several King collections. The eight stories being adapted are:

  • Umney’s Last Case
  • You Know They Got a Hell of a Band
  • The End of the Whole Mess
  • The Fifth Quarter
  • The Road Virus Heads North
  • Battleground
  • Crouch End
  • Autopsy Room Four

Though originally scheduled to be part of the series, Mick Garris’s adaptation of “Home Delivery” was shelved due to schedule changes for the series and his commitment to the Masters of Horror series on Showtime, which was recently renewed for a second season.

Among the cast members announced for the series are Steven Weber, Kim Delaney, William H. Macy, Henry Thomas, Tom Berenger, Marsha Mason, William Hurt and two actresses familiar from the recent ‘Salem’s Lot remake, Samantha Mathis and Rebecca Gibney. Richard Christian Matheson adapted “Battleground” and Lawrence M. Cohen (Carrie) penned “The End of the Whole Mess.” The show will run one episode per week during the summer months of 2006 starting with “Umney’s Last Case”—one of my favorite short stories—which will reportedly run without commercials. Filming is currently taking place in and around Sydney, Australia. An upcoming issue of Fangoria will feature a visit to the set.

* * *

King and his collaborator John Mellencamp got together in November to continue their work on a musical production about death and reconciliation called “Ghost Brothers of Darkland County.” A member of The Dark Tower dot Net forum helped crew the latest reading. A self-admitted skeptic when he first heard about this project, he reported that the music is fantastic, the cast was great and, though there is still work to be done, he says it will be a worthwhile endeavor.

Mellencamp reports that the guys who did “Spamalot” are now involved, which may make the final stages of development “less hectic.” King’s story involves two brothers who dislike each other immensely. Their father takes them to their family vacation cabin, where, a generation before them, the father’s two older brothers killed each other in a similar sibling rivalry.

“There’s a confederacy of ghosts who also live in this house,” Mellencamp told Billboard. “The older (dead) brothers are there, and they speak to the audience, and they sing to the audience. That’s all I want to say, except through this family vacation, many things are learned about the family, and many interesting songs are sung.”

* * *

Quick Notes:

  • CD’s very own Rich Chizmar co-scripted an adaptation of From a Buick 8 that is currently attached to George Romero as director, who also has the film rights to The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon. However, recent reports hint that Romero may tackle another zombie feature before working on either of these King adaptations.
  • Galleys of Stephen King: Uncollected and Unpublished by Rocky Wood (The Complete Guide to the Works of Stephen King) are in distribution, so the book can’t be far behind. I’ve started perusing my copy and am impressed by the amount of information and detail contained in this volume. In addition to containing the first appearances of some very rare King works (a poem, and a chapter from the early novel Sword in the Darkness), the book highlights the various appearances of rare King stories and indicates the ones that were substantially revised for later publication. Makes me want to go back to some of the earlier appearances to refresh my memory of what the stories were like in their original incarnations.
  • A new King project called The Secretary of Dreams was announced recently. Stay tuned to the CD web page for more details very shortly. This one is very cool!

Have news, information, corrections? E-mail me!