Frontis artwork for The Stephen King Universe by Stanley Wiater and Christopher Golden with Hank Wagner

Frontis artwork for The Stephen King Universe by Stanley Wiater and Christopher Golden with Hank Wagner. Artwork © Alan M. Clark.

The Stephen King Universe

Frontis artwork for The Stephen King Universe by Stanley Wiater and Christopher Golden with Hank Wagner. Artwork © Alan M. Clark.

News From The Dead Zone #108

Breaking News from the Dead Zone

Del Rey, an imprint of Ballantine Books at the Random House Publishing Group, announced the acquisition of the comic book and graphic novel rights to The Talisman. The creative team on the project will be announced soon, and the first issue of the monthly comic is planned for late summer/early fall 2009. “Illustrating The Talisman in the depth that it deserves will involve at least 24 issues of comics, probably more,” said Del Rey Editor in Chief, Betsy Mitchell, who acquired the project from agent Ralph Vicinanza. “It’s a tremendously visual story, filled with images that burn in memory long after the book has been closed.” King’s Dark Tower comics consistently inhabit the top of the comic book sales charts, and his recent series, Dark Tower: Long Road Home was the top-selling comic book in North America in March 2008.

In a recent interview , frequent Spielberg co-producer, Frank Marshall said that The Talisman is back to being a movie. “It’s kind of on the backburner since we’re waiting to see how everything shakes out with the DreamWorks, Paramount, Amblin thing.”

The 10th anniversary edition of Bag of Bones is out in trade paperback. In addition to a Q&A with King where he talks about ghosts, secrets, and being alive, the book contains “Cat From Hell,” which will also be in Just After Sunset.

King and Richard Russo will participate in an on-stage conversation followed by a book signing to be held at Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, Massachusetts, on Thursday, November 6th. The event is A Benefit for The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts and to celebrate the 45th Anniversary of The Odyssey Bookshop. Additional details about the event.

King is Suspense Magazine’s author of the month for October. He conducted a short  interview with the site.

CU-Boulder film student Luke Cheney is making a student film of “In the Death Room,” shooting on Nov. 15 and 16 in Boulder and a Denver studio. Stay tuned for photos from the set as they become available.

In this interview with Patrick McGrath, the author talks about how King helped him get his green card!

Here’s a link to the recent SportsCenter Commercial featuring King.

Barnes & Noble Review, an online literary destination for readers, featuring industry-heralded book reviews, columns, features, and interviews from a wide range of established critics, reviewers, and authors, is celebrating its first anniversary. Regular weekly features on the Review continue to offer readers book news that’s both entertaining and enlightening. In November, King will bring his three favorite reads to Guest Books, where he will join Jamie Lee Curtis, George Pelecanos, and Sandra Tsing Loh in our growing group of notables.

Recent articles in Entertainment Weekly:

News From The Dead Zone #107

Breaking News from the Dead Zone

King conducted another self-interview last week. He says this about the nearly completed novel, Under the Dome: “It’s twice the length of Duma Key. Over 1500 pages in manuscript. The first draft weighs 19 pounds.”

This week, Marvel starts shipping out the first issues of The Stand and Treachery, the third cycle in the Dark Tower series. UGO has a six-page preview of The Stand at their web site. Here is an interview with artist Mike Perkins.

King reviews Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games in the current issue of Entertainment Weekly.

The October issue of Fantasy and Science Fiction magazine containing the new King story “The New York Times at Bargain Prices” is on news stands now.

Filming is now under way in Tipton and Wilton, Iowa and other locations in the Quad-City area for the remake of Children of the Corn. Among the cast: David Anders (Heroes), Kandyse McClure (Battlestar Galactica) and Daniel Newman as Malachai. The film is scheduled to wrap at the end of September and will premiere on the Sci-Fi Channel next year.

Two newish books that might be of interest to you. The Films Of Stephen King, edited by Tony Magistrale is the first collection of essays assembled on the cinematic adaptations of King’s work. Chapters are written by cinema, television, and cultural studies scholars. Haunted Heart: The Life and Times of Stephen King an unauthorized biography by Lisa Rogak will be published in January 2009.

Here is JJ Abrams’ most recent comment on a Dark Tower movie: “The Dark Tower is to me every bit as daunting an adaptation as the Lord of the Rings trilogy must have been for Peter Jackson, except we’ve got seven books we’re looking at. And the idea of doing that at the same time Carlton and I are bringing Lost to a close is simply not viable. There are always Dark Tower conversations, but the figuring out of what this will look like as a movie has not begun. If The Dark Tower were in the right hands, I would love to see seven movies executed just right. But you have to get people to see the first one to get them to come and see the second one.”

Here is the Publisher’s Weekly review of Just After Sunset:

In the introduction to his first collection of short fiction since Everything’s Eventual (2002), King credits editing Best American Short Stories (2007) with reigniting his interest in the short form and inducing some of this volume’s contents. Most of these 13 tales show him at the top of his game, molding the themes and set pieces of horror and suspense fiction into richly nuanced blends of fantasy and psychological realism. “The Things They Left Behind,” a powerful study of survivor guilt, is one of several supernatural disaster stories that evoke the horrors of 9/11. Like the crime thrillers “The Gingerbread Girl” and “A Very Tight Place,” both of which feature protagonists struggling with apparently insuperable threats to life, it is laced with moving ruminations on mortality that King attributes to his own well-publicized near-death experience. Even the smattering of genre-oriented works shows King trying out provocative new vehicles for his trademark thrills, notably “N.,” a creepy character study of an obsessive-compulsive that subtly blossoms into a tale of cosmic terror in the tradition of Arthur Machen and H.P. Lovecraft. Culled almost entirely from leading mainstream periodicals, these stories are a testament to the literary merits of the well-told macabre tale.

News From The Dead Zone #106

Breaking News from the Dead Zone

This week, in Entertainment Weekly, King tells us How TV ruined baseball.

As you’ve probably heard by now, King’s short story “N.” is being adapted as an animated comic by the team at Marvel. During the month of August, a new 1-2 minute episode of the story appears each weekday, for a total of 25 installments. There are many ways to see this on the web and on cell phones, but why not just check back here each day when the new one goes live?

Or you can wait until November and get the limited collector edition of Just After Sunset, which will be packaged with a DVD containing all 25 episodes. King is optimistic about the video’s prospects. “I think they’re readers,” he says of likely video viewers. But he admits that the venture is “something of a test” whose outcome isn’t certain. The story will also be released as a comic book miniseries in early 2009.

The video series has been getting good coverage, including articles in Time magazine, the L.A. Times and at the MTV website.

If you’ve been waiting for news about the illustrated edition of The Little Sisters of Eluria plus The Gunslinger coming from Donald M. Grant, here’s the latest: The book has been sent to the printer and is being proofed. There will be a traycased and a slipcased edition, both illustrated by Michael Whelan. It will contain new art as well as the art originally published in the first edition of The Gunslinger. Grant says: “Price, release date and other details will be posted on our web-site and published in our newsletter. We expect that this will be announced in four to six weeks.”

Pocket books will be issuing a 10th-anniversary trade paperback edition of Bag of Bones, featuring bonus text from King this fall. It includes a Q&A with King where he talks about ghosts, secrets, and being alive.

The Children of the Corn remake is gearing up to start filming in the Quad Cities area of Iowa during September. The remake is being written, directed and produced by Donald Borchers, a producer on the original movie, which was filmed in the Sioux City, Iowa, area and spawned numerous sequels. The budget for the production is estimated at $2 million. Borchers says, “It’s no longer requisite to have a happy ending. We wanted to stay faithful to the decisions in [King’s] original story.”

News From The Dead Zone #105

Breaking News from the Dead Zone

The new official Stephen King web site is now live.

Stephen King Goes to the Movies is a 400-page collection due out from Pocket Books in January 2009. In it, King provides brand new commentaries and introductions for five of his favorite stories that have been adapted for the big screen: The Shawshank Redemption, 1408, Children of the Corn, The Mangler, and Hearts in Atlantis. This big book will include an introduction by King, his personal commentary, and behind-the-scenes insights by Stephen.

Amazon has a promo video on its Just After Sunset page where King discusses short stories.

Visit Ain’t It Cool News for a three-part exclusive showcasing the upcoming adaptation of The Stand from Marvel. Their feature includes new artwork and interviews with the writer and illustrator. Here’s an interview with artist Mark Perkins

King will be judging book trailers submitted for a contest in which amateur and professional filmmakers produce book trailers (similar to movie trailers) based on the SHOMI imprint—a series of modern-day fantasy fiction.  The contest is sponsored by Dorchester Publishing and Circle of Seven Productions. The best trailer—as selected by King—will be shown at a movie premiere in New York City as well as a theater in the winner’s home market.

How do you attract Steven Spielberg’s attention? Canadian filmmaker Mathieu Ratthe wants to adapt The Talisman and has been trying unsuccessfully to get his demo reel to Spielberg, who has had the film option for the novel since it was published. So, Ratthe uploaded his six-minute video The Hotel Room, based on a scene from the novel, to YouTube. The short stars Cameron Bright, who recently played a mutant in X-Men: The Last Stand, as a young man struggling to make sense of a glimpse into a strange alternate universe. The visual effects were done by Montreal-based Buzz Image, the team behind 300. His YouTube page says: “My main objective for creating this piece is to demonstrate my directing ability and my vision to the producers who own the rights to the story: STEVEN SPIELBERG & KATHLEEN KENNEDY.”

This is a strange one! Subterranean Press is publishing a new book by Hard Case Crime founder Charles Ardai called Fifty-to-One. Each chapter of the book will bear the title of a previous HCC novel, including works by Lawrence Block, Richard Stark, David J. Schow and King (The Colorado Kid). There will be 50-copy deluxe edition, signed by many of HCC’s authors (including King) on a tipped-in page in front of the chapter that bears the title of one of their books, and a 500-copy numbered edition signed by Ardai alone. Half of the profits from the deluxe edition will be donated to The Haven Foundation.

Here is King’s more recent Entertainment Weekly column: Why Hollywood Does Not Get Fear. For readers of the print magazine, note that his column no longer appears on the back page, so a quick glance at the magazine doesn’t tell you if he has an essay in a particular issue. Here is another column from a few weeks back: Playing Against Hype.

In a recent interview to publicize their script for “Eaters” on Fear Itself, Richard Chizmar and Jonathan Schaech said, “We have been working on From a Buick 8 for so long and are finally so close to a ‘go’ that we are afraid to talk too much about it and jinx it. What we can say is that we are currently working on one final rewrite for director Tobe Hooper and producer Mick Garris and the good folks at Amicus (producers of the recent Stuck and forthcoming It’s Alive remake).” Once the rewrite is completed, they are prepared to go right into pre-production with plans to film on the East Coast.

News From The Dead Zone #104

Breaking News from the Dead Zone

Producer Nick Wechsler has optioned screen rights to “Throttle,” a 60-page novella written by King and Joe Hill. The protagonists are father-son members of a motorcycle gang that’s chased through the desert by an 18-wheel tanker truck. The novella, inspired by the classic Matheson story “Duel,” will be published in 2009 in the tribute anthology He Is Legend. “It has elements of iconic films like Duel and Breakdown, but with a horror element that I want to push,” Wechsler said.

Graduation Afternoon will be reprinted in the first issue of the new Australian magazine BLACK: Australian Dark Culture.

Here’s a short interview with Christian Slater about the adaptation of Dolan’s Cadillac he is starring in.

A remake of Children of the Corn is gearing up for production this August in Eastern Central Iowa, produced by Anchor Bay Entertainment for a Sci-Fi Channel premiere. Donald P. Borchers – producer of the original 1984 film – is directing the movie from his own screenplay. The film is currently casting with the following synopsis making the rounds: Former Vietnam vet BURT’s marriage to former prom queen VICKY is on the rocks, but Burt hopes to rekindle their old flame with a second honeymoon driving trip. Unfortunately, their journey takes them into the heart of darkness – a seemingly deserted rural community that conceals a grim secret among its rows of tall corn. It was also revealed that this will be a period piece set in the 1970s.

More details and an artwork preview of Dark Tower: The End-World Almanac can be found here.

News From The Dead Zone #103

Breaking News from the Dead Zone

Marvel has announced details of their planned graphic novel adaptation of The Stand, which is scheduled to launch in September. The series writer is Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa. Illustrations will be by Mike Perkins, with color art from Laura Martin. The current plan is to do six five-issue arcs, though that is still flexible. They will be basing the adaptation on the uncut version of the novel.

The Dark Tower: Treachery, the third arc of that series, also debuts in September.

The ultra-rare King short story “The Old Dude’s Ticker” is being reprinted in The BIG Book of NECON edited by Bob Booth, from Cemetery Dance. The story only appeared previously in NECON XX. NECON, in case you are unfamiliar with it, is an annual Horror Writers convention in Rhode Island. I’ve been going to it for the last several years. “The Old Dude’s Ticker,” co-attributed to Edgar Allan Poe, is a riff on “The Tell-Tale Heart.”

Filming began last week on Dolan’s Cadillac in Regina and Moose Jaw, Canada. The cast includes Christian Slater (Dolan), Wes Bentley (Robinson) and Emmanuelle Vaugier. Jeff Beesley is directing from a script by Richard Dooling (Kingdom Hospital). Filming will also take place in Quebec and Las Vegas.

It looks like there’s starting to be some activity in the adaptation of Bag of Bones. A couple of news items reported that location scouting was taking place in Michigan. The West Michigan Tourist Association has been seeking volunteers who’ll give up their “time kissed” lakefront cabin in the trees as a stand-in for “Sara Laughs.”

The final season of USA’s The Dead Zone is now available on DVD in a three-disc set containing thirteen episodes, commentary and behind-the-scenes segments.

News From The Dead Zone #102

Breaking News from the Dead Zone

You can now watch the entire video from the C-SPAN 2 broadcast via their website and/or order the program on DVD.

The Alliance Theatre in Atlanta announced that production of Ghost Brothers of Darkland County, with music by John Mellencamp and a book by horror master King, has been delayed because of “unanticipated scheduling problems which could not be resolved in time for the production.” Members of the creative team “realized the script would not be ready by spring 2009,” the statement said. The Alliance said it now hopes to produce the show during its 2009-2010 season.

News From The Dead Zone #101

Breaking News from the Dead Zone

If you missed last night’s airing on C-SPAN 2 of a Writing Discussion with Stephen, Tabitha, and Owen King, it will run again on Saturday, May 17, at 8:00 a.m. It’s worth catching, because he read from the first pages of the book he is currently working on, which sounds like a re-imagining of a failed novel from the 1980s called The Cannibals at one time and Under the Dome at another. The snippet he read had to do with a woman getting a flying lesson. A twenty-five year old quote from King about the novel: “I’ve gotten about four-hundred-and-fifty pages done and it is all about these people who are trapped in an apartment building.  Worst thing I could think of.  And I thought, wouldn’t it be funny if they all ended up eating each other?  It’s very, very bizarre because it’s all on one note.  And who knows whether it will be published or not.”

King was on the NPR program Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me yesterday playing a game called, “You’re the Warmest, Fluffiest, Most Unthreatening Friend Ever.” Three questions about nice things to ask the man who has scared us to our wits for decades.

Christian Slater and Wes Bentley have signed up to star in the adaptation of “Dolan’s Cadillac.” The thriller follows a young man (Bentley) who seeks to avenge his wife’s murder by the untouchable Las Vegas mobster Jimmy Dolan (Slater). Emmanuelle Vaugier rounds out the key cast on the project, which is scheduled to begin shooting in Saskatchewan and Quebec on May 14. Erik Canuel will direct from Richard Dooling’s adapted screenplay. (Dooling, as you may recall, was King’s collaborator on Kingdom Hospital)

News From The Dead Zone #100

Breaking News from the Dead Zone

Stephen King, crime writer Tess Gerritsen and John Grisham will read at a fundraiser to support Maine Congressman Tom Allen’s campaign for the U.S. Senate on Saturday, June 7. There will be two events on that day, a Host Committee Cocktail Reception from 5:00-6:00 pm and the main event at 7:00 pm at the Bangor Auditorium. Tickets for one or both events are available here. There are some restrictions on who can buy tickets (non-resident aliens can’t, for example), so check out the full announcement here.

News From The Dead Zone #99

Breaking News from the Dead Zone

The debut entry Cemetery Dance’s MySpace blog is my report on The Three Kings event in Washington D.C. two weeks ago. There was also a nice write-up in The Washington Post.

Marvel announced Dark Tower: The End-World Almanac, which will be published on July 2. “Woe unto those who traverse beyond the cursed Borderlands into End-World! ‘Tis a twisted and desolate realm where it seems as if the world passed ages ago. From the blasted landscapes of Thunderclap to the frozen heights of Empathica, End-World shows no mercy to unwary young Gunslingers. In a world where information—and a bit of luck—is the key to survival, the End-World Almanac serves as your guide to the Badlands, Le Casse Roi Russe and beyond!”

Gunslinger Born and its artists received a total of four nominations in the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards: Best Limited Series, Best Penciller/Inker (Jae Lee), Best Cover Artist (Jae Lee) and Best Coloring (Richard Isanove). The results will be announced at an awards ceremony on Friday, July 25 at Comic-Con International.

“A Very Tight Place” will be in McSweeney’s #27, due out on May 1. Much of this 70+ page story takes place in a portable toilet at an abandoned construction site and is classic King. It is also the first King story I can recall that has a gay protagonist. You can get discounted issues at Amazon. Otherwise you’ll have to wait until Just After Midnight comes out this fall to read this great story. It’s not for the squeamish, though. Positively icky in places.

Mick Garris will direct Bag of Bones as a feature film, and executive-produce with Mark Sennett. The screenplay was written by Matt Venne. “What appeals to me about King in general and Bag of Bones in particular is how human it is,” Garris told Fangoria. “The recent King stuff is very adult and very passionate, which I really respond to. I just love the idea of doing a grown-up ghost story.”

Here are some reports about King’s appearance with Lauren Groff:

Recent Entertainment Weekly column: Videogame Lunacy.