News From The Dead Zone #84

Breaking News from the Dead Zone

Paris Review is now accepting online orders for the Fall issue, which contains the new King story Ayana. Stay tuned, too, in the next few weeks for the December issue of Playboy containing “Mute.” F&SF magazine is tentatively scheduling the publication of a new 3100-word story for the October/November 2008 issue of their magazine. The title of this story is still under consideration.

Actors Judith Ivey and Kelli O’Hara will read short fiction from The Best American Short Stories 2007 on Tuesday, November 6 at 8PM at Westport Country Playhouse in Connecticut. For more information or reservations visit Here’s a Harvard Crimson article about King’s visit to Cambridge to promote the anthology. Also check out this NPR radio interview.

Eli Roth recently told the folks at MTV that he hasn’t yet finished the script for Cell. “I’ve realized that I can’t multitask in the writing department; I can only kind of do one thing at a time. So right now I’m working on [a guest-director episode of] Heroes, and then I’ll work on Trailer Trash, and then we’ll see about Cell after that.”

Here’s an article in The Scientist by the authors of The Science of Stephen King: How now, Stephen King.

Mick Garris said the he hopes to include an adaptation of “Home Delivery” in the new NBC anthology series Fear Itself that he will be producing. Garris originally prepared this story for the Nightmares and Dreamscapes series but Masters of Horror obligations pulled him away.

News From The Dead Zone #76

Breaking News from the Dead Zone

The producers of The Talisman miniseries for TNT got together and looked at their scripts and realized something. This movie is going to cost a lot of money. Due to budgetary issues, the six-hour event has been put on hold, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Mick Garris is quoted in the article as saying that ABC couldn’t afford the four-hour version he wrote back in 2000. This doesn’t mean the project is dead, but 2008 looks like a big question mark right now.

Here is the first trailer for The Mist.

Here are a couple of good interviews/articles about The Long Road Home, the second cycle in the Marvel graphic novel series: Comic Book Resource and Newsarama. The series debuts in February 2008.

Jim Shepard will join Richard Russo and Karen Russell, author of St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves at an evening hosted by Stephen King and The Best American Short Stories 2007 series editor Heidi Pitlor on Oct 16 at 8pm at Memorial Church, 1 Harvard Yard, Cambridge. Admission is $15, which includes purchase of the book. Tickets will go on sale mid-September at Harvard Book Store, 1256 Mass. Ave., Cambridge.

Here is the Publishers Weekly review of The Best American Short Stories 2007 (October 10):

King admits in his introduction that he prefers “all-out emotionally assaultive” stories to those that might appeal to his “critical nose.” Yet King’s selections are right at home among those of recent BASS editors Lorrie Moore, Michael Chabon and Walter Mosley: John Barth’s darkly comic take on aging and mortality; a child’s unforgiving view of her alcoholic parent from T.C. Boyle; an exploration of the grief of a crystal meth addict by William Gay (a writer King notes is a relatively obscure “American talent”); Lauren Groff’s piece about a polio survivor learning to swim during the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic (based loosely on real-life Olympian Ethelda Bleibtrey); Roy Kesey’s imagining of an airport terminal as microcosm of global politics; and Karen Russell’s halfway house for the human children of werewolves (“their condition skips a generation”). Stories drawing on horror and on Maine add a personal King touch to this year’s cull of 20, taken from among the 4,000 that series editor Pitlor read last year in periodicals. The book reflects the variety of substance and style and the consistent quality that readers have come to expect from the series, now in its 30th year.

Misery: Collector’s Edition (October 2) will retail for $19.98 and include the following extras: Feature commentary by Rob Reiner, Feature commentary by Screenwriter William Goldman, “Misery Loves Company” featurette, “Marc Shaiman’s Music Misery Tour” featurette,  “Diagnosing Annie Wilkes” featurette (new),  “Advice For The Stalked” featurette(new),  “Profile Of A Stalker” featurette(new),  “Celebrity Stalkers” featurette(new),  “Anti-Stalking Laws” featurette(new), Original Theatrical Trailer, Original Theatrical Teaser.

Winners in the creative arts categories of the 59th annual Primetime Emmy Awards from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences: Music Composition for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special (Original Dramatic Score): “Nightmares & Dreamscapes: From the Stories of Stephen King: Battleground,” TNT. Special Visual Effects for a Miniseries, Movie or Special: “Nightmares & Dreamscapes: From the Stories of Stephen King: Battleground,” TNT.

News From The Dead Zone #58

Breaking News from the Dead Zone

Lilja reports that Scribner will publish the next Richard Bachman novel, Blaze, on June 12.

Everyone got excited last week when Hollywood Reporter announced that King was in talks with J.J. Abrams to bring the Dark Tower to the screen. Abrams is well known for his work on LOST, and he and King have formed sort of a mutual admiration society. However, it must be emphasized that this is very, very, very preliminary, and nothing might ever come of it. Keep in mind how long a movie based on The Talisman was in discussion before it showed any promise of becoming reality.

I finally had a chance to read through the Marvel Spotlight on the Dark Tower series. It has a two-page letter from King and interviews with Robin Furth, Jae Lee, Richard Isanove and Peter David. The Road to the Dark Tower even gets a couple of mentions, including in Peter David’s interview. Peter David wrote on his website about his experience at the midnight signing at Times Square, and took part in a TV interview at WCSH (Portland, ME) that was up on the web site last time I checked. The same page had an archival interview with Tabitha King if you scroll down to the bottom.

Newsarama released the conventional cover for issue #4 of Gunslinger Born. They also got the David Finch variant artwork for issue 2. See right and click on the images for larger views.

Two new Entertainment Weekly columns: The Secret Gardiner and A Modern Fairy Tale.

Dennis Hopper is in negotiations to star in Dolan’s Cadillac, a movie that was in preproduction a few years ago with Kevin Bacon and Sylvester Stallone attached to it. Then there were rumors of Freddie Prinze, Jr. The report said that production would begin in a couple of months. We’ll see.

The February selection of a signed book through The Haven Foundation will be Hearts in Atlantis (hardcover).  The price will be $60 plus shipping.  The books will go on sale beginning at 12 noon Eastern Time on February 23rd.  Haven has a total of 25 copies available and will be offering them in small lots at random times throughout the day so that they will not sell out within the first 2 minutes of going on-sale as they did in January.  The March selection will be Dreamcatcher (hardcover), also at $60 plus shipping, and the April selection will be Black House (hardcover) signed by both Stephen and Peter Straub for $80 plus shipping. NOTE: Anyone who has purchased a signed Stephen King book through The Haven Foundation will not be eligible to purchase another signed copy. There is a one signed book per household lifetime limit in order to give as many people as possible the opportunity to get a signed book.

Award news from this past weekend: Stephen King’s Desperation won The Art Directors Guild’s Excellence in Production Design Award for best TV movie or mini-series. John Stokes (TNT’s Nightmares and Dreamscapes: From the Stories of Stephen King) won for television movie/miniseries/pilot at the 21st Annual American Society of Cinematographers’ Outstanding Achievement Awards.

News From The Dead Zone #46

Breaking News from the Dead Zone

TNT will team with executive producers Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy and DreamWorks Television for a six-hour miniseries adaptation of The Talisman, scheduled to air on the cable network during summer 2008. “We are so happy and proud to be working with DreamWorks Television and Steven Spielberg after such a tremendous experience making Into the West,” said Michael Wright, senior vice president of original programming for TNT and TBS. “We’ve also had excellent results working with Stephen King’s material on Salem’s Lot and Nightmares & Dreamscapes, so the opportunity to bring these talents together on our network is just about as good as it gets. Like those previous projects, The Talisman is a truly epic production, but one that will present all new challenges and opportunities. We look forward to working with this top-notch team of filmmakers as we create what is certain to be a television event to remember.” Ehren Kruger (Skeleton Key, The Ring) will write the script. No director has been announced yet.

Here is the complete text of the Entertainment Weekly article about King’s meeting with the producers of LOST, and his most current column, the first of his year’s best.

I have an essay about upcoming King projects in the Overlook Connection catalog, which should be out in January. Other contributors to the magazine include Ellen Datlow, Jack Ketchum, Mick Garris, Jonathan Reitan and Rob Zombie. The catalog features over 1,300 related King items, from signed limiteds and first editions to rare magazine appearances and special signed videos by Frank Darabont and Mick Garris. If you use the coupon code BevSentMe, you’ll get $5 off the list price of the catalog, as well as an additional $10 off your purchase total if you buy something else. The Overlook Connection will launch their new web site later this month, but you can have a sneak peak right now.

News From The Dead Zone #39

Breaking News from the Dead Zone

Well, here it is—the day we’ve all been waiting for. Not only does Lisey’s Story come out today, but the DVD set of Nightmares and Dreamscapes is also available starting today. The London Times has a Stephen King special that has reviews, excerpts, interviews, commentary and an exclusive PODcast. King is interviewed in a Financial News segment.

Here is a batch of reviews, which you should read at your own risk. Some of them will likely contain discussions of plot that may spoil the fun of reading Lisey’s Story:

King’s essay “My Little Serrated Security Blanket” will be reprinted in Stephen King: The Non-Fiction from Cemetery Dance.

Thomas Jane will star in The Mist, directed by Frank Darabont from his own script. “It’s a project Stephen King and I have been talking about doing for almost 20 years now. In fact, it almost was my first directing project many years ago, but I went classy and did The Shawshank Redemption instead. It’s time to get down and dirty and make a nasty little character-driven gut-punch horror movie,” Darabont said. Read Darabont’s longer statement about the adaptation at Ain’t It Cool News. Dimension co-chairman Bob Weinstein and production president Richard Saperstein have set a spring production start for the film, which Darabont will produce with Castle Rock’s Martin Shafer and Liz Glotzer. Contrary to early reports, the film will not be shot in black and white. Jane said, “Nah, this is gonna be all-color and pretty amazing. I can’t wait.”

AICN reports that Eli Roth has chosen writers Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski to pen the screenplay of Cell.

News From The Dead Zone #30

Breaking News from the Dead Zone

Cell was nominated in the science fiction/fantasy/horror category of the second annual Quills awards. Through Sept. 30, voters can make their picks online at and at The awards will be handed out at an Oct. 10 ceremony at the American Museum of Natural History. Admission will range from $1,000 for a single ticket to $75,000 for a “Platinum Sponsorship.”

TNT’s Nightmares and Dreamscapes and ABC’s Desperation were both nominated in the “Killer Television” category of the Chainsaw Awards. The first-ever televised fuse Fangoria Chainsaw Awards will be held Sunday, October 15th at the Orpheum Theater in Los Angeles and will premiere on fuse Sunday, October 22nd at 9:30 p.m. EST.

People in the UK will get a chance to see the Nightmares and Dreamscapes series on the digital channel Five US, launching October 16, airing daily between 16:00 and 01:00.

Picture a hand reaching through the earth from beyond the grave to grip at someone visiting the cemetery. Yes, like that famous hand, Carrie is rising from the dead to a second life as a musical. Originally a three-day wonder on Broadway, this new version is called Carrie: A Period Piece. It will debut Off-Broadway at P.S. 122 on Dec. 6 and run through Dec. 30. “It will definitely be very black comedy,” Theatre Couture leader Eric Jackson told “But that’s inherent in the novel. It’s a very serious take on the pressures and pain of adolescence. But Carrie is also so well known in our culture; we all know the story. Everybody feels it’s their story. Because of that collective unconscious, there’s a way to have fun with the story. There will be comedy and camp, and some horror, and maybe a little blood.” Drag performer legend Sherry Vine will star and Basil Twist (Symphonie Fantastique) will create special puppets.

Classify this one under the heading “wild, unsubstantiated rumor.” Cinescape online is reporting that Michael J. Fox is up for a role in DreamWorks’ long-delayed The Talisman. Quoting a source by the name of Scooper Squirrel (Deep Throat was already taken, apparently) “Steven Spielberg is apparently involved with it—in some capacity. I have no idea—either do they—whether he’s going to be playing the main role, or just a role, it was something he apparently mentioned in a meeting….in conversation… and nothing more was said of it.” There you have it—it doesn’t get any more reliable or specific than that!

Peter Straub tells me that the broadcast date of his second appearance as blind detective Pete Braust on One Life to Live is September 21.

News From The Dead Zone #27

Breaking News from the Dead Zone

Mark Haber, director of Crouch End, tells me that the DVD of Nightmares & Dreamscapes will contain an extended version of the episode because it was originally supposed to get the “no commercial” treatment like Battleground. When that plan changed, the episode was edited down to 44.5 minutes from its original length.

Some interviews relating to Nightmares & Dreamscapes, which debuts tonight on TNT:

My buddy Glenn Chadbourne has been announced as the third illustrator for the PS Publishing limited edition of The Colorado Kid. More copies of the traycased edition have become available because King has authorized an additional 48 copies for a total of 100. Each artist will illustrate 33 of these. This edition will feature a gallery at the rear of the book containing all eighteen pieces of artwork, in full color – that’s the three dust-jackets and three sets of five interior pieces. “We will be producing a one-hundredth traycased copy which will have something extra special inside – we haven’t decided exactly what it’ll be yet, but it will be a bona fide one-off: so that means that the author will not be getting a copy and PS will not be getting a copy. The book will be auctioned on the PS website with all proceeds (that means no deduction for production expenses etc) going to the Macular Degeneration Foundation.”

Grey’s Anatomy’s Kate Walsh has joined the cast of 1408. The actress (who plays Mrs. Dr. Shepherd, the wife of “McDreamy”) plays John Cusack’s ex-wife and mother of his young daughter. Shooting starts this summer in the U.K. for a 2007 release.

News From The Dead Zone #26

Breaking News from the Dead Zone

Just one day to go before the debut of the Nightmares and Dreamscapes series on TNT. Here are some promo clips from the network. I’ve read one report that the DVD release will be on October 24th from Warner Home Video. The three-disk set will feature “an unaired extended episode starring William H. Macy” (no further info available), commentary tracks with the cast and crew, along with exclusive documentaries.  The cover art for the DVD pack is here. Scroll down to my June 12th entry for a preview of the series.

Tickets are on sale now for King’s appearance on November 2nd in Portland, Oregon. King’s official web site now has a new threaded message board.

Desperation received Emmy nominations, for Art Direction and Sound Editing for a Miniseries.

News From The Dead Zone #25

Breaking News from the Dead Zone

King’s newest short story “Memory” is now available in Tin Hut magazine, which is available at the magazine stands of many major chain bookstores or can be purchased directly from the publisher using PayPal. He debuted the story at an event at Florida State University several months ago. It is about a man who’s been in an accident and has memory problems when he recovers.

Last Sunday’s Parade magazine featured a profile/interview with King. You can read the article online at the Parade web site.

Just one week to go before the debut of the Nightmares and Dreamscapes series on TNT. Marsha Mason discusses her role in The Road Virus Heads North.

News From The Dead Zone #24

Breaking News from the Dead Zone

There’s a new web page for the Nightmares and Dreamscapes series at King’s official web site. has brief reviews of Battleground,
You Know They Got a Hell of a Band, The End of the Whole Mess, and The Road Virus Heads North. Lawrence Cohen talks about his work on “The End of the Whole Mess” here.

If you don’t get USA Network, or you happen to miss an episode of The Dead Zone, Lions Gate will make Season Five episodes available on the day after their broadcast premiere at USA Network’s online iTunes store. By the end of the summer, all 67 episodes from seasons one through four will be available on the site for fans to download.

News From The Dead Zone #20

Breaking News from the Dead Zone

Talk of an It remake are surfacing again. Peter Filardi, who scripted the ‘Salem’s Lot remake for TNT as well as The Road Virus Heads North for Nightmares and Dreamscapes, told attendees of Fangoria’s Weekend of Horrors that he’s developing a new “televisualization” of It. The project has the attention of the Sci Fi channel and might end up as a four-hour broadcast event, perhaps told from the point of view of Beverly Marsh.

TNT has a new official web site for the Nightmares & Dreamscapes series with galleries, information and games. I’ve also posted the full broadcast schedule, production trivia and interviews on my message board.

TNT sent me screener DVDs of seven of the eight episodes (all except Autopsy Room Four), and I had the opportunity to watch them over the past several days. The first thing I noticed is the high production qualities, which was also true of their ‘Salem’s Lot remake. However, unlike that adaptation, these stories are incredibly faithful to the source material. Where they’ve had to change things (because of length, for deeper characterization or for context), everything seems loyal to the original story’s intent. The acting is top notch, too.

William Hurt is on screen for almost every second of Battleground and never utters a word. A few grunts of pain, but he acts with his face and his body to convey his character’s hard-as-nails pathology. When the impossible starts to happen, he doesn’t talk to himself or utter words of disbelief. He simply reacts as an assassin might. Slowly, though, his hard shell splinters. It’s a tour-de-force performance and sets the tone for the series. The animation and other effects are convincing—as might be expected since the episode is directed by Jim Henson’s son Brian. Screenplay by Richard Christian Matheson, son of the legendary Richard Matheson.

Crouch End is a daring adaptation, since it strays into the surreal world of Lovecraftian mythos. It represents the first time I’ve ever heard some of the bizarre names from Lovecraft pronounced. It also contains the first ever cinematic depiction of what can only be described as a “thinny.” Claire Forlani is the heart of this episode, the pretty, vivacious newlywed on honeymoon who tolerates her husband’s need to network while on vacation, only to find an innocent trip out to dinner turn into madness. The question in this kind of tale is: how much to show and how much to leave to viewer’s imagination. I think this adaptation strikes the right balance.

Umney’s Last Case is the episode I was looking forward to most, and it doesn’t disappoint. William H. Macy is stellar as both Clyde Umney and his creator, Sam Landry. He comes off as stiffly stereotypical in the opening moments, until you realize that’s exactly what he is. One of my favorite moments takes place when Sam steps into the detective’s shoes, starts hearing awkward dialog coming out of his mouth and checks himself. A few seconds later he lets loose some purple prose straight out of Chandler, and he stops to admire it. The ending is a little abrupt, which dilutes the episode’s impact, but these screeners aren’t 100% complete, so they may do something in the production version that softens this nebulous finale.

I saved The End of the Whole Mess until the end because it was the story I had the least interest in, but it turns out to be a strong episode. I really like the emotional arc of this one. It makes use of the dreaded voice-over technique, but in a clever way that makes sense, given what the main character does for a living.

Tom Berringer. Wow. What more can I say? In The Road Virus Heads North, he plays  Richard Kinnell, a horror writer who has just received disturbing news. On the way home from a lecture—which is a horror show in its own right—he picks up a creepy painting and things start getting strange. Marsha Mason has a nice cameo as his Aunt Trudy. This is the other episode that has a less-than-satisfying conclusion, but everything up to that moment is pure terror. Unlike William Hurt’s character, Berringer does talk to himself, expressing shock, amazement and disbelief. Both approaches work because they reflect character.

The Fifth Quarter is probably the story readers will be least familiar with. It’s a straight crime drama, with no supernatural elements. It’s about dishonor among thieves, and their other associates, too. It’s a brutal episode, with lots of realistic violence. Samantha Mathis, though she isn’t the primary focus of the story, carries the show from beginning to end. Jeremy Sisto turns in a strong performance, too, as the guy who can never quite get it right, who has spent all but eighteen months of his seven-year marriage behind bars.

The series ends with You Know They Got A Hell of a Band, which is the lightest, most whimsical episode, and probably the weakest entry. It stars Steven Weber, who impresses me less each time I see him, and Kim Delaney. I didn’t buy into their relationship, which weakens the story. Delaney looked odd and Weber’s delivery isn’t convincing. The episode also has the most outright grue (maggots, empty eye sockets, etc.) but is tongue-in-cheek throughout. It’s sort of fun, but the tone feels completely different from the other episodes.

The series debuts a month from today. Check it out! I look forward to hearing viewer feedback about the individual episodes, and I especially want to discuss the last couple of minutes of Crouch End!

News From The Dead Zone #19

Breaking News from the Dead Zone

Well, Desperation went over like a lead balloon, in terms of both ratings and popular opinion. I was surprised by how poorly it was received in general, not only by the critics but by the fan base. I enjoyed it. Watched it twice in fact. If you missed it, the DVD release is scheduled for August 29th, and will feature an on-camera interview with King and commentary track by Mick Garris.

Coming up next is the Nightmares and Dreamscapes series. You have two chances to see parts of it early. CHUD is offering a a sneak peek of two episodes for people in the Atlanta area. Details here. A special presentation will take place at the next FANGORIA’s Weekend of Horrors convention, presented by Anchor Bay Entertainment, to be held June 2-4, 2006 at LA’s Burbank Airport Hilton. Guest speakers previewing the eight-part TNT series event will be directors Brian (Farscape) Henson, Rob (The X Files) Bowman and Mikael (‘Salem’s Lot) Salomon; scripters Richard Christian Matheson and PeterFilardi and Crouch End actress Claire Forlani. In addition, two episodes will make their world premieres at the con: Battleground and You Know They Got a Hell of a Band. The King-sized panel and BATTLEGROUND screening will close the convention late Sunday.

News From The Dead Zone #15

Breaking News from the Dead Zone

The countdown to Desperation (ABC, May 18) has begun. A few people have reported seeing a trailer on television. The current issue of TV Guide (Without a Trace cover) has a small paragraph about the three-hour movie with accompanying photos.

King discusses his depiction of Malden, Massachusetts in Cell in this interview.

Sci Fi Channel will run Kingdom Hospital in four-hour blocks on Tuesday nights starting April 11. The network has also purchased the replay rights to ‘Salem’s Lot (miniseries), The Langoliers, Rose Red and Storm of the Century.

Check out several batches of photos from the upcoming Nightmares and Dreamscapes series at Lilja’s Library.

News From The Dead Zone #5

Breaking News from the Dead Zone

Cell fever is building! Kirkus’s review is now online (may contain spoilers). The official Cell web page is active. If you sign up your cell phone number you’ll receive text message alerts in the coming days (standard charges will apply) and be entered in a contest to win cool signed stuff. Here’s a Wall Street Journal article about the marketing campaign.

See these articles for news about Creepshow 3, which involves neither King nor original director George Romero. The first, at MoviesOnline, shows the campy movie poster and the second at Hollywood News, lists the five new stories featuring unknown actors being adapted for this direct-to-DVD release.

William Hurt is currently in Australia filming “Battleground” for the TNT Nightmares and Dreamscapes series that will start airing in June.

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.


* * *

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!