Stephen King’s The Dark Tower is a seven book epic following the journey of gunslinger Roland Deschian on his quest to the Dark Tower. In book 4, Wizard and Glass, Roland tells of his youth and the time he became a true gunslinger. It is this story that we follow in The Gunslinger Born, a comic adaption of The Dark Tower overseen by Stephen King, drawn by Jae Lee and Richard Isanove, adapted by Robin Furth and scripted by Peter David. The Gunslinger Born collects all seven of the comics that were released individually in one stunning hardback.
We join a fourteen year old Roland as he discovers his mother’s adultery with Marten, his reaction to this is anger and he challenges Cort, the one that trains the young gunslingers. If he fails he must leave Gilead in shame. Should he win, he will be the youngest gunslinger, pushing his father into second place by two years. Roland triumphs and becomes a gunslinger, although not yet able to take on the sandalwood grip guns of his father, he has his own first set.
His father returns to Gilead, aware of his wife’s affair and disappointed in Roland for reacting the way he did. To protect Roland, his father send him and his two closest friends, Alain and Cuthbert, to Mejis in order to gather information on the activities there and to see if Farson, the one leading an attack on Gilead and its surroundings, has influenced the inhabitants and using resources that are needed for the alliance. It is in Mejis that Roland meets Susan, and in doing so changes his destiny forever.
The graphical style of the comics are truly impressive, with both artists doing a superb job on them. For myself, a long time fan of The Dark Tower books, the collection is a great new experince on some of my favourite stories from them. Even for a first time reader, this is a great introduction to Roland’s world. As I said before, as it is basically a shortened version of the events we are told in Wizard and Glass, but it is still an amazing story and Robin Furth and Peter David have done a great job in adapting and scripting the events to suit comic book format.
All I can add is that I hope further comic books are done on Roland’s life, and if we could get some new stories that between the time of these events and those in The Gunslinger (the first Dark Tower book) it would be even better. Whatever happens, I’ll buy more of these if they are ever made and thoroughly enjoyed my first venture into Gilead and Mejis in this form.