Hail to the King

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So, Stephen King is going to be writing comics for Marvel. With Jae Lee illustrating. It’s a prequel to the Dark Tower series.

That’s pretty big news, really. Major, actually. King is pretty much the biggest name in the world in literature (though, of course, Rowling’s giving him a run for his amazingly large piles of money these days) and having him writing comics can only be good for the medium, the industry, visibility, readers, etc. Maybe even a tipping point for the industry.


Well, probably. Except that Marvel’s press release is worded vaguely enough that it’s not clear whether King is actually going write the book or just oversee it/contribute to it in some way.

And it’s going to be released in monthly, periodical comic form. In case anyone was wondering, I think this makes clear that the current Marvel regime is never going to release an original graphic novel (except for that weird war Iraq propaganda book they were doing a while back. Did that ever come out?). If they won’t do it for King, are they gonna do it for Bendis (or whoever else)?

What makes the decision to use a floppy first frustrating is that when the average book or King reader hears about this, they’re going to want the book right away. And just like any other Stephen King novel, they’re going to expect to be able to buy it in a hardcover, at the bookstore. Instead, they’re going to have to wait months for the serialization of the thing to finish, and then more months for the trade to come out.

Does Marvel not think that they could sell 50,000 copies of an OGN at $30 each, in just the first few months? Because I bet they could. Probably more. Probably a lot more.

By pursuing this path, I fear that Marvel might be squandering a major opportunity. But, hey, they’ve never done that before, right?

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