The Dark Tower: Gunslinger Born

This week on the show: The man in black fled across the desert… and The Major Spoilers Podcast followed. Plus: IDW Publishing, Boom! Studios, Dynamite Entertainment, AND The Fantastic Four. Also… PORN!


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Show Notes after the Jump!

Polybagged Fantastic Four #587

George R.R. Martin’s Doorways #2 (of 4)
George R.R. Martin (w) • Stefano Martino (a) • Martino, Rebecca Wrigley (c)
Doctor Tom really didn’t know what he was getting into when he helped the mysterious woman, known only as Cat. On the run from the police, federal agents, and the equally mysterious “Thane”, Tom finally steps through one of Cat’s “doors”. Only to find that it may not be that easy to find one home.
*2 regular covers will be shipped in a 1-to-1 ratio
FC • 32 pages • $3.99

Rating: ★★★½☆

Chip ‘N Dale Rescue Rangers #1
Written by Ian Brill
Drawn by Leonel Castellani
COVER A: Leonel Castellani
It’s the return of your favorite furry flatfoots in an all new original ongoing series! Coming on the heels of BOOM!’s bestselling DARKWING DUCK ongoing series, BOOM! brings you another piece of the Disney Afternoon Revolution with CHIP ‘N DALE RESCUE RANGERS. Join DARKWING DUCK writer Ian Brill and MARVEL SUPERHERO SQUAD artist Leonel Castellani as they take the diminutive detectives on all new original adventure! This is the series that will have you singing that song you can never forget: “Sometimes some crimes go slipping through the cracks. But these two Gumshoes are picking up the slack. There’s no case too big, no case too small, when you need help just call —Ch-ch-ch-Chip ‘N Dale Rescue Rangers!”

Rating: ★★½☆☆

40 pages FC  • $5.99  •  Teen +
Cover by ALEX ROSS
“Virgin Art” Retailer incentive cover by ALEX ROSS
Christmas is a time of hope and peace. It’s also a time of cold chills and shadowy spirits, especially when you’re spending the holiday with PROJECT SUPERPOWERS. Fighting Yank, the Ghost and the American Spirit are teaming up to scare the Dickens out of the villainous Clown…but he’s got a bag full of tricks and a secret plan that’s guaranteed to ruin Christmas for our heroes.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

A plethora of superhero adult movies is climbing with more and more companies getting into the schtick. While parody is being claimed, and unless someone wants to enter a prolonged legal battle on what constitutes fair use, it looks like the porno adventures of your favorite heroes will continue. While it may be seen as harmless fun, does it ultimately harm the brand?


MAJOR SPOILERS DISCUSSION: The Dark Tower: Gunslinger Born
“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 bestseller Peter David, this series delves in depth 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! Collects Dark Tower: The Gunslinger Born #1-7.

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Music from this episode comes from Armin Brewer (intro) and James Kennison (closing) from the Nobody’s Listening Podcast. A big thanks to both of these guys for creating kick-ass music for the show!

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  1. Blackthunder01 on

    I don’t think that the Porn Parodies hurt comics at all. I think they do just the opposite. They create buzz for those characters when a movie is about to be released (such as you guys discussing it now) which gets people thinking about them again if they haven’t done so in a while. After finding out what Wonder Woman will look like in the Justice League spoof, it brought the character to the front of my mind and made me want to watch some of the Linda Carter TV show, reread Who Is Wonder Woman, and very much consider buying that beautiful Wonder Woman #600 statue. Normally I wouldn’t have even thought about her since I’ve found her comic to be very dull and boring. (I did think #600 was an interesting premise but I couldn’t stick with it … nor could JMS. lol)

    I’ll tell you this. I was never a fan of Adam West. Still don’t really care for him outside of Family Guy or the Grey Ghost. I never sat through and watched his Batman the Movie either. That is, until AFTER I got the porn parody. I watched the parody and it made me want to buy the “source material” to compare it to … so I did. This put money in someone’s pocket who was not part of the porn industry. I’m sure Wonder Woman will be the same for me. Probably the Hulk and Superman as well.

    Long story short, creating a porn parody of my favorite character does this:

    1. makes me want to read comics with sexy art renderings of them (female only thanks)
    2. makes me nostalgic for old tv shows and movies they’re spoofing from. (I’ll probably buy them because of it.)
    3. fulfills a twisted sick fantasy that the meds are no longer able to cure. lol
    4. and gives me something to laugh at.

  2. I had never read any of the Dark Tower books and only really experiance Stephen King’s works when they are adapted to film. I don’t think Roland’s world is a post apocalyptic one. I think it as world where things from other worlds have fallen through cracks and ended up there, such things as gas pumps, tanks, oil fields etc. The Crimson King is another form of the Walking Dude aka Randal Flagg from THE STAND, so that makes him extra creepy, and those creepy critters that the Katet have to face are basicaly the same ones from the movie THE MIST. Dark Tower seems to be a crossroads to the Stephen King-verse, and I like that. I don’t have the time or patients to read the books, but I do like the reading the summed up goodness.

    • The Crimson King is not Randal Flagg, nor is he the one that Roland is chasing at the beginning of the Gunslinger. The final book in the series makes this fairly clear (Keeping this vague to avoid spoilers. You should really consider picking up the books, they’re some of King’s best.)

      • Exactly, although Randall Flagg is in the Dark Tower books as Walter o’Dim (or the man in black), he identifies himself later in the series to truly be Legion, and in the story that’s presented in A Gunslinger Born, he’s also Marten Broadcloak, the wizard who sleeps with Roland’s mother. He’s also in Eyes of the Dragon as well as a wizard who poisons the King of Delain (which that province exists in The Dark Tower) and frames heir apparent Prince Peter for the murder and then manipulates Peter’s younger brother Prince Thomas into doing his bidding.

  3. There are few mangas that have similar originies as the ones advanced by Rodrigo and Matthew.

    There’s a manga called Kurohime based around gunslingers and magic in an alternate Earth which is pretty fun; steam powered tanks, bullet based magic, Norse Gods are the one people worship and the oriental Gods are the demons.

    Bastard!! (another manga) that takes place in a world of swords and magic, but now and then they talk of the “golem war”, “the magic of the old world” that required no elemental energy and the old world itself which God was called “science”. Basicaly this manga takes place in a post-apocalyptic setting in which scientists destroyed the world throught forbiden bioweapon research, then recreated long gone species to re-populated the Earth (goblins, elves, dragons and so on) and then created a myth in which they are portrayed as having saved the various races and creatures of Earth from the cataclysm, this one is a favorite of mine. Nothing says old medieval city like “Metalicana” or “Deep Purple”, a lot of the cities/spells are named after old schooll rock bands.

  4. The “moved on” world of The Dark Tower is the future. Why do I say this? Over the course of the series, Roland accesses many different “worlds”, but they can all be definitively placed at certain times in our world. Eddie Dean is obviously from the late 80’s of our world. Odetta Holmes is obviously from the 60’s. Jake Chambers is from the late 70’s.

    There are other touches. For instance, Roland walks into a saloon and someone is playing “Hey Jude” on the piano: a song that’s described as almost ancient.

    Also, outside of The Dark Tower series, his decline absolutely started with Tommyknockers. Almost everything else after that tends to be bad to horrible.

    • I would agree up to a point I think. They reference Roland’s world as having moved on and that it’s coming apart at the seams. I do feel like it takes place at a future point in time, but also to a point where reality itself is tearing open and allowing different places and times to converge and allowing gateways into other planes.

  5. Oh, and also, while Roland does become an “awesome bad ass” (to use Rodrigo’s term), he never strays from his fallibility. He messes up and absolutely deals with the consequences, as do his companions (both his childhood ones and the ones he meets as an adult)

    Absolutely recommend this series.

  6. The one thing that I initially wanted to mention here is that the story of A Gunslinger Born wasn’t created specifically for the comic, the story that they are recounting takes place in The Dark Tower IV: Wizard and Glass which actually has Roland and his current companions (Eddy, Susannah, Jake and Oy the Billy bumbler) walking through Topeka, Kansas. It appears to be an alternate post-apocalyptic version of Topeka around the 1980’s though as the baseball team they see a logo for is the Kansas City Monarchs. It’s written as a flashback story-within-a-story that recounts the tale of Roland Deschain (which I always read pronounced Deshane), Alain Johns, and Cuthbert Allgood who travel to Mejis after Roland challenges and defeats Cort and goes through what you read in A Gunslinger Born. It makes sense for the comic to start there even though it’s recounted in the fourth book though, might as well start at the beginning.

  7. The Dark Tower as described in the books is the nexus of time and space. As the crimson king corrupts it, the boundaries between time and space begin to break down. So while Rolands world may or may not be our future, this thinning of the boundaries could explain why items of technology from the 20th century exist. In later books there are wolf shaped robots (The Wolves of Calla- which also features Fr Calahan from Salems Lot) so its not all old timey stuff.
    At one point in The Waste Lands, the Ka-Tet find themselves in a train station where a news paper article has a headline about “Captain Trips”, the superflu from The Stand. So it may just be the world after 99% of humanity is wiped out.

    It’s a bit of a pity you guys didnt know a little more about the series, but I suppose as a die hard fan it was pretty inevitable that I was shouting “WRONG!!!” at my computer as I listened ;D

    The story was inspired by Robert Brownings poem “Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came”. In it Child Roland (childe being and old English term for knight) was on a quest to reach the dark tower to face some unknown evil. As with Kings books, the poem is about the journey not the ending. In it we never get to find out what happens when he reaches the tower or if it is a never ending cycle. Which is almost exactly how King chose to end the series.

    The second book “Drawing of the Tree” is probably my favourite book of all time.

    • Preach on Brother(?) Fizzy!

      I still contend that if I could have any pet imaginable that I’d want a Billy-Bumbler like Oy.

      The Little Sisters of Eluria was a decent addition to the Dark Tower series that came in a separate collection of short stories with other authors as well.

      • Brother would indeed be right!

        I did not know that book existed. It will be mine, oh yes, it will be mine!!

        Thanks Damascus.

        • I wanted to add to my statement about The Little Sister’s of Eluria which is part of the Dark Tower series, originally it was published in 1998 in Legends: Short Novels by the Masters of Modern Fantasy, but what I forgot was that it was recollected by King and released as one of the short stories in his compilation Everything’s Eventual in 2002. That’d probably be the easiest way to get a hold of it and you get the benefit of the other great short stories in that book.

    • It’s a bit of a pity you guys didnt know a little more about the series, but I suppose as a die hard fan it was pretty inevitable that I was shouting “WRONG!!!” at my computer as I listened ;D

      Well that’s the thing isn’t it? If you are trying to bring new readers in, is it important that they know everything about the source material before? In this case, we are not familiar with the source material, and personally I have no interest in reading the full series before discussing a trade paperback – and I would bet most other people who have never read or heard of this series would be thinking the same thing…

      But as always, your mileage may vary. Thanks for your feedback! :D

      • In this case, we are not familiar with the source material, and personally I have no interest in reading the full series before discussing a trade paperback – and I would bet most other people who have never read or heard of this series would be thinking the same thing…

        I know I would. Having the material only be accessible to the hardcore fans is what’s wrong with comics in general, honestly. Roland’s story was ineresting, but it hasn’t made me want to read any more of it.

      • I think more of the issue, for me at least, is that when reading Stephen King, you almost have to stop yourself from trying to infer larger ideas out of the little things that he’s giving you. From my experience, Stephen King doesn’t usually give the reader a lot of exposition right in the beginning of the story that sets the stage for the book, a lot of that builds organically as the story is being told. My only “problem” with your review (isn’t really a problem anyway) is that it seemed like you guys were trying to make this conclusions about the world they live in or where the story takes place in relation to the rest of the epic without really needing to. As you read his story King just jumps right in and starts his tale and you get the location and the mixture of new, old and possibly alternate potential timelines jumping together throughout 7 books.

        For this comic series, they are telling a story that chronologically happened before all the rest of the book, but in his actual novels isn’t revealed until the fourth book, so I understand why they are showing the first events first, but I don’t think it’s as compelling as starting after his world has moved on instead of while Gilead is still a thriving kingdom in the midst of war and turmoil, especially for the story that’s still to be told.

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