“The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.” It’s one of my all-time favorite opening lines in a book, setting the stage for a fantasy-horror-western seven-book epic that spans twenty-seven years of Stephen King’s career. The Gunslinger, Roland of Gilead, is the last of his kind in a world that no longer resembles the one he grew up in. He seeks the Dark Tower, a place that unites the universe, and which may hold the key to preventing more decay in the world. He seeks the Man in Black, who may hold the secret of finding the tower and to Roland’s destiny. Roland believes he will do anything to get to the tower, he has sworn to find it, but the price for a meeting with the Man in Black may be too high. The Dark Tower Novels are a must-read for Stephen King fans.
The series has spawned the prequel graphic novels The Dark Tower by Peter David, which was listed by the American Library Association as one of the best graphic novel series for teens for 2009. Beginning with Roland winning his guns, the comics show the love, the loss and the war that turn Roland from a serious kid into the hardened gunslinger we meet in the first Stephen King novels. The art in these books is amazing, but also gory. The story is scary and sad. I highly recommend it. The graphic novels are rated PG by Marvel, which they suggest as 15+ for more explicit content.