Along with the previous graphic novel I read, The Gunslinger Born was another clearanced item at the same comic shop, this time for only $2. I was surprised, so I asked the clerk if I was reading that correctly, and he told me that Marvel had over-printed the book and gave them about 50 copies, free, and they were just trying to unload them to clear out some stock. Again, it was hard to resist the call of the sale, but I again forgot about the Golden Rule of Why Stores Put Stock on Clearance: It’s not selling that well to begin with.
Now, I figured that this would be a better gamble than the Ythaq book, since I knew the history of the Gunslinger and the Dark Tower series, but this was ultimately disappointing, too. The story is really just a retelling of Roland’s backstory, which was the main story in Wizard and Glass, the fourth book in King’s series. Unfortunately, the story is rushed along, without King’s calculated, timely progression of events, so none of the major events carry any importance at all. It’s difficult to sympathize with any of the characters because everything is compressed as it is, and more importantly, it’s impossible to feel like we should for Roland and Susan, and the entire story hinges on that relationship. King carried the story with a leisurely pace with the proper emotion to make us care; David takes the same story and rushes it along like a freight train, and the story loses the subtlety it needs to have the proper impact. It just serves as a reminder of King’s talent, and makes me want to re-read the original story, rather than get anything significant out of this one.
Ultimately, I just have to ask what the point of the story was. The artwork is evocative and stunning, and you’ll never find yourself losing track of what’s happening during the action (one of my biggest complaints of graphic novels in general), but why not take those elements and apply them to a more interesting story, or at least one that’s more properly told? Of course, I know the answer to that question — money — but if Marvel was unloading crates of these books to stores in an effort to get rid of their stock, then I guess it’s not the right answer. I always suspected as much.