Stand in the Place Where You Live; Now Face North

I don’t like being scared. I don’t watch horror movies unless forced to. I had never read a Stephen King book in my life. Then, as is so often the case, a cute guy told me how much he loved this book called The Stand and how he could talk about it for hours. Since I very much wanted to spend hours with him, I ran to my local independent bookstore and bought the behemoth of a book. Needless to say, it scared the heck out of me and by the end, I was fairly convinced the end of the world was near. For months afterward, whenever anyone coughed, I would pack my bags and start walking to Boulder. Of course, I always imagined I’d end up in Boulder with Mother Abagail. More likely, I’d find a great rate at the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas and inadvertently join Randall Flagg‘s hellish crusade.

So Marvel has just released issue #1 of their adaptation of Stephen King’s The Stand by Roberto Aquire-Sacasa (Marvel Knights 4, Secret Invasion: Fantastic Four) and Mike Perkins (Union Jack, Captain America). The number on the cover promised it was one of five. A zillion-page book in five comics? I can deal with that. Then I found out it’s really a five-issue miniseries, the first of six. Oh lord, I’m going to have nightmares for the next 10 years at this rate. I found the artwork in #1 to be a little overwrought. Since the subject matter is so gruesome, I suppose the artwork must match it, but in a book that is essentially a morality tale of good versus evil, the photo-realistic artwork feels too self-conscious. Plus, all the line and shadow detail only succeeds in aging each of the characters beyond their years, especially young Frannie. The writing and dialogue are surprisingly sparse, considering the volume of source text, story and character information. Since I know the story, I already started filling in the gaps while reading. A newcomer to the story will undoubtedly require several more issues. I plan to continue reading the series, however, since it will be a new way to revisit an old favorite. I wish someone would do a comic book adaptation of Gone With the Wind. I think Scarlett’s ready for her graphic novel debut. Fiddle-dee-dee.

P.S. On a side note, you can tell The Stand is a period piece, because the gas at Bill’s station is only $1.12. Ah, remember the 80s?