The Horror Honeys: A Stephen King Week Guest Honey Comic Retrospective!

A Stephen King Week Guest Honey Comic Retrospective!




Happy Stephen King week everyone! My name is Shannon and I am the Guest Honey today, writing about Stephen King and his relationship with Horror comics in the past, present and his influence on future comic writers.

The Beginning
Stephen King has referenced his horror influences in his books On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft and his horror genre critique, Danse Macabre, citing his influences from legendary horror authors like HP Lovecraft and Edgar Allan Poe to the modern medium of Horror comics.
Stephen King talked about reading EC Comics in the 1950s, like Tales from the Crypt and Vault of Horror, using their dialogue and narration as practice for his own writing. This was about the time EC Comics, as well as all publishers of Horror and Crime comics, went through a backlash for its violent content and would not be a very popular subject for the general populace.
Despite the unpopularity of Horror comics at the time, they were an influence on the young Stephen King who thus has become an influence for future horror writers and horror comic creators alike.
Comic Writing 
Stephen King has been a name in the world of horror fiction since 1974 when his first novel Carrie was published (although if one were to look at his unpublished work, his bibliography extends beyond that). His earliest comic writing work actually goes back to a film collaboration with famed director George Romero.

In 1982 Stephen King and George Romero created a film called Creepshow which is a loving homage to the old horror comics of their youth. Along with the film, they created a comic adaptation of Creepshow… a comic adaptation of a film which is an homage to horror comics.
The comic adapted all five of their short stories from the film, illustrated by the horror comic legend Bernie Wrightson (He’s been working in comics since the 70s and is still going!)
Since CreepshowStephen King has written introductions/short stories for other comic books like X-Men, Batman and even Archie comics. It wasn’t until 2010 when he collaborated with creators Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuquerque on American Vampire – a supernatural western comic series from DC’s Vertigo Imprint, that he wrote the story for a full length issue.
Stephen King wrote two stories during the first five issue run of American Vampire and also wrote an introduction to the Volume 1 hardcover, talking about Vampires, comics and his adjustment to writing a new medium.

Adaptations
For the small amount of comic writing credits to King’s name, there are certainly a number of adaptations of his written work to the sequential art form.
TV networks and movie studios have been trying for years to adapt Stephen King’s The Dark Tower, however due to the extensive universe in a science fiction, fantasy and Western setting; the budget would be massive. Comics don’t have much of a financial restraint: if you can draw it, you can make it happen.
Through their MAX imprint, Marvel has been adapting The Dark Tower books into comics since 2007, starting with The Gunslinger Born and most recently, The Man in Black. The books are adapted by Robin Furth (Dark Tower: A Complete Concordance) and the scripts are written by Peter David (Incredible Hulk, Supergirl). The interior art of the comics are illustrated by Richard Isanove (X-Men Unlimited, Red Sonja) and Sean Phillips (Hellblazer, Judge Dredd)
MAX has also adapted Stephen King’s post-apocalyptic horror/fantasy series The Stand, into 31 issues over 6 arcs, starting with The Stand: Captain Tripps in 2008. The book has been adapted by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (Big Love, Glee) and is illustrated by Mike Perkins (Spider-Man, Captain America). Over The Dark Tower and The Stand comics, Stephen King has overseen the creative direction of both comic adaptations.
Along with big name adaptations to King’s work, there are also smaller publications of comics which adapt Stephen King’s stories. Marvel did a small miniseries of Stephen King’s N and Del Rey Books published a 6 issue mini-series of Stephen King and Peter Straub’s, The Talisman. In 2012, IDW did an adaptation of Stephen King and Joe Hill’s Road Rage: Throttle
Stephen King also had his work adapted into webcomic with the adaptation of his short story Little Green God of Agony published in October 2012. You can check out the 24 page comic HERE.
Along with Stephen King, his son Joe Hill has also made a name for himself in comics, with his most notable work: Locke and Key for IDW publishing. 
The series started in 2008 with artist Gabriel Rodriguez and their first arc, Locke and Key: Welcome to Lovecraft. The books have proven very popular with the series finishing at 6 volumes and the possibility of a television series.


Conclusion
There is no question that without the influences of horror comics that Stephen King consumed during his youth, he would not be the author he is today and the landscape of horror fiction would be very different. It is also important to note Stephen King’s full circle back evolution back to comics, which has made the medium much more palatable to those outside the comic community that might not interested in the typical superhero fare.
From this Honey who cut her teeth on the novels IT and Misery, I say cheers to Stephen King for his wonderful work. And for everyone else, check out King’s comics or any wonderful horror comics out there, past and present, that might suit your dark little desires.

Shannon LeClerc is a freelance animator, illustrator and comic artist in Vancouver working in the Science fiction, Fantasy and Horror genre. You can find her work at www.bbunnystudios.com or follow her through twitter at: https://twitter.com/shanleclerc

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