The Dark Tower Volume 1: The Gunslinger (1988)

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First Published: 1982 (in parts – 1978, 1980, 1981)

Edition Published: 1988

Cover Illustration: Michael Whelan

Illustrations: Michael Whelan 

Publisher: Sphere

Notes: A copy which seems to have travelled as long and hard as the gunslinger, himself. Inlaid with the full set of illustrations by Michael Whelan, none of which I’ve seen before (my original copy did not include them). Really pleased to find my old friend Roland on the first successful day of Collecting King.

I love the composition of Roland on his haunches, staring out across the water (although the ocean doesn’t really make an appearance until The Drawing of the Three, but let’s not niggle too much) and the hazy appearance of the Dark Tower itself. Is it a hallucination? Quite possibly. A dream, or maybe a nightmare. The point is, he’s alone and focused on his quest.

I actually really like the layout of the author and title which sets itself up to be maintained throughout the series, it’s just a shame it never got used beyond book 3.

Value For Money

First Published: 1990

Edition Published: 1990

Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton

Notes: At 37.5 pence per minute you can hardly complain! It’s a heft book with the type of “typical” horror illustration I remember so vividly from childhood and which also provokes memories of Jim Henson’s Storyteller series, in particular the traumatising episode called The Solider and Death (I think). It scared me for days and led to my mother banning us from ever watching the program again…

I found this first edition in a charity shop  with the cheeky little demon poking out from beneath a pile of books.

It’s almost as if he was trying to tease me…

Carrie (2000’s)

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First Published: 1974

Edition Published: Late 2000’s

Cover Illustration: Getty Images

Publisher: Hodder

Notes: I never understood why Hodder didn’t publish all King’s books in this format instead of limiting it to a handful. I absolutely love the design on all of them, they have everything – a nice, standard title and author treatment, a neat colour scheme for each book, and an image which strongly relates to the story without being tied down to it in the same way as, for example, the image of Carrie dripping in pig’s blood. Fire and a cheerleader – the cover for Carrie perfectly illustrates two of the largest elements which really stay with you after putting it down. Of course, the looming shadow of Margaret is missing, but to me, Carrie’s powerful rage which spirals so rapidly out of control and consumes the town in flames really begins, and ends, with Chris Hargensen. This is a design which balances style with emotion and makes it one of my all time favourites.

Tired

I’m somewhere between these two…

Having spent a stressful day driving a white van (for the first time in my life) over 320 miles yesterday, clipping a car in a car park, dealing with police at a weighbridge to help my colleague, unpacking for a show for 5 hours and getting home at 01:20 this morning I’ve spent most of the day feeling like a cross between Ralph from Insomnia and the kid on the cover of Death Dream (a book I’ve not read but picked up purely for the gloriously tacky cover).