Review of Stephen King’s Dark Man – An Illustrated Poem

Graphic Novel Review

I Am the Dark Man

RATING
4/5

The Dark Man

by Stephen King
i have slept in glaring swamps
where musk-reek rose
to mix with the sex smell of rotting cypress stumps
where witch fire clung in sunken
psycho spheres of baptism ― 

Stephen KingThe Dark Man - Illustrated Poem

The world is insane. You only have to watch the news to know it. ― 

Stephen KingThe Dark Man - Illustrated Poem

Stats

Hardcover, Trade Hardcover, 88 pages
Published July 30th 2013 by Cemetery Dance (first published January 1st 2013)
ISBN
1587674211 (ISBN13: 9781587674211)

Images From the Graphic Novel

Story Synopsis

Stephen King first wrote about the Dark Man in college after he envisioned a faceless man in cowboy boots and jeans and a denim jacket forever walking the roads. Later this dark man would come to be known around the world as one of King’s greatest villains, Randall Flagg, but at the time King only had simple questions on his mind: where was this man going? What had he seen and done? What terrible things…?

i have ridden rails…

More than forty years after Stephen King first wrote his breathtaking poem “The Dark Man,” Glenn Chadbourne set out to answer those questions in this World’s First Edition hardcover featuring more than 70 full-page illustrations from the talented artist behind The Secretary of Dreams.

i have slept in glaring swamps…

This Cemetery Dance Publications hardcover is a true marriage of words and art, with Chadbourne pulling the images from King’s imagination and illustrating them in magnificent detail. This incredible blending of King’s words with Chadbourne’s art creates a unique page turning experience you can return to again and again, always finding new details hidden on every page. You’ll discover hidden layers and mysterious secrets for years to come.

i am a dark man…

So who is the Dark Man and why is he traveling the country? The answers are terrifying…. 

My Thoughts

The Dark Man is King flexing his poetic muscles. King has said that he is not much of a poet. Often, even when he writes poetry, it is of a more illustrative type of narrative that verse. It is just not how his mind works.  

Is this great? Not so much. 

But, it is a serviceable piece of literature that I read and practically studied for the sake of the King’s Quest and completeness. 

Important aspects to consider when checking out The Dark Man. There are few examples of capital letters and punctuation. It gives the poem an almost run-on stream of consciousness vibe that is pretty annoying. Furthermore, it isn’t great or evocative poetry. It reminds me quite a bit of something you would see at a college poetry slam. 

i have slept in glaring swamps

where musk-reek rose

to mix with the sex smell of rotting cypress stumps

where witch fire clung in sunken

psycho spheres of baptism

Eh. It is, however, essential if you are a King-ite? Kinger? A person who reads a lot of Stephen King, as this is a poem about one of King’s most titular characters, Randall Flagg. It gives you quite an impression of Flagg that helps solidify him as one of literature’s great antagonists. 

The reason you should read this, and the reason why I gave it four stars is because of the graphics. The illustrator is Glenn Chadbourne, a horror artist. They are incredible. Detailed, enthralling, and in their dark ways, completely beautiful. This is the reason you read this book. Chadbourne takes you down some dark paths with his imagery, and it only makes it better if you have read a lot of King. 

It is a perfect depiction of how I imagine Flagg. If you can find a copy of this, peruse it, you will see what I mean. 

Other Reviews of Note

“i have ridden rails

and passed the smuggery
of desperate houses with counterfeit chimneys” 

Procurement

I checked this out from the library

If You Like This, You will Love That

If you like this, you would enjoy The Counted Book Of Sorrows by Dean Koontz, if you can find it. 

About The Author

Stephen Edwin King was born the second son of Donald and Nellie Ruth Pillsbury King. After his father left them when Stephen was two, he and his older brother, David, were raised by his mother. Parts of his childhood were spent in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where his father’s family was at the time, and in Stratford, Connecticut. When Stephen was eleven, his mother brought her children back to Durham, Maine, for good. Her parents, Guy and Nellie Pillsbury, had become incapacitated with old age, and Ruth King was persuaded by her sisters to take over the physical care of them. Other family members provided a small house in Durham and financial support. After Stephen’s grandparents passed away, Mrs. King found work in the kitchens of Pineland, a nearby residential facility for the mentally challenged.

Stephen attended the grammar school in Durham and Lisbon Falls High School, graduating in 1966. From his sophomore year at the University of Maine at Orono, he wrote a weekly column for the school newspaper, THE MAINE CAMPUS. He was also active in student politics, serving as a member of the Student Senate. He came to support the anti-war movement on the Orono campus, arriving at his stance from a conservative view that the war in Vietnam was unconstitutional. He graduated in 1970, with a B.A. in English and qualified to teach on the high school level. A draft board examination immediately post-graduation found him 4-F on grounds of high blood pressure, limited vision, flat feet, and punctured eardrums.

He met Tabitha Spruce in the stacks of the Fogler Library at the University, where they both worked as students; they married in January of 1971. As Stephen was unable to find placement as a teacher immediately, the Kings lived on his earnings as a laborer at an industrial laundry, and her student loan and savings, with an occasional boost from a short story sale to men’s magazines.

Stephen made his first professional short story sale (“The Glass Floor”) to Startling Mystery Stories in 1967. Throughout the early years of his marriage, he continued to sell stories to men’s magazines. Many were gathered into the Night Shift collection or appeared in other anthologies.

In the fall of 1971, Stephen began teaching English at Hampden Academy, the public high school in Hampden, Maine. Writing in the evenings and on the weekends, he continued to produce short stories and to work on novels.
 

Where to Find Him

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