The Talisman 1: The Road of Trials

talisman volume 1 the road of trials trade paperback tpb comic stephen king peter straub
6.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Art: 6/10

Likeable main character

A bit heavy on the fantasy too fast

Comic Info

Comic Name: The Talisman

Publisher: Del Rey Comics

Writer: Robin Furth

Artist: Tony Shasheen

# of Issues: 6

Release Date:  2010

talisman #0 cover san diego comic con stephen king

The Talisman #0

Reprints The Talisman #0-5 (July 2009—March 2010).  Jack Sawyer is thirteen and has learned a secret.  There is a world parallel to Earth, and people can travel back and forth between the worlds.  Jack’s mother is dying and so is her twinner Queen Laura in the Territories.  Jack must enter the Territories to locate the Talisman and which maybe her only hope.  Jack is being pursued by his father’s killer Morgan and his men and must make his way across America before they catch up.  Will Jack be able to negotiate the Territories or will his interaction actions cause death and destruction for both worlds?

Written by Robin Furth, The Talisman Volume 1:  The Road of Trials is the first part of an adaptation of the 1984 fantasy novel The Talisman by Stephen King and Peter Straub.  The comic is published by Del Rey and The Talisman #0 premiered at the 2009 San Diego Comic Con.

The Talisman was a really odd Stephen King story since it is a team effort with Peter Straub.  The story was heavier fantasy (rather than Stephen King’s popular horror at the time it was published) and is more in line with King’s other fantasies like The Dark Tower series.  The original book did spawn a sequel called Black House in 2001.  The Talisman has some great moments, but you can tell reading this comic that there is an outside problem.

talisman #5 cover massimo carnevale art stephen king peter straub

The Talisman #5

The story of The Talisman is a fairly simple quest story with wide appeal.  The character is young and likeable and for younger readers (teens), there might be a connection.  The novel is probably too dark for very young readers and the comic book is the same.  It is also a bit confusing since a lot of the “magic” in the world is just on faith and there don’t seem to be many set rules.  It seems like Morgan just constantly shows up wherever Jack is be it the Territories or Earth and his tracking abilities aren’t really explained.  The reader, like Jack, is thrown into the world without much guidance.  It might work as a story device for Jack but can leave readers scratching their heads at points.

The zero issue contains new material about Jack’s father Philip which hasn’t appeared in either novel and the collection contains information on the making of the comic including sketches of the main characters by the artist Tony Shasteen.

The problem with The Talisman is the publishing.  Comic books are a tough sell and independent comic books need a big commitment.  With Stephen King’s collaboration with Marvel Comics on The Dark Tower and The Stand, you know at least that the company has more commitment.  Del Rey is kind of new to the game and as a result, The Talisman is not destine to finish…the journey presented here might be all that readers will see.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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