Stephen KingEasily the biggest "get" of this year's NYCC was Marvel's bringing Stephen King to appear on a Dark Tower panel, along with the entire creative team on the book, and with Joe Quesada as moderator. Somewhat incredibly, the cavernous special events hall was not at capacity -- perhaps people figured if they hadn't lined up for one of the 1,800 available tickets handed out in the morning, they were already out of luck? Those of us who were present, however, were treated to a true rarity – Stephen King speaking, in his freewheeling fashion, in front of a crowd from which he was gamely taking questions.

In response to the first question from the audience, regarding spoilers, King --rather interestingly, given his side job as a pop culture commentator for Entertainment Weekly-- responded, "you gotta get over this spoiler stuff, man ... we're not four anymore." Praising the efforts of his collaborators, King went on to say "the comic kicks ass ... I'm just in awe of what these artists have done ... it's like touring your own imagination." King's enthusiasm for the project was plainly apparent, and he's clearly overjoyed with the results of the comic book adaptation of what he calls his "life's work in a sense."

There were a couple of moments in the panel where one can only imagine Quesada squirming internally at King's responses to audience questions. The first occurred in King's response to which modern comics he'd read prior to his involvement with The Dark Tower book, a response which went, "a lot of the stuff I read is the longer form stuff ... Preacher, V [for Vendetta], Neil Gaiman's Sandman." Oops, nice string of plugs for DC there during a Marvel panel! Later, in response to a question about his children, King again unintentionally plugged Marvel's Distinguished Competition, saying "I took them on my knee when they were still in diapers and read them all my old Plastic Man comics." Double oops!

For those who enjoyed the first issue of The Dark Tower, and are anticipating the remainder of the series, it was intimated (not at all surprisingly) that there will indeed be more to come after this initial series. And, in an exclusive NYCC announcement, responding to a question from the audience regarding potential future comic adaptations of his work, King replied, "we were in the green room kicking around doing The Stand ... the Talisman would be cool ... Eyes of the Dragon would be cool."

Oh, and one more thing, for fans of King's novels. I'm not sure if this has been mentioned previously, but it was certainly news to me when King, speaking of Jack Sawyer (of The Talisman and Black House), said "he should have a third book." Paging Peter Straub!

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