In Stephen King’s first televised interview from way back in 1982, the horror writer revealed that he sleeps with the lights on. He may have grown out of the habit by now, but it’s no wonder if he hasn’t. A macabre imagination like his probably sees all sorts of creepy things lurking in the dark. In any case, King has certainly learned a thing or two since then about making his fears more marketable. In the past several years he’s been promoting his work on the Internet to reach new audiences.
In 2000, his novella Riding the Bullet debuted exclusively online, and in 2008 he partnered with Marvel Comics to promote his first collection of short stories in six years, releasing one short graphic video episode at a time adapted from the 56-page novella “N.” See all 25 episodes above. It’s a story, writes Time, “about a psychologist whose obsessive-compulsive patient is entranced by a mysterious plot of land.” King calls the adaptation “kind of a video comic book,” and while the “point of the exercise,” says his editor Susan Moldow,” is to stimulate book sales,” I think you’ll agree it’s a pretty nifty bit of storytelling on its own.
On King’s website, you’ll find links to all sorts of multimedia products, including a Lifetime original movie, Big Driver, a film titled A Good Marriage, now out on video-on-demand, and the latest from graphic novel series Dark Tower. You’ll also find a comic adaptation of the short story “Little Green God of Agony.” See the first panel above, and read the full story here.
Long before Youtube and online comics, there was the audiobook. King has narrated his own work for years, and it’s also been read by such big names as Kathy Bates, Sissy Spacek, Willem Defoe, Anne Heche, Eli Wallach, and many more. Just above, hear character actor John Glover—a name you may not know, but a face you’d recognize—read “One for the Road,” a story from King’s first, 1978, collection Night Shift. It’s a vampire story, but a particularly deft one, writes Noah Charney at New Haven Review, one that “deals in archetypes that are the heart of good horror fiction.” King’s stories, Charney asserts, are “beautifully-written, highly intelligent. They happen to feature monsters of all sorts, from natural to preternatural, but that is secondary to their core as great stories, well-told.”
King has long defended popular fiction to the literati—in his acceptance speech for the National Book Award, for example—and lashed out at “the keepers of the idea of serious literature,” whom he says “have a short list of authors who are going to be allowed inside.” It may have taken a few years, but King got in, eventually publishing in such august outlets as The Atlantic and The New Yorker. Read four stories from those publications at the links below. And if you’re still in need of a good scare in the days leading up to Halloween, make sure to check out “The Man in the Black Suit,” a short film adaptation of another story published in The New Yorker in 1994.
“A Death” (The New Yorker, March 2015)
“Herman Wouk Is Still Alive” (The Atlantic, May 2011)
“Premium Harmony” (The New Yorker, November, 2009)
“Harvey’s Dream” (The New Yorker, June 2003)