Friday, June 28, 2013

Comic Books And The Cold War Wins An Award!

I wrote an essay about Silver Age Flash comics, and it was published in an anthology focusing on Cold War era comic books.  I read the collection when it came out and enjoyed it.  Apparently, I wasn't the only one who liked the book.  It won the 2013 Ray And Pat Browne Award For The Best Edited Collection In Popular And American Culture.  So congratulations to everyone else who helped make Comic Books And The Cold War, 1946–1962: Essays On Graphic Treatment Of Communism, The Code And Social Concerns an awardwinner!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Changes In Stephen King's The Stand 1978-1990 Overview

It took twenty posts and half a year, but I managed to go through most of the changes between the original and revised versions of The Stand by Stephen King.  But in case anyone doesn't want to get that detailed, here is a handy list of the major changes:

1) There are eight new chapters:  11, 12, 14, 17, 20, 31, 33, and 38.

2) Two old chapters get split into two.  Old chapter 11 becomes new chapters 13 and 15, and old chapter 37 becomes new chapters 46 and 47.

3) Most of the chapters get expanded, some significantly.  Many new scenes are introduced, and old scenes are often more detailed and lengthened.

4) All of the chapters get fiddled with, sometimes down to very small levels such as changing the punctuation.

5) King provides a new preface.

6) Dates are often changed in the novel.  For example, the story is now set in 1990.

7) Cultural references are often updated.  For example, Howard the Duck becomes Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

8) New characters are introduced such as Mark and Perion, and old characters get much more characterization.  For example, The Wolfman's story is explained (he's The Kid).

9) King chooses some different song quotations and adds quotations from poet Ed Dorn to the beginning and end of the book.

10)  The beginning and end of the book are changed with new scenes.

11) Illustrations by Berni Wrightson are included.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Changes In Stephen King's The Stand 1978-1990 Part 20

Chapter 77 is the penultimate chapter, and King doesn't change much at all.  He only seems to add two lines of dialogue near the beginning and fiddle a bit here and there.  One might think that maybe King finally got worn out a bit revising and decided to coast to the end.  But, then, you know, there's the end of the novel, which is a new section.

78 also isn't much changed.  One fun change is that King deletes Lowell from the list of Maine cities and adds his own fictional Castle Rock.  78, or 68 to be more accurate, is also where my paperback ends, aside from a brief bio of King and some ads/mail order forms for other books.

The hardback does not stop.  It continues on with a quote from Ed Dorn, and then an epilogue featuring the return of Randall Flagg (only hinted at in the paperback), which perhaps starts with an allusion to "The End" by The Doors (Stuart Redman did mention meeting Jim Morrison once).  Evil, symbolized by Flagg, seems to be eternal, according to King.  And that's the end!  The uncut Stand runs for 1153 pages!

In the next post, I'll provide an overview for folks who are curious about the changes, but don't want to read all twenty posts.  Both versions are good, but I prefer the longer one.  Ideally, King or some scholars might someday set the novel back in its original time setting, delete/replace the 1980s references, and keep the expansion otherwise, as the novel is thoroughly an artifact of the 1970s.  That would likely be the best version of all.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Changes In Stephen King's The Stand 1978-1990 Part 19

Chapter 62 has the usual expansions and fiddling.  For example, Dayna Jurgens hears about the crucifixion of Hector Drogan, which wouldn't have made much sense in the paperback since that crucifixion scene didn't occur in it.  It's essentially the same otherwise though.  One would think by this point that King would be tired and just let the novel roll on, but the man is thorough; he appears to be tinkering with the entire manuscript.

63 has less expansion and fiddling, but it's a short chapter in both books, so that's probably why.  Basically, Tom Cullen has an additional line of dialogue, and King makes some other minor changes such as adding an apostrophe to the front of "Bye".

64 has more expansion, providing more details of Harold Lauder's death.  A typo also sneaks in.  There aren't many in this long, long book, so I was a bit surprised to find it.  The Colt Woodsman gets called a "Cold Woodsman".

65 and 66 are much the same, but I didn't spot any typos.  67 isn't much different, but there is a couple of interchanges between Lloyd Henreid and Shirley, the telephone operator.  Another interesting aspect is that when King updated the year Paul Burlson would be in charge of the secret police he only moved it from 1990 to 1991.  Apparently, King decided that Flagg's police state would move along much more quickly.

68 and 69 continue this trend. 70, like 63, is a short chapter and has less expansion and fiddling for that reason.  There is a new paragraph in which Trashcan Man gets a little more detailed in figuring out how to get the nuclear warhead up the stairs, but that's the biggest change.

71 gets treated much like 70 does.  72 returns to the pattern of more expansion.  For example, it contains Larry Underwood's list of how many miles he and the other walkers have traveled each day.  It also has a new scene where the walkers find animal crackers and potato chips in a station wagon filled with corpses.  One interesting change is that instead of books by John Jakes (though Stu Redman only calls them  "books about that Kent family"), he asks for books by Gore Vidal.  All the books are long, historical novels though.

73 also gets more expansion.  Larry has a nightmare about playing a concert.  The second time he has the nightmare (the first time in the paperback), John Wayne Gacy gets added to the creeps in the audience.

74 follows this pattern.  One interesting change is that King alters the initials on the keycase from S.L. to A.C.  Maybe S.L. stands for 'Salem's Lot, an earlier novel of his, and A.C. is the first part of AC/DC, one of King's favorite bands?  I don't know what the initials stand for, nor why he switched them.

75 gets more expanded.  King adds a few scenes.  Tom Cullen and Stu watch movies (including Rambo IV, which didn't exist at the time), they have an accident on the snowmobile and they have to find another one, and their travels on Christmas Eve are described.  King also makes smaller changes such as correcting the spelling of "breech birth".

76 is another short chapter, so, like the other ones, it doesn't get expanded and fiddled with much.

77 is next! 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Changes In Stephen King's The Stand 1978-1990 Part 18

Like most of the chapters, 58 is expanded, but, unlike many of them, it's not by much.  One interesting addition is that King includes lyrics from Dave Van Ronk's "Backwater Blues" instead of just mentioning the song and mentions Tom Rush's "Sister Kate".  One could almost create a soundtrack to the novel from all the songs King mentions.  Of course, the song mentioned most often, "Baby, Can You Dig Your Man?" by Larry Underwood, would be missing.

59 follows this trend.  One interesting change is that when someone yells out at the meeting about Randall Flagg, King changes the reference to Flagg from "black man" to "hardcase".  Perhaps he was being politically correct for 1990, but it could also be that "black man" was a poor choice from the beginning since Flagg can pass for any race and the more typical "dark man" reference for him implies evil more than skin color.  However, King also changes Mother Abagail's reference to Flagg from "black Imp" to "Imp"; on the other hand, he leaves plenty of other racial slurs in the novel.  Another interesting change is that the ending of the chapter changes its setting from the picnic scene to the scene of the explosion.  It's essentially the same plotwise, but Fran Goldsmith makes Stu Redman swear that he'll return on Nick Andros's blood.

60, a short chapter, is basically the same, just a tad fiddled with and expanded (for example, Glen Bateman has an extra line of dialogue).

61 starts Book III.  One interesting change before the chapter starts is that the epigraphs change a bit.  In the paperback, King quotes the band America:  "I understand you've been running from the man / Who goes by the name of the Sandman / He flies the sky like an eagle in the eye / of a hurricane that's abandoned . . ."  This lyric gets replaced by the chorus of Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land".  King also corrects the credit for the "Stand By Me" lyrics from The Drifters to Ben E. King.  61 gets more expansion than the few previous chapters.  Judge Farris's journey west is much more detailed.  One reference update I enjoyed was King's replacement of Howard The Duck (called "Howard Duck" perhaps to show that Bobby Terry, the reader of the comic book stack, isn't very smart) by Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. They are both funny animal comic books and both were quite popular in their respective times.  King also replaces Superman with Batman, as Batman with his 1989 movie was more popular in 1990.   

62 is next!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Changes In Stephen King's The Stand 1978-1990 Part 17

Like most of the other chapters, Chapter 51 gets expanded.  For example, Larry Underwood and Harold Lauder's conversation, as well as its aftermath, is a bit more detailed.  Most of the other scenes also get expanded a bit, but there are no major changes except for the committee's discussion of the spies, which gets omitted in the paperback, but in the 1990 hardback runs for six pages.

Chapter 52 is similar.  Scenes get more detailed and references get updated (on a poster in Harold's house, Jimmy Carter becomes George Bush).  The expansions also help with the foreshadowing of Nick Andros's death at one point, adding some suspense and dread to a novel that already has quite a bit of dread and suspense.

Chapter 53 has the usual expansions.  Among the more major ones, King adds the agenda of the Free Zone's meeting; Stu Redman telling Fran Goldsmith how he met Jim Morrison once, long after Morrison was supposed to be dead; and Nadine Cross remembering using a Ouija board in college.

Like the committee meeting in 51, the meeting in 54 is expanded, but not by as much.  The other scenes are also expanded or changed a bit, but there are no additional scenes.

55 continues this trend, but, in addition to the usual expansions and minor fiddling, 56 has three new scenes:  Nadine getting her belongings from the house she shared with Joe/Leo Rockway, as she tries to assuage her guilt about what she's done and planning to do; a brief one with Fran having a conversation with Laurie Constable; and a very brief one noting that more people are entering Boulder.

57 also has a new scene, a freaky one where Randall Flagg takes over a drive-in movie theater to have a one-way conversation with Nadine.  In the other sections, expanded and changed a bit as usual, one interesting addition is that Brad Kitchner mentions the destruction of Gary, Indiana, though he doesn't know that it was caused by the Trashcan Man.

58 is next!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Changes In Stephen King's The Stand 1978-1990 Part 16

Chapter 45 has the usual date changes.  For example, Mother Abagail is now born in 1882 and not 1877.  It also is expanded to provide more background on Abagail's past.  For example, in the 1980 paperback, the paragraph that ends with "That year had been a topper." is followed with the one that begins "And little by little . . ."  In the 1990 version, three long paragraphs appear between those two.  The flashback to her music performance is also expanded, and King uses the scene again in a nightmare where Abagail faces off with Randall Flagg.  King adds two pages of Abagail using the outhouse before she looks out at the corn.  Her journey to and from the Richardson farm is also longer by several pages, filled with her memories and more details of the events in that section.  The cooking scene is also a bit longer, and King throws in lyrics to a hymn Abagail sings and plays on the guitar.  Nick Andros is described not just as "The young man with the dark hair" but as "The young man with the eyepatch and the dark hair", continuing the eye injury from Ray Booth.  Maintaining that detail also adds to Nick's almost psychic power.  Not only is he deaf and mute, but he's nearly blind.  Nevertheless, he's often more perceptive than people with all senses functioning.  The aftermath of the meal scene gets expanded a bit, as does Abagail's conversation with Nick and Ralph Brentner and the rest of the scenes in the chapter, including a funny bit where Abagail shows Ralph a letter she received from Ronald Reagan congratulating her on turning a hundred years old.

Chapter 46 gets quite changed, since King adds a storyline featuring two new characters, Mark and Perion.  Mark gets sick and dies, Perion kills herself from grief, and Fran Goldsmith wonders how she will be able to deliver her baby in a world seemingly without medical care.  The excerpts from Fran's diary are longer and more detailed; for example, the visit to Stovington runs for four pages instead of only one.  Some details get changed.  For example, Nolan Ryan is described as playing for the Texas Rangers and not the California Angels, presumably because he switched teams in the 1980s.  Some updates don't work as well though.  King moves the Arab embargo oil shortage from the 1970s to the 1980s, which isn't historically accurate.  There are also more entries.  In the paperback, the diary skips from July 8 to July 19, while the hardback includes entries from the 12th, 14th, and 16th before the chapter ends.  King having apparently decided that the chapter was getting long, split it into two, with the entry from the 19th taking place in the next chapter.  One last interesting bit is that King has Fran misspell Abagail's name as "Abigail" here, perhaps to show that she's only heard it in her dreams and so doesn't know the correct spelling.  He is very thorough!

Chapter 47 continues what in the paperback is just a single chapter.  This time, King doesn't add a new storyline, but he does expand significantly the meeting of Fran and the others with Dayna Jurgens and the other women she travels with.  In the 1990 version, the women don't have an auto accident, but they escape from captivity.  The chapter contains a firefight between the women and their captors with Fran's group in the mix of the chaos (the women use the encounter as their opportunity to escape).  It's a fairly brutal scene, as the women take revenge and kill the men who had been keeping them as sex slaves.  It also serves as foreshadowing for the conflict between the two sides of survivors later in the novel.  As in the previous chapter, Fran's diary entries are expanded (the August 1st entry grows from one sentence to one page) but there are no more of them.  Other scenes get expanded a bit as well.  Oddly enough, the spelling of "Abagail" as "Abigail" also continues this chapter even in the dialogue where there is no logical reason for a misspelling.  Perhaps the copyeditor got confused by King's subtlety because this doesn't occur in the paperback.               

Chapter 48 also is quite different and includes the character The Kid, whom King notes in the preface that he had always regretted cutting.  The Kid is quite memorable, a hotrodder rockabilly type who sodomizes with a pistol and otherwise terrorizes the Trashcan Man.  In the paperback, The Kid is replaced by an old man who gives Trash a ride in a car and only lasts a couple of pages before dying of a heart attack.  The Kid gets twentysome pages.  Other than the major addition of The Kid storyline, the chapter has the usual expansions (Trashcan's arrival in Las Vegas has extra scenes; Hector Drogan's role grows from a couple of lines in the paperback to a few pages, ending in a crucifixion--this scene also shows vividly how different the Boulder community is from that Flagg runs) and changes such as a reference to the fight in the previous chapter.

Chapter 49 and 50 start the chapters in Boulder, which aren't as altered as these last three chapters, though King still expands and fiddles with them a bit.  Some interesting changes from this section include inflation.  In 1980, King priced Nick's house in Boulder at $150,000-200,000.  Ten years later, it's in the $450,000-500,000 range.  The paperback book itself cost $2.95 in 1980, and, from what I can dig up, $6.99 in 1991.  Even with the expanded length, that's quite a jump for just a decade's passing!

I'll pick up with 51 next.              

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Changes In Stephen King's The Stand 1978-1990 Part 15

Chapter 44 gets a few expansions.  Among other changes, Larry Underwood swears a bit more in the beginning, thinks a bit more about the death of Rita Blakemoor, remembers ditching his motorcycle and starting to walk, gets discovered (and nearly killed) by Nadine Cross and Joe earlier, rummages in a store, enjoys the seashore a bit more, wonders about Nadine and Joe a bit more when he does meet them (when Joe tries to kill him yet again), remembers a musician friend who descended into and rose out of drug addiction, plays a bit more music, and humorously fancies himself as a Scotland Yard detective.  Nadine gets a large section of the chapter, in which King fleshes out more of her and Joe's background and has Nadine save Larry's life again (Joe wishes to cut Larry's throat while he sleeps).  This addition makes Nadine a much more sympathetic character than she is in the earlier version, though King makes up for that by making her a bit more antagonistic to Mother Abagail in the dream scene.  The characters' discovery of all the abandoned cars on the highway gets more detailed, as does their discovery of the message left on the barn and their visits to the motorcycle dealership and Stovington.  Lucy Swann's introduction gets more details as well.

Quite a few brand names get changed in this chapter.  For example, Harold Lauder really enjoys Payday and not Milky Way candy bars in 1990.  I wonder if King's own tastes changed since both brands were probably still around in both eras.  Another interesting change is that Harold's carving of his and Fran Goldsmith's initials gets a heart with an arrow illustration this time, though the text still reads, "In a heart.  With an arrow." which is probably unnecessary in this edition.

Chapter 45 is next.  The middle of this book has some long chapters!        

Monday, June 17, 2013

Changes In Stephen King's The Stand 1978-1990 Part 14

Chapter 28 gets expanded similarly to how Chapter 27 did.  The scene with Fran Goldsmith and the pie also includes an incident where Fran burns french fries, remembers seeing the massacre in the tv station on tv, and recalls a town hall meeting in which the citizens decided to barricade the town.  The scene where Fran buries her father is also expanded to include more details of how she got his corpse out of the house.

Chapter 29 gets a minor expansion after Stuart Redman knocks Elder, a soldier Stu believes is out to kill him, out and details Stu wondering if perhaps Elder hadn't come to kill him.

Chapter 30 is a short chapter that just gets fiddled with and, as a result, gets expanded a tad.

Chapter 31 is a new chapter, detailing Randall Flagg brutally getting his forged papers and a car from a dying Christopher Bradenton.

Chapter 32 gets a minor expansion where Lloyd Henreid masturbates after he kills the rat.

Chapter 33 is another new chapter, featuring Nick Andros getting attacked by and then killing Ray Booth, the ringleader of the thugs who beat him up when he first arrived in Shoyo.

Chapter 34 is basically the same, just the usual minor fidgets such as when King corrects "trustee" to "trusty" when Trashcan Man reminisces about being in prison.

Chapter 35 gets majorly expanded at the beginning and features Rita Blakemoor and Larry Underwood discussing leaving New York City.  A sex scene in the middle of the chapter gets expanded as well.  King adds a scene where the characters outfit themselves for the journey in a sporting goods store, including a quote from The Lord Of The Rings, one of King's inspirations for the novel.  The scene where the characters leave Manhattan also gets a couple of expansions (a man offers Larry a million dollars for fifteen minutes with Rita and Larry and Rita's reunion runs a bit longer).  As with almost all the chapters, there are minor changes as well.

Similarly, Chapter 36 gets some expansions.  Fran's nursing of Gus Dinsmore is described in more detail, Fran and Harold Lauder discuss how to walk across New England, and Harold explains why he brought the paint down from the barn roof.

Chapter 37 gets a few expansions during Stu's conversation with Glen Bateman such as when Glen discusses plagues striking at the end of a century.  Of course, most of the expansions involve dialogue by Glen, a character who loves to talk.

Chapter 38 is another new chapter, the last for some time.  In it, King provides more slice of life scenes of how the superflu affected people who survived it across the USA.  They all die, showcasing in particular the general comments, from the previous chapter, Glen had about how people would cope.

Chapter 39 gets a few expansions such as Lloyd thinking guiltily about his eating of the corpse in the next cell. 

Chapter 40 deletes the accident Nick has (which explained how he was injured without the Ray Booth attack) and the recovery of his eye.  His recovery overall gets more detailed.

Chapter 41 has a longer beginning which features Larry remembering his rejection of an earlier camping trip.  The narrator also mentions Irma Fayette, a minor character from Chapter 38.  The end of the chapter also gets expanded and seems to feature Flagg passing through the town Larry is spending the night in.

Chapter 42 has a few minor expansions but is essentially the same.

Chapter 43 features several new scenes:  Nick and Tom Cullen having a conversation, Nick thinking about Tom, Nick and Tom hiding in a barn's storm cellar from a tornado, details of the tornado's aftermath, Nick and Tom encountering a herd of buffalo, and Nick wishing for a car and driver to give them a ride.  The scenes where Tom plays with toy cars, Nick finds a bike for Tom, they cross the Kansas border, they meet Julie Lawry get extended, and they meet Ralph Brentner get extended.  Their leaving town is altered a bit, and King drops the mention of Rand McNally when Nick uses an atlas to plot their course to Nebraska.

I'll pick up with 44 next.