Sleeping Beauties, the 2017 bestseller from Stephen and Owen King, is being adapted into a comic by IDW. The announcement came through a Deadline exclusive on Tuesday, along with the creative team of Rio Youers and Alison Sampson. Youers is a Canadian novelist who most recently published The Forgotten Girl, an acclaimed psychological thriller that hit shelves in May, while Sampson is a comic artist fans will recognize from Image’s horror series, Winnebago Graveyard.
It’s a fitting team up for adapting a father and son who’s last name is almost synonymous with thriller and horror. Written in response to toxic masculinity and contemporary gender politics, Sleeping Beauties asks what the world would look like if there were only men. A strange disease called ‘Aurora’ is forcing women into deep sleeps, forming cocoons around themselves, then insatiable fits of homicidal rage. Left to deal with the plague on their own, men quickly turn society into savagery.
It’s not Stephen King’s first experience with comics, either. He’s worked with Scott Snyder and Raphael Albuquerque on their American Vampire series from Vertigo, and also acted as creative director on his Dark Tower spin-off series at Marvel. He’s also worked with IDW before, on the Throttle adaptation, which he co-wrote with Joe Hill.
That’s part of why the Kings are optimistic about the entire team behind this next adaptation. Owen says “We are so excited about Rio and Alison’s vision for Sleeping Beauties. We’ve been fans of Rio’s for years and Alison’s artwork is simply extraordinary. IDW couldn’t have found a better pairing.”
Sampson is looking forward to the project as well, especially because of its interpretations. “The story is very suggestive for interesting art, with magical themes interwoven through a very real place setting in Appalachia, and the opportunity to draw some truly diverse people,” Sampson said. “Places, spaces, gender, bodies, character, relationships, political themes, emotions, a challenging (and almost certainly innovative) design job, and a great story – it’s all here. I cannot wait to share what we are making.”
Meanwhile, writer Youers says the genre – and the namesake – may be getting to him. “To work on anything with the King name attached is surreal, dizzying, and somewhat terrifying,” Youers says. “As soon as my feet touch terra firma, I will focus on my goal: to stay true to the novel’s spirit, and to deliver a page-turning, visually impacting experience that will appeal to readers of both Stephen and Owen King’s fiction, and to comics fans the world over.”
Sleeping Beauties – the adaptation so terrifying it’s got the creative team on its heels – launches in early 2020 from IDW. Till then, check out Alison Sampson’s cover art below.