In 1980, Phantasia Press commissioned Whelan to illustrate the cover of their slip-cased, limited edition of the novel, which would be Whelan’s first work for Stephen King.
The author and artist had met a few months earlier at the World Fantasy Convention where they were both Guests of Honor. The cover assignment soon followed and logically so did the first of Whelan’s unprecedented three World Fantasy awards.
Based on the strength of this darkly fantastic work—notice the charred corpses at the feet of Charlie McGee—King named Michael Whelan as the illustrator for THE GUNSLINGER, the first in his paramount series THE DARK TOWER.
Both King and Whelan have reigned atop their respective fields for decades. Understandably this painting stands as a rare treasure for both Michael Whelan and Stephen King fans alike.