You could easily make the case that 2017 was the biggest year in Stephen King’s more than four-decade career.
Four movies (“The Dark Tower,” “Gerald’s Game,” “1922” and the blockbuster “IT”). Two TV series (“The Mist” and “Mr. Mercedes”). One novel (“Sleeping Beauties,” co-written with his son, Owen King) and one novella (“Gwendy’s Button Box”). Not to mention all the usual fun stuff he’s known for (Twitter, charitable work, corgis).
Beyond the sheer amount of King content out there, it seemed that Bangor’s most famous resident found new ways to connect with the next generation of readers and film fans. After 2016’s clown scare, in 2017 Pennywise seems more frightening than ever. And in a world full of political and, at times, existential, uncertainty, escaping to a universe where a group of normal Maine kids can triumph over ultimate evil seems oddly comforting.
We’ve highlighted some of the big King things this year — from seeing Derry, Maine on the big screen, to that time he met the Duck of Justice.
All things IT
The big King news this year was, of course, the blockbuster success of “IT,” now officially the highest-grossing horror movie and Stephen King adaptation of all time and the biggest September movie premiere ever.
Pleasing both longtime fans of the author and people who’ve never read any of his books, the surprisingly heartfelt adaptation of King’s beloved 1986 novel clearly touched a nerve among the general public.
For Bangor residents, it was a chance to see a terrifying, bizarro version of their fair city on the big screen — as Derry, home to Pennywise and other supernatural shenanigans in the King universe. A sequel is coming, though we’ll have to wait until Sept. 2019 to see it.
Happy birthday, Stephen
King celebrated his 70th birthday on Sept. 21, in the midst of the nearly monthlong dominance of “IT” at the box office and just five days before the release of “Sleeping Beauties,” his new book co-authored with his son, Owen King. Not a bad birthday present.
Here at the Bangor Daily News, we celebrated the Queen City’s most famous resident with stories from Mainers about their encounters with King. Readers responded eagerly to our query, with tales of everything from random encounters at the drugstore or the eye doctor, to glory on the basketball court, to simple thanks for great reads over the years. People wrote us from Canada, England, Turkey and Australia. King seemed to like the story, too. To the world, he’s the master of horror. To us in Maine, he’s just Steve.
Going after the big boys
King is not shy about making his opinions known, and with his highly active Twitter account, he’s got a bigger platform than ever to talk about the things that are getting under his skin. His number one target? President Donald Trump and his administration.
King has slung countless barbs toward the commander-in-chief and his allies, earning him the ire of Trump’s fans, and the support of his detractors. King banned Trump from seeing “IT,” and Trump, in turn, blocked King on Twitter.
We also reported on lots of little things that could only have happened in Maine, King’s home state. Things like the story of how King once listed the real Maine State police barracks phone number in a book back in the 1980s, causing several weeks of nonstop phone calls for one dispatcher. Things like how Stephen King met the Bangor Police Department’s Duck of Justice, another famous character from the Queen City. And how, at various times this year, you could buy both the Orrington house that inspired King’s “Pet Sematary,” and a house next door to King’s Bangor home. Only in Derry.
Corgi time, all the time
No mention of Stephen King in 2017 would be complete without his pal, his muse, his favorite subject for Twitter posts (other than Donald Trump): Molly, the Thing of Evil, his corgi. Here are a few of our favorite posts from the past year.
Molly, aka the Thing of Evil, did a few too many Colt .45s on New Year’s Eve. Still recovering. Loved Mariah Carey, though. pic.twitter.com/frswLaxbFQ
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) January 3, 2017
Molly, aka the Thing of Evil, does research for her forthcoming movie, LOOKING FOR MR. GOOD BALL. pic.twitter.com/CQhUGAMUmv
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) January 28, 2017
Molly, aka the Thing of Evil, falls into a depression after finding out Bill O’Reilly has left TV. Vet prescribes Zoloft. pic.twitter.com/JJMZl2hOGr
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) April 21, 2017
— Scribner (@ScribnerBooks) March 16, 2017