Clive Barker’s Seraphim Comics Reopens The Labyrinth with HELLRAISER: ANTHOLOGY

Clive Barker’s HELLRAISER is one of the seminal films of the 1980s horror boom. Smart, sophisticated and visceral, Barker’s directorial debut became a cottage industry of its own, with multiple sequels (and the merchandise to go with them) , as well as two comics series (Marvel’s Epic Comics, 1989 – 1994 and Boom! Comics, 2011 – 2015). They say the third time’s the charm, as Barker reopens the doorway to the “the further regions of experience” next month in a new and ambitious outing that should leave the Cenobites’ acolytes very pleased indeed.

Hellraiser: Anthology, the inaugural project for Barker’s new graphic novel imprint, Seraphim Comics, is a 90-page hardcover collection featuring 11 original tales set in the universe first introduced with his novella, THE HELLBOUND HEARTThe hardcover collection is priced at $35, while a limited edition (signed by Barker) will be going for $65. The digital edition ($15) is also available for those who like their comics on the portable side

Cover Image

 

As for who’s behind the wheel, Seraphim has lined up a solid list of contributors to play in Barker’s infernal playground. As well as tales from Barker himself (both writing and illustrating)and both Seraphim’s VP, Mark Alan Miller ( who just so happens to be interviewed right here) and Editor -In-Chief Ben Meares,  there are also contributions from Blumhouse.com’s Editor-In-Chief, Rebekah McKendry and contributing writer, David McKendry, POW Entertainment’s Matt Murray. Art duties have been filled by Daniele Serra (responsible for the cover art shown above), Riley Schmitz, Sam Shearon, Nick Percival, Jim Terry and Jimm O’Dell.

 

While there have been previous four-colour forays into Hell’s Labyrinth, this one feels very different and exciting – not only because of Barker’s involvement in the process but this time out, as the original tagline for HELLRAISER reads …there are no limits.
We had a very simple mission statement at the beginning of our journey with this comic” states Meares in discussing the project. “We set out to create something with no limits and no censorship that everyone involved, as both creatives and fans of the Hellraiser mythos, would be proud of.” And if the previews provided by Seraphim are any indication, it looks to do the sadistic and sensual series proper justice, with visions (and characters)  both new and exciting and -as seen below – very familiar.

 

Preview 1, (Ben Meares and Daniele Serra

 

Preview 2, (Ben Meares and Daniele Serra

Miller seconds the notion.  “We chose to publish this anthology in-house for one main reason…It frees us to tell stories that are entirely uncensored. Hellraiser, as a film and comic book franchise, has always needed to be censored to one degree or another. By producing this comic in-house, and distributing it straight to Hellraiser fans via our web store, the wide array of talented people on the book are free to tell the stories they want to tell, and dig as deep into their twisted imaginations as they please. And, let me tell you, the experience has been utterly freeing for all involved, and that creative freedom bleeds through the pages of this anthology.

I’ve been a part of a number of Hellraiser projects throughout my years with Clive… and this is easily the most personal project I’ve seen pass through these walls. It’s as lovingly curated as it is delightfully grotesque. I’m proud to have my name in its pages.”

HELLRAISER: ANTHOLOGY makes its grand debut on at this year’s Monsterpalooza convention in Pasadena, CA.  Following its arrival at the weekend-long convention (April 7th to 9th 2017), it will go on sale on April 14th through, www.realclivebarker.com, in both hardcover and digital formats.

And, in a move that will shock absolutely no one who knows me, I will have a review in the coming weeks. So keep your eyes (and flesh) peeled..

Preview 4, Pin-Occhio

BARBIE WILDE HAS SUCH SIGHTS TO SHOW YOU: A review of VOICES OF THE DAMNED

barbie-banner

Barbie Wilde is the very model of “multi-disciplinarian”. Musician, dancer, model, journalist and one of horror’s most recognizable icons – The Female Cenobite from Clive Barker’s HELLBOUND: HELLRAISER II. She’s done it all. In recent years, though, she has been gaining notoriety and acclaim on a new career path: author.

Wilde polished her skills in that most-honored (and harder than it looks)  fields of “entry level” writing: the short story. Sharpening her teeth in the true crime genre, Wilde eventually made the leap to full-on horror, starting with an entry in the 2009 HELLRAISER-themed anthology, HELLBOUND HEARTS. And she hasn’t stopped to take a breath. With multiple stories published in a number of anthologies as well as her first novel, 2012’s THE VENUS COMPLEX, under her belt, Wilde has proven herself to be a prolific and very-active creative force.  Violence, pitch-black humour and yes, sex can be found in equal measure in her work, drawing complimentary comparisons to Clive Barker’s early works in his seminal Books of Blood collections. And now, readers get the chance to see these stories collected in one place.

Untitled-1

VOICES OF THE DAMNED gathers together Wilde’s short stories into a single volume, and what a piece of work it is.  Featuring a cover by Clive Barker, interior illustrations by Barker, Nick Percival & Steve McGinnis (and many, many more)   an introduction by Fangoria’s Editor-In-Chief Chris Alexander and an afterword by Vancouver’s twin terrors, Jen and Sylvia Soska, it’s clear that Wilde’s got the support of a lot of the genre’s players. Superlatives are good, but does the work inside match the dust-jacket hyperbole?

Oh, yes. Yes, it most certainly does.

Wilde covers a wide range of sub-genres, ranging from body-horror to Old-World folklore to stories that defy classic convention or description. There’s a little something for everyone, but these stories are my personal favourites and recommendations

POLYP: a routine colonoscopy becomes anything but, when the patient learns that there is something malignant, hungry and alive inside him. And it wants out.

VALESKA: a clever, blood-and-sex soaked reinvention of the vampire mythology, with a female “Seminal” drawn into the war between her kind’s two rival factions.

AMERICAN MUTANT: a wealthy and successful televangelist learns that he is the father of a teenaged boy, one with the powers of both sin and redemption in his hands.

THE ALPDRUCKE: A man suffering from a sleep disorder learns that his problems are so much worse, as he has been targeted by a malicious nightmare demon.

GAIA: a woman, broken and battered by events in her past, reinvents herself as her goddess namesake, which is very bad news for the two thugs who choose her home for a break-and-enter.

For HELLRAISER devotees, the big hook (pun intentional) here is The Sister Cilice Trilogy, the first time all three stories have been collected in one volume. Wilde has taken the character so long associated with her career – Pinhead’s second-in-command, The Female Cenobite – and fleshed her out.  She now has a name, a history and her own agenda . The result is a wonderful expansion of the Hellraiser universe which follows her entry into Hell and her subsequent ascension to the top ranks of The Order Of The Gash. It’s ambitious, epic stuff and a more-than-worthy addition to the canon.

Chances are (if your tastes are anything like mine), you’ve already signed onboard for this. For anyone still harbouring any hesitations, allow me to ease your mind. Wilde’s imagination, and her penchant for the disturbing and the sensual, are well worth your time.

VOICES OF THE DAMNED releases on October 31st, with pre-orders available now at Short,Scary Tales Publications.

Next week, I’ll have my interview with Barbie up-and-running for your perusal.

Til then…keep watching, constant reader.