FOR MATURE READERS – Comic Book Review: Hellraiser #1 | Giant Fire Breathing Robot

FOR MATURE READERS – Comic Book Review: Hellraiser #1

“Hell begins on the day when God grants us a clear vision of all that we might have achieved, of all the gifts which we have wasted, of all that we might have done which we did not do.” — Gian Carlo Menotti

Oh! My! God!

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say this is the best comic I’ve read in at least six weeks, if not this year. I’m not belittling some of the other brilliant stuff I’ve read and reviewed recently, just that if I could give this a higher rating than five out of five, I would.

I’ll start by saying I have no history with Clive Barker’s Hellraiser films. I think I may have watched one some ten or fifteen years ago, but being a teen back then, I think I was more interested in the girl I’d taken to the cinema than the movie playing at the cinema. Know what I mean? KNOW WHAT I MEAN?!!

Ahem…Anyway, if you want to read the rest of this review and I haven’t traumatized you with my¬†teenaged love-life (or lack thereof), hit the jump and I promise we’ll talk about this comic book.

As I said, I am not that familiar with the Hellraiser universe. Everyone knows who Pinhead is but I have no idea what this puzzle box is or what it stands for, where it’s from or what it does.

But having said that, I read this comic, cover-to-cover, with a big goofy grin on my face. The story is mysterious without being confusing, the art is grotesquely beautiful, and the characters are three-dimensional and life-like.

Clive Barker and Christopher Monfette have crafted an interesting story. The opening page literally almost drags you into the story’s hopelessness and despair as it introduces a little farm house in Nebraska. As we slowly zoom in, closer and closer we’re hear the plea of someone locked below the farm. To me, the layout, pacing, and cinematography (I know, I know. Cinematography in a comic? Just read the comic and you’ll understand) of this brought a sense of urgency. I had to get into this comic and help whoever it was that was calling for my help. From there the world of Hellraiser is surgically opened up for us newbies. And it is sweet.

The visuals by Leonardo Mancho are breathtaking and beautiful and ugly and violent and consistent. The “real” world’s contrast to the Hellraiser dimension is eerie, and at times the ‘”real'” world is creepier. The Cenobites are¬†surreal, and their chains and hooks are terrifying. But all in all, the most amazing visual in this book is when Pinhead sits down to play a pipe organ that has corpses and people used as, and impaled by, the brass pipes.

This is not your granddaddy’s horror comic. This isn’t the kind of horror vampire book you can give a kid to give them a little thrill and then forget about it. It’s a beautifully disturbing book that really is for mature readers and not for the squeamish.

I love this book. Boom! Studios has released a sure-fire classic horror book, which is something that I think the industry has been lacking in recent years (possibly ever), and I have already put this on my monthly pull list.

As I said earlier, I wish on a scale of one to five I could give this a six or seven. But I’ll stick with the scale we’ve established, and I’m throwing down five baby Hellboys out of five.

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