Picture from Boom! Comics Hellraiser, written by Clive Barker
Art by Tim Bradstreet
As a Clive Barker fan, I love Hellraiser. From the novella it was based on, The Hellbound Heart, to the first four movies, especially Hellraiser and Hellbound: Hellraiser II (I try to forget the ones after four were even made), and the comics written by Clive Barker and others, the Hellraiser mythos is one of my favorites. There’s a Faustian aspect to the story that’s fun, mixed with a Pandora’s Box theme that’s reminiscent of ancient Greek mythology, and a good blend of outright horror and dark fantasy that Clive Barker is renowned for.
What is there not to love about Pinhead? His story is an interesting one. He was a military man with an interest in philosophy, who wanted to dive into the mysteries of existence, to know it all. His search lead him on a search which ended with a puzzle box. The puzzle box, as it had done to many others before and after Pinhead, sent him on an agonizing trip to hell. The difference between Pinhead and other people who played with the box, however, was that he became enlightened enough to become a strong, feared leader of the Cenobites, creatures who serve Hell’s “god”, Leviathan. With this power, he was able to drag others in Hell, and avoid being a mere victim.
About a year ago, in May of 2015, Clive Barker put out a book that spelled the end for Pinhead: The Scarlet Gospels. While it’s not my favorite book he’s ever written, there are some beautiful scenes in it, particularly the entire prologue and almost any scene that features Pinhead, whom Clive calls The Hell Priest in the novel. There are some pretty cool fight scenes, and fascinating visuals in environment description, and an awesome suit of armor that shows up in the novel as well. Sadly, this novel was written to close the Hellraiser mythos and retire Pinhead for good.
The Hell Priest, who I will always refer to as Pinhead, and Hellraiser in general has been handled by many writers, but the series and its main antogonist will always be Clive Barker’s creations. No one does it like him when it comes to handling Hellraiser, and in the past few years (I believe 2011-2013?) he put out amazing comics through Boom! which went deeper into the story after the first two movies. He brought back the best protagonist of the series, Kristi, and took us further into his Hell, gave us more of an understanding of how this world and this mythos worked. There were two other Boom! Hellraiser miniseries that came along with this main Hellraiser comic, and both were great, introducing more characters and perspectives. Harry D’Amour, Clive Barker’s paranormal detective, appeared in the comics as he did in The Scarlet Gospel.
I love Clive’s novels, and I love his comic writing even more. I honestly wished the Hellraiser comics from Boom! could have just kept going as a long term series, and I was sad when it all ended. As I liked the Boom! comics way more than The Scarlet Gospels, and hated to see Clive give The Hell Priest an end, it would be cool to see more Hellraiser comics from Clive Barker. Of course, I respect Clive as a writer and the creator of the series; if he was ready to end it, then that’s it. He was ready to end it. Still, I keep my fingers crossed and hope that Pinhead comes back from the dead, or is resurrected somehow to bring more despair, misery, and woe to mankind.