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Film Studies 101
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Hellraiser Comics Revisited
Pinhead's greatest hits

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Last week marked Clive Barker's return to his signature creation, with a new co-authored Hellraiser comics series published by Boom Studios. While Hellraiser's mostly ignominious sequels have thrashed and moaned in straight-to-DVD purgatory (six of the - so far - nine films never saw a cinema screen), the franchise has a more credible history in comics. Marvel offshoot Epic Comics' 1990s run boasts early work by some surprising contributors, taking Barker's bonkers S&M theology in some intriguing directions. Here are a few examples. What's your pleasure, sir?

WORDS OWEN WILLIAMS
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Hellraiser Comics Revisited | Wordsworth
Wordsworth

Words and pictures by: Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean

Published in: Hellraiser #20 (1993)

Where better to start than with Hellraiser's landmark twentieth issue? Wordsworth is an early example of the fruitful creative partnership between writer Neil Gaiman and artist Dave McKean, which had by this point already produced Violent Cases, Black Orchid and Signal to Noise, and the beginnings of Sandman, for which McKean provided cover art. Wordsworth showcases both Gaiman's ability to tell a simple story horrifyingly (or a horrifying story simply) and McKean's uniquely unsettling semi-photo collages. Clive Barker was by turns amused and alarmed by the grandiose mythology that others attached to his original tale. Wordsworth demonstrates that none of it is actually necessary. There are no cenobites here, and no puzzlebox. But its story of a librarian who becomes dangerously obsessed with solving a crossword puzzle that requires some quite specific research, is Hellraiser all the same...

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