Friday, March 13, 2015

2015 Reading Challenge Book 045 Clive Barker's Great and Secret Show

TITLE-Clive Barker's Great and Secret Show Hardcover
AUTHOR-Chris Ryall adapting the Clive Barker Novel
FORMAT-trade paperback

Last year the Sci Fi Book club was clearing out a bunch of comic book hardcover and trades. I waited until they had a site wide sale going on and grabbed right at 100 bucks worth of comics for about 30 bucks with shipping. I had always heard good things about the comic adaptation of The Great and Secret show. Which is my favorite of Barker's full length novels.

I first read the novel back in 90 or 91. I was in my mid teens and I devoured the book in less than 4 days. By the second chapter I was hooked. And I would stay up until 2 am each night reading,which meant I ended up at school with 3 hours sleep.Hell during our daily 15 minute break between the first and second classes of the day I would sit out in the courtyard reading. Same with lunch. Which is why I am puzzled I waited so long to read this comic.

Chris Ryall does a really good job adapting the long and somewhat confusing book. It has been 4 or 5 years since I read the novel,but I didn't notice any major parts of it missing from the comic. Gabriel Rodriguez does something I haven't seen in many adaptations of novels into comics. He makes the various characters appear on the page very similar as they appeared in my head.

So what is the story. A postal worker gets assigned to the dead letter office in a central hub for the US Postal Service. His boss tells him to remove any money or jewelry from the packages and burn the rest. Jaffe,the postal worker,starts reading some of the letters and discovers a hidden society. Who practice what is called The Art. Using this they hope to break into the dream sea. Where all ideas and really every thing comes from. We learn that you will swim in the dream sea at least 2 times in your life. The first night you are alive,which of course you don't remember. And your final night alive. But there is a chance at a third visit. The first time you sleep beside your first true love you will visit it. Jaffe becomes consumed with using the Art to visit the dream sea Quiddity.

Thanks to a scientist,Jaffe manages to create a serum that evolves someone to godhood. Jaffe and Fletcher,the scientist,both evolve. And wage a decade long war. With Jaffe representing the dark side of humanity. And Fletcher representing the dreams and hopes of humanity.

Through a fairly involved sequence of events Jaffe and Fletcher end up having kids with some unsuspecting teens. Jaffe has a set of twins and Fletcher has a son.

By the time the kids are in their late teens,Fletcher's son comes to the town were he was conceived and this starts a chain reaction. Which might destroy all of existence.

I can't really say much more without spoiling a lot of the ending.I love how Barker leaves clues early on in the novel,that if you catch them will tell you vital information long before he straight up reveals it.

In the novels this is the first of "the Books of the Art" series. The second book came out in 94  or 95 and is titled Everville. But since then we haven't gotten another book. Both novels so far while leaving a few things left hanging,do have proper endings. I haven't even heard Barker talk about the Art series in a long time. When I met him almost 20 years ago I spaced out and didn't ask him about this series. I was just so happy that I was getting to meet one of my favorite authors.

Clive Barker's Great and Secret Show gets a 4.32 outta 5.