“Living Hell meets the Dead of Night. It’s been foretold in the icy malevolence of the stars. A diabolic high priest offering down a prayer for war — a war waged in the name of the cold altar of the infernal. An undead messiah and his monstrous flock steeling themselves against a battle for what’s left of their souls. Two dark faiths, baring fang and fury in an unholy crusade only one side will survive… From the midnight imagination of best-selling author Clive Barker come the merciless Cenobites and savage Nightbreed, clashing for the first time anywhere in a wicked war of warm blood, twisted betrayal and unnatural redemption…” – Marvel.wikia.com
Launched by Jim Shooter in 1982, Epic Comics was Marvel’s creator-owned sister company, publishing high quality adult comics like Marshal Law, Groo, Moonshadow, Elfquest, Meltdown, and Elektra; Assassin. Epic also got the rights to Clive Barker’s Hellraiser and Nightbreed, which were two stellar series that both ran for several issues. Nightbreed even featured a crossover with Rawhead Rex. In 1991, DG Chichester and Paul Johnson further cemented Barker’s films into a unified comic-verse when Cenobites met Nightbreed in the two issue prestige format series Jihad.
The story focused on a younger generation of Cenobites that want to purge the Nightbreed as they are seen as a threat to Hell’s perfect order. Pinhead does not approve of this war with the ‘Breed, but he is defied and forced (with Chatterer) into an uneasy alliance with the ‘Breed.
It’s a short and simple, straight forward story, but with mind-blowing artwork that often borders on the surreal. Part one was called “As Above…” while part two was called “…So Below.” For the life of me, I don’t remember how Chatterer is alive or where the story falls in the timeline of the Hellraiser films (it’s certainly set after the events of the Nightbreed film and the comic series, as it features Boone.
Unfortunately for me, I’ve long since lost “As Above…” In fact, my Barker comic collection is fairly disjointed at this point, as I only have the Epic Hellraiser series and a handful of the Barker/Marvel superhero Razorline comics, as well as the Barker/Steve Niles team up Night Of The Living Dead; London.
The comics were amazingly important and special to me after I’d fallen in love with the film versions of these two properties. Nightbreed especially, which spoke directly to my outsider heart, growing up in a redneck small town.
As we’ve now passed the quarter century mark on this fantastic series, it would be nice to see a special remastered graphic novel re-release, hopefully with loads of bonus material. This series is hard to find, but belongs on every Barker fan’s shelf.