Clive Barker

From Academic Kids

Clive Barker (born October 5, 1952, Liverpool, England) is a British author, director and visual artist.

He studied English and Philosophy at Liverpool University.

Barker is one of the leading authors of contemporary horror/fantasy, starting out with pure horror writing early in his career, mostly in the form of short stories (collected in Books of Blood 1 - 6), and later moving towards epic modern-day fantasy with some horror elements. Barker's distinctive style is characterized by the notion of hidden fantastical worlds existing side by side with our own (an idea he shares with contemporary Neil Gaiman), the role of sexuality in the supernatural and the construction of coherent, complex and detailed mythologies.

When the Books of Blood were first published in the United States in cheap paperback editions, the originality, intensity and overall quality of the stories led popular author Stephen King to say of Barker: "I have seen the future of horror and its name is Clive Barker." (This is a paraphrase of a famouse quote said of Bruce Springsteen at the beginning of his career.)



Barker has a keen interest in movie production, although his movies have received varying acclaim. The most successful was 1987's Hellraiser, based on his novella "The Hellbound Heart". His early movies, the shorts The Forbidden and Salome are experimental art movies with surrealist elements, now rereleased together, to moderate critical acclaim. After his film Nightbreed, which was widely considered to be a flop, Barker returned to write and direct Lord of Illusions. He is currently working on a series of movie adaptations of his The Abarat Quartet books, under Disney's management; a script based from a real Miami, Florida newspaper article (, about the creepily-universal supernatural myths homeless children tell one another; and a film based on his Tortured Souls line of toys from McFarlane Toys.

A short story from The Books of Blood collection provided the basis for the film Candyman and its two sequels.

Visual art

Barker is also a prolific and talented visual artist, working in a variety of media, often illustrating his own books. His paintings can be seen on the covers of the collections of his plays, Incarnations (1995) and Forms of Heaven (1996), as well as the original UK publications of his Books of Blood series. His artwork has been exhibited at the Bess Cutler Gallery in New York and La Luz De Jesus in Los Angeles. Many of his sketches and paintings can be found in the collection Clive Barker, Illustrator, published in 1990 by Arcane/Eclipse Books. He also worked on the creative side of a horror game, Clive Barker's Undying developed by DreamWorks Interactive and released in 2001) to moderate success and acclaim.

Comic books

A longtime comics fan, Barker achieved his dream of publishing his own superhero books when Marvel Comics launched the Razorline imprint in 1993. Based on detailed premises, titles and lead characters he created specifically for this, the four interrelated titles — set outside the Marvel universe — were Ectokid (written first by James Robinson, then by future Matrix co-creator Larry Wachowski, with art by Steve Skroce), Hokum & Hex (written by Frank Lovece, art by Anthony Williams), Hyperkind (written by Fred Burke, art by Paris Cullins) and Saint Sinner (written by Elaine Lee, art by Max Douglas).

As Barker described, [1] ( "I wanted to do a superhero comic, something which would be my take on what superheroes were going to be like in the '90s... Hyperkind fell into that category. I wanted to do something that was magical and mystical in the way that Doctor Strange was and still is. Doctor Strange was one of my favourite comics from when I was a kid. So I suppose Hokum & Hex is my take on that. Ectokid, which is perhaps the second weirdest of the bunch, is a kind of dream story for the 15-year-old that's still alive to me — the tale of an adolescent who lives in two worlds and has access to a whole other sphere of reality. And Saint Sinner is just a wild one, the series which hopefully will press the limits of what comics can do." The four were preceded by a one-shot sampler: Razorline: First Cut. Though superhero comics with a Comics Code seal, they were often racked with horror and unrated comics, a factor that entered into the Razorline's short run of seven to nine issues each. Two further one-shots followed: Hyperkind Unleashed and Ektokid Unleashed.

A later Barker telefilm titled Saint Sinner bore no relation to the comic. "I was always disappointed with the way that Marvel handled that entire line of comics, particularly Saint Sinner. I thought that's a waste of a good title. It was something that called for finding a new life in some way or another."[[2] (]

Barker horror adaptations and spin-offs in comics include the Marvel/Epic series Hellraiser, Nightbreed, Pinhead, The Harrowers, Book of the Damned and Jihad; Eclipse Books' series and graphic novels Tapping The Vein, Dread, Son of Celluloid, Revelations The Life of Death, Rawhead Rex and The Yattering and Jack; and Dark Horse Comics' Primal, among others.


Clive Barker has been openly gay since the early 1990s, first mentioning his dating life to US audiences in the pages of "Advocate" magazine. He lives with his partner, a photographer named David Armstrong, and daughter Nicole, in Los Angeles, CA, along with a great many pets (dogs, fish, even a bird - named Malingo).





See also

External links

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