Friday, March 11, 2016

The Great and Secret Show

Memory, prophecy and fantasy—
the past, the future and
the dreaming moment between—
are all one country,
living one immortal day

To know that is Wisdom

To use it is the Art.

Who would have thought that Armageddon would begin in the dead letter office of the Omaha Central Post Office? A downtrodden nobody named Randolph Jaffe is assigned to sort an entire room filled to bursting with undeliverable mail and set aside anything of importance, but he finds something far more valuable than an uncashed check. No, in the deep undercurrents of American life revealed in the letters he reads, he discovers a secret wholly unknown to the ignorant masses: a powerful legacy called the Art that seems to belong to a mysterious group known as the Shoal. To a man like Jaffe, who suffers from delusions of grandeur coupled with bad intentions, this is dangerous information. And when he finds in yet another envelope a strange medallion etched with primal symbols, his quest to find and possess the Art and all it encompasses begins. With a murder. And a fire.

Jaffe does not go unopposed, though. As he gains more knowledge and power, others are conscripted to fight him in an epic battle between good and evil that unfolds over decades. There is, however, a third party in this conflict, a cosmic evil that intends to exploit the destruction the opposing armies have created for its own malevolent ends—complete domination of the Earth.

This, in a teeny-tiny nutshell, is the gist of Clive Barker’s epic The Great and Secret Show. Trust me, folks, there’s so much more to this story than what you’ve just read above, and it will bend and stretch your imagination in ways you’ve never thought possible. But (hint, hint) if graphic novels are more your speed, you’re in luck, for The Great and Secret Show was given an excellent adaptation in comic-book form by Chris Ryall, released in twelve parts and eventually gathered into one awesome volume: The Complete Clive Barker’s The Great and Secret Show. The artwork, by Gabriel Rodriguez (Locke & Key), is superb. So if you’re looking for a darkly fantastic graphic novel with a literary bent, give this one a try. And if you've actually read Barker's novel, I think you'll be very pleased with what Ryall and Rodriguez have created from it.   

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