Clive on The Adventures of Maximillian Bacchus and his Travelling Circus

"Which road do we take, Bacchus?" asked Hero.
Mr. Bacchus waved his stick around his head melodramatically.
"Does it matter?" he exploded, leaves spiralling through the air. "Does the vine ask where the sun is summoning it to? Why, there are towns everywhere, my boy! To the North! To the East! To the West! To the South! And everyone who lives, loves the Circus. Who could resist it? The lights! The music! The spectacle! Oh we shall go where oer the road leads, my boy! Now voyager, seek thou forth and find!"

"I was influenced by the stories of Lord Dunsany, with a wilful use of fantastic names. None of the characters in Bacchus were based on real people; actually that's not true, Ophelia, the ballerina, had a little of Ann Taylor who wanted to be a ballerina and the perfect prince was Graham Bickley who was just the most beautiful of people, a wonderful looking 18 year-old. I was Bacchus, the ringmaster."

Liverpool Lives

By Phil and Sarah Stokes, Memory, Prophecy and Fantasy (Volume 1), 2009

"I have let Roy Robbins have Mr Bacchus and his Travelling Circus. I'm very excited by that, Roy has promised to make it the best thing that he can... The only things that will come with it are some very poor black and white photographs that I took of the lost artwork - there were six pieces, all of which were given as gifts, all of which have been lost. There's Jozabiah Bentham and his crew, there's one of Bacchus, there's a demon boy which is half-finished, two or three other things but not very much and when Roy asked whether I wanted to illustrate it I thought no, the only thing I'll do is give you access to this work and let's together make something beautiful."

A Skein, A Train: Connections Made, Connections Missed...

By Phil and Sarah Stokes, 17 July 2008 (note - full text here)

"Richard T Kirk who is an extraordinary artist has done some mind-blowing black and white illustrations for the book. It is remarkable and so wonderful to have that much love to put into the work. He did the illustration for the appendices for the special edition of Imajica and he just has a completely has an off-the-wall imagination especially with what he can make happen on a page - it is just extraordinary. This will be a limited edition run with 2,500 copies. These are stories I started writing when I was 17 so there are some insights to back then. I deliberately didn't do any do any real edits and I didn't polish anything either. I just didn't do anything to 'improve' it either. Doing that would have completely been against the spirit of the project of 'this is what Barker did when he began.' I think they're very entertaining stories and I hope people have fun with them. I hope we get a movie out of them too because I think there is a wonderful movie there. Even in something I was writing back when I was 17 there's some really bad villains, some cross-dressing - you know, the 'usual' stuff. This is something that is very close to my heart because this is who I was when I was 17 and I haven't tried to change my very limited vocabulary from back then either. I hope people have a good time reading."


Conference call reported, (i) by Joseph McCabe as 'Clive Barker On The Next Books Of Blood Movies And Tortured Souls!',, 15 February 2009, (ii) by Brian Gallagher as 'Clive Barker Speaks Out on Midnight Meat Train',, 16 February 2009, (iii) by Heather Wixson as 'Clive Barker on Hell, Meat & More!', Dread, 17 February, 2009.

"The Bacchus book looks beautiful: I've seen what you've seen which is Richard Kirk's gorgeous, gorgeous, obsessive illustrations...
"What is nice about Bacchus and what will be nice about Candle in the Cloud is I have done nothing, I mean I have been very truthful to the impulses that first made me create these - yes, of course I've corrected grammatical errors and spellings and whatever but I have done nothing at all to the text itself... It would be a different thing and it isn't the book you started at seventeen or finished when you were twenty seven or whatever, it would be a different object and the whole point of it was to say, well, this is what I did, this is where my head was at the period between when I started it, I toyed with it, I went back and toyed with it and put it back... and the only thing I regret is I was hoping that maybe the picture I did of Jozabiah Bentham and his Circus would be flushed out by the publicity - I hoped someone had it... You don't happen to have a reproduction of that up on your site? I did a very detailed ink with a Rötring pen. I think it would be nice to have it on the site - it might be that someone is looking at it on their wall or something and there will be lots of people who visit the site who won't buy the book and it wouldn't hurt because even if we could just get a very high resolution scan of it, because I've got a piss-poor 35mil photograph of it, it would be really, really nice to have that - so there's maybe someone looking at it, or maybe somebody's just trashed it... "

The Bleed Between The Apprentice And The Master

By Phil and Sarah Stokes, 28 February and 7 March 2009 (note - full text here - see Clive's sketch of Jozabiah Bentham there!)

...other comments

Pete Atkins : "[It was] an idealised wish of what the Theatre of the Imagination might become. Clive thought he was Maximillian Bacchus, and we were his travelling circus - although, in the illustrations, Max looked more like Phil Rimmer, and Jozabiah Bentham, the villain, looked like Clive."

Hydra Rising

By Douglas E. Winter, Clive Barker: The Dark Fantastic, 2001

Richard Kirk : "I am really pleased to announce that I am illustrating Clive Barker's writing once again. For the last few weeks I've been working on sketches for The Adventures of Mr. Maxmillian Bacchus And His Travelling Circus which will be published by Roy Robbins' Bad Moon Books later this year. This weekend, I started inking the drawings...
"The book consists of four interwoven stories that form a larger narrative. This will be the first time that book has been published, which makes it a very exciting endeavor. I'll be doing at least eight illustrations for the interior, a wrap around cover and some other stuff. The illustrations for the book are going to be rich, detailed and fully rendered images."

The Adventures of Mr. Maximillian Bacchus And His Travelling Circus

By Richard Kirk, 11 August 2008 (note - full text online at

David Niall Wilson : "Though written forty years ago, these pages are littered with the same magical side steps that have always been woven into Clive Barker's fiction. Worlds not quite our own, and yet so real they ring with truth and leave you wishing you could step from your mundane life into that other place - into those caves of ice - if only long enough to catch Maximillian's show."


By David Niall Wilson, The Adventures of Mr. Maximillian Bacchus And His Travelling Circus, 12 September 2008

Maximillian Bacchus bibliography...

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