Graphic Novels and Comics

IDW's The Great And Secret Show

The Great And Secret Show - Issue One cover art (Trinity variant), Gabriel Rodriguez 2005 The Great And Secret Show - Issue One cover art (Quiddity variant), Gabriel Rodriguez 2005

...In the wake of their successful Thief of Always partnership, IDW's Chris Ryall developed plans to adapt The Great And Secret Show as part of a longer term desire to work on Clive's novels and new, original comic titles (see Other Stuff Still To Come...)
Issue one (of twelve) comes with two variant covers by the artist, Gabriel Rodriguez and also a sketch cover and a signed sketch cover by Clive (see bibliography for details), using artwork originally seen in the deluxe, illustrated edition of the novel. Although Issue One has been a sell-out through Diamond distributors (see below), copies may still be available through IDW.
News is continually posted at the newly revamped IDW site which has a wealth of new content - especially regarding upcoming titles - and is currently showcasing a five page preview of The Great and Secret Show issue one...

"I'm hoping we all get to work on The Great and Secret Show and Everville. I'd love Sacrament as a comic project. I mean, you know how much I love comics. They've always been a part of my life. I'm sitting here in my library surrounded by books and comics! And painting and image-making has always been a part of my life, so it's definitely something I want to be doing with you guys again, as soon as possible."

An Interview With Clive Barker

By [ ], The Thief Of Always graphic novel, Book 3, May 2005

"I am delighted to be working with IDW, adapting some of my works could be a massive undertaking which I know IDW will meet head on. One I am most looking forward to is a planned adaptation of The Great and Secret Show, a very visual novel of violence, sex and intimations of Apocalypse. I can't wait to see the result, and no one is better suited to deliver then IDW."

Press Release

By [ ], IDW Publishing, 5 July 2005

"I had always wanted to do the Great and Secret Show mythology - the 'Quiddity' mythology, if you will - with Eclipse Comics way back when. They had done some beautiful adaptations of the Books of Blood, and they actually started on an adaptation of The Great and Secret Show years ago when they went under... But the story is a very visual story, and lends itself not only to obviously being depicted visually, but, and this is aimed in your particular direction, to expand the mythology beyond The Great and Secret Show and Everville, and the third book to come, into other areas. I think the idea of the Dream-Sea is something that could be explored further. I have always wanted to explore this world in comics, and see an artist as we have use beautifully presenting the imagery to show this world and perhaps use it as a jumping-off place for further exploration.
"I'm not one of those people - you know I'm not one of those people who sort of has an, 'oh, comics are beneath me' attitude - you know, tomorrow's Wednesday, and that's new comics day. I take real pleasure in the medium. I'm a 53-year-old guy, but last night, I had a choice between taking a big, solid handful of backissues to read or a novel, and I said 'fuck it, I'm gonna read comics.' Now, I wonder how many 53-year-olds still grab a handful of comics to read at night. I bet you it's more than we think."

Talking Comics With Clive Barker

By Chris Ryall, Newsarama, 3 February 2006 (note: full text online at

"I'm really delighted by this - Chris [Ryall] is just a perfectly great guy and he fought very hard, as did I, to make sure that we could get this in twelve issues, not six, so that we really do have a chance of telling some of the nuances of the story. I've seen the first two issues, both of which look really great and Gabriel [Rodriguez] has achieved some effects in the art which are - the lovely moment towards the beginning when the Jaff comes up and finds his enemy sitting looking at the window, looking out of the window - I don't know if you recall the moment but it's an incredible moment of stillness in the middle of all this drama and magic and stuff and he's just achieved something really lovely. And when the violence comes along, as it does early on in that story, in the Dead Letters Room, it's graphically told and efficiently dealt with and then we move on - it's just damn good storytelling. And I think when it's collected up into a single volume it will sit very nicely beside the regular edition, the literary edition, as a film would sit, as it were, beside its literary source; a different thing entirely brought from the same place and it's a bloody hard thing to do, with a novel that big. And I have not yet seen how things develop when we get to Quiddity, which we only do very briefly in Great and Secret Show, obviously if this goes well we'll speed on to Everville. Meanwhile, I'm talking with Chris and his team about doing some other things where I might originate some material for the company. Comics are such a source of pleasure to me. It's nice to be able to give some of that back "

Abarat. Abarat. Abarat. Abarat... Abarat!

By Phil & Sarah Stokes, 13th & 20th March, 2006 (note: full text here)

"An adaptation must reconfigure the story so that it works as a comic book, and I don't think we're looking for comic book readers who are already familiar with The Great And Secret Show. These twelve issues have to make sense to somebody who's never picked up a Clive Barker book, so they've got to make sense as comics. In the three movies that I made as a director, all of them were adapted by me from my own books and I violated the source material violently with no regrets about it, so I think when you move mediums, things change. It's just the nature of the game."

Weird Fantasy

By Joe Nazzaro, Starburst, Special No 76, July 2006

Chris Ryall (IDW) : "The chance to work with a true talent like Clive and bring new life to his existing works, as well as to offer comic extensions of his upcoming movies and some new, original projects besides is definitely a highlight of my tenure at IDW."

Press Release

By [ ], IDW Publishing, 5 July 2005

Chris Ryall (IDW) : "After working on various projects with various licensors, the thing I've come to learn about Clive Barker is that he gives the people working on his stuff a level of freedom and trust that's pretty well unheard of, at least in my experience... Like in the case of our Thief Of Always adaptation, he said the writer and artist took the book in different directions than he ever would have wanted, and was very happy with the results. So to that end, he's a great, inspiring and empowering guy to be working with. I was in as the writer on this book without ever having to plead my case. "Now, the art. The important part. This book features moments in a small California town north of Los Angeles, with regular people and regular situations. It also features vague transformations, locations outside of our time and space, other lands and concepts that aren't easily defined on paper. The artist would have to be somebody who could handle both equally well. "Clive said he didn't want to be led any way on the artists. 'I'm the type who walks into The Gap and knows right away if I like an outfit - I don't need to be sold.' Which is the way I wanted to handle it anyway, and just hope that somehow the artist I wanted was the artist he liked. The artist I wanted is a guy named Gabriel Rodriguez...
"I started to lay out the samples for Clive. Gabe's was first, which, I suppose, was me stacking the deck just slightly... I started to reach for the next sample when Clive said, 'This is our guy. I want him, and only him.' I tried to hide my smile. He agreed it'd be fair to look at all the other samples, just to see if he passed someone better. He liked what others had to offer, and thought some might be good for future projects (in the middle of '06 will be Damnation Game, and I've already got a good, established comic writer signed up for that one), but he never faltered in his belief that Gabe was the guy to make this project happen."

The (Hopefully) Great And (Not-So) Secret Show, Part I

By Chris Ryall, Movie Poop Shoot, 10 October 2005 (note - full text online at

Chris Ryall (IDW) : [Re solicitation cover art]"The thing I've seen with Gabe so far is, I ask for one thing, and I get it, clearer and better than I envisioned, with some extra touches that help make the scene that much better. That was certainly true here, too. Gabe had the idea of adding magical symbols to the mailbox, since various forms of magic are the crux of this book. He was closer than he knew, since there is a medallion that shows up early on, featuring a figure that's neither man nor woman, on a cross (not crucified), with circular symbols protruding from where the hands and feet lie at the ends of this cross. We'd put this symbol on the post of the mailbox. More and more, I started feeling that the cover was incorporating elements that appear throughout the book, and would set a good mood, and be rewarding more and more, the deeper people got into the story. Which was exactly what I wanted with this first cover."

The (Hopefully) Great And (Not-So) Secret Show, Part II

By Chris Ryall, Movie Poop Shoot, 24 October 2005 (note - full text online at

Chris Ryall (IDW) : "The characters are the most important of all. In TGASS, there are at least a dozen important, prominent characters that appear, and multiple locations and lands as well. With a novel, the author can be descriptive, but not feel constrained by visuals. Especially with someone like Clive Barker, who works more with concepts and ideas and lets the readers draw conclusions of their own. He doesn't write his books like he's casting a movie. Instead, a character is described by their dialogue, by their actions. Which leaves all kinds of room for interpretation... "For Gabriel (Rodriguez, the artist on TGASS), this will be incredibly liberating, especially after working on projects that required likenesses (CSI, Land Of The Dead). So it's up to me to get things started, through solid character descriptions... they don't delve too deeply into the characters themselves beyond the surface. To do so might confuse the issue at this juncture, and I really just wanted Gabriel's visceral first take on the characters."

The (Hopefully) Great And (Not-So) Secret Show, Part III

By Chris Ryall, Movie Poop Shoot, 7 November 2005 (note - full text online at

Chris Ryall (IDW) : "When I mentioned the first issue before, I stated that we were planning it for February '06. That changed by a month, for various reasons, but in part to ensure that we had enough time to do all the upfront preparation and coordination. This isn't the type of book that'd benefit from just winging it issue by issue, so we're outlining various things beyond just getting the characters' appearances down and addressing each of those. So rather than rush, we moved the book to March officially. The solicitations and cover images have been sent off to Diamond Distributors, for their Previews catalogue. We did stick with the plan to develop two very similar covers for this first issue, each one showing a different land from the book. The first cover I showed displayed the time-lost land called The Loop. And the second cover... illustrates Quiddity, which is the land of 'the dream sea,' the area/ideal that one man, Jaffe, is trying to conquer, and Fletcher (and Kissoon, and Howie and Jo-Beth) are trying to save. Picturing Quiddity as described in the book... is a challenge, to say the least. It's a dark land of dark seas, with no stars but lights like the Northern Lights, filled with archpelagos but overall left very vague; it's one of the places that could possibly be best left to each reader's imagination, but that wouldn't be much fun for an illustrated adaptaion, would it? So you're getting the Chris-and-Gabe version of Quiddity; it just might appear differently to you on the three times you, too, will visit it... Clive expressed his happiness with what we've done with the place, so that's good enough for us."

The (Hopefully) Great And (Not-So) Secret Show, Part IV

By Chris Ryall, Movie Poop Shoot, 21 November 2005 (note - full text online at

Chris Ryall (IDW) : "The Great And Secret Show will, in all likelihood, never be adapted to film. It'd never work, and so much would be lost that the final result wouldn't be anything like the book anyway. If anything, it might work as a miniseries, but even then, visions of the truncated version of Stephen King's IT dance in my head. But chances are, this comic version would be the only real graphic adaptation of the book. So I really wanted to make sure to get it right.
"When I was re-reading TGASS last summer, I made notes throughout, and tabbed chapters that seemed like proper breaks for the comics - that was the first step. When I had the thing broken into twelve chapters (each one anywhere from 70-100 pages), I then began breaking down each chapter into its most basic 'beats.' This is really just bullet-pointing the action that needs to happen in each issue, and assigning page counts to each beat. When that's done, it leaves me with a basic, very skeletal outline of what needs to happen in the issue... "The great thing about TGASS is that it explores worlds within worlds, and looks behind the veil of reality as we know it. In short, magic. So Gabe and I decided it'd be a really nice visual treat to work in magic symbols, runes and characters from various cultures throughout the comic; they'd all make sense within the scene they appear, too - if a character is about to enter a new realm, maybe the Gaelic or Chinese symbol for 'gateway' appears in the background. There will be other little visual extras added into the issues, too - sure, in all likelihood, without us annotating these symbols, they may well only ever be seen by us. Which is also deliberate. Even as the lead character in issue one, Randolph Jaffe, starts to piece together a mystery that he never noticed before, maybe the reader will, over time, start to see recurring symbols or characters, too, and catch on to a larger picture within the issues themselves."

The (Hopefully) Great And (Not-So) Secret Show, Part V

By Chris Ryall, Movie Poop Shoot, 2 January 2006 (note - full text online at

Chris Ryall (IDW) : "Personally, I think the Clive Barker adaptation is going to be fantastic. Partly because I'm writing it, but also because of Clive's involvement and also the amazing art of Gabriel Rodriguez. And just because it's so different and more involved than the average comic book."

Chris Ryall Interview

By The Big, Bad Wolf, Comic Monsters, 3 January 2006 (note - full text online at

Chris Ryall (IDW) : "I know I've only got maybe a dozen published comics to my name thus far, but I feel that this first issue is far above and beyond anything I've done before, both in terms of what I did with the script and the visuals, too, and I really want to share that...
"As things stand now, on January 20, we've sent solicitation copy and cover images off for issues two and three, and Gabriel is into issue two's art. I'm working on outlining issue three."

The (Hopefully) Great And (Not-So) Secret Show, Part VI

By Chris Ryall, Movie Poop Shoot, 23 January 2006 (note - full text online at

Chris Ryall (IDW) : "It's great to see quality books met with such positive performance. We print significantly more copies than the initial orders we receive from Diamond. When we set a print run for a book, we try to print enough copies so that retailers will be able to re-order the books through the run of the series. These sell-outs [including Great And Secret Show Issue One] caught us by a surprise, and signal a nice upturn for the industry in general. I also hope these numerous sell-outs encourage retailers to similarly recognize the demand for IDW's books and order accordingly. As much as I love to see a title sell out, I like even more for anyone who wants an IDW comic to be able to easily find it."

IDW Sells Out!

By [ ], IDW Publishing, 17 April 2006 (note - full text online at

Chris Ryall (IDW) : "In the development of this book, Gabe[riel Rodriguez] and I talked every day about what we could do to extend the feeling of magic that permeates the novel. We spent some time studying runes, symbols and magic from various cultures, and decided to work some into the book, subliminally. At various times throughout the issues, runes and symbols that signify turning points in the issue appear. When all is said and done here, I plan to do full annotations for the series. Astute readers just might catch some symbols of their own..."

The Great And Secret Show Revealed

By Chris Ryall, The Great And Secret Show, Issue 3, May 2006

Chris Ryall (IDW) : "Yesterday at the office, I get a call from Clive Barker. He said he was only calling to reiterate how happy he was with our adaptation of the book I'll here now abbreviate as TGASS. Said that at the start of things, he wasn't entirely sure it was a novel that would work when adapted to comic book form, but that each issue, he's more and more impressed. He even said he's dying to see how it all ends.
"The point here isn't to drop his name or anything, though... rather, it's to point out that if TGASS the comic book is good enough for Clive, it's good enough for you, too.
"I've turned in the final script on this year-long (and then some) adaptation, and while I'm sad to see it end, I'm damned proud of how it's all come out (even moreso since Clive is happy)."

Name-droppers Suck

By Ryall,, 10 April 2007

Chris Ryall (IDW) : "My year-plus-long attempt to properly adapt Clive Barker's novel, The Great and Secret Show, to comics is nearing its public conclusion. I swear, the efforts of people like (in no particular order) Brian Bendis/Mark Bagley, Aragones/Evanier, Sim, Eric Larsen and so many others that've had 100-issue runs in my lifetime (I'd never even mention what Lee/Kirby did in the same sentence, it's so far above and beyond anyone else), impress me to no end. Just completing twelve issues here has been a big feat, and I'm relieved we kept the entire team (me, Gabriel Rodriguez and colorist Jay Fotos) together for the entire run. I knew those guys were reliable, but still, you never know what's gonna happen, so the fact that we got there makes me really happy (and yes, we've gotten there - issue twelve is off to print now, 23 pages plus a 2-page recap instead of the usual 22)."

The Penultimates

By Ryall,, 10 April 2007

Chris Ryall (IDW) : "In December, we're going to do a full collection of all twelve issues of Clive Barker's The Great and Secret Show, too (in both TPB and HC). I'm going to do full annotations for each issue, since we hid so many little extras in the art, and Clive is doing a new painting for the Hardcover edition, too. Can't wait to see that entire book all in one volume."

Wait, There's More!

By Ryall,, 22 August 2007

Chris Ryall: "I'll be hanging with Clive Barker at Mysterious Galaxy this Thursday, for his Mister B. Gone signing. I'll be bringing the first copies of The Complete Great and Secret Show collection, both in TPB form and hardcover, too. I won't see the books until Thursday morning myself, and I cant wait - it's a 300+ page collection of the entire series, so it'll be nice to have those at the signing, too. Click the link if you want any information about the signing. Maybe Clive will talk a little more about our upcoming new comic series that we're co-writing (which just feels ridiculous to even type, I have to say)."

Call Your Mom And Tell Her You Love Her

By Ryall,, 12 November 2007

Ambush Bug (reviewing) : "Chris Ryall is staying pretty close to the source material and artist Gabriel Robins not only makes his characters look creepy, but has illustrated some truly innovative imagery to make these mystical characters look like nothing I've seen in comics before. His depiction of The Jaff as a frail man surrounded by insectoid creatures and haloed by another face is a truly frightening image indeed."

The Great And Secret Show #1-6

By Ambush Bug, Ain't It Cool, 4 October 2006 (note - full text online at

Kenneth Gallant (reviewing) : "A series like this is jammed packed with big moments with the intent of having epic proportions attached to them, and I think writer Chris Ryall has done an admirable job of keeping the story on target. What I really like about his dialogue and plotting is how he has managed to stay true to Clive's original intent and because of it all the characters ring true from the source material. This is one of Clive's best novels and it's nice to see an adaptation that follows the narrative as closely as this project does.
"The art on the other hand has also surprised me in more ways than one... All [Clive's] characters have been brought to life to stand out individually, and in some ways their sequential incarnations are not far off from how Clive has written/described them in the book. Secondly, the source material is rife with an abundance of fantastic imagery and it has certainly not stopped Gabriel from finding the artistic inspiration to rival all of Clive's surreal descriptions in two-dimensional form."

The Great And Secret Show #7

By Kenneth Gallant, Broken Frontier, 22 November 2006 (note - full text online at

The Great And Secret Show - Issue Two cover art, Gabriel Rodriguez 2006 The Great And Secret Show - Issue Three cover art, Gabriel Rodriguez 2006 The Great And Secret Show - Issue Four cover art, Gabriel Rodriguez 2006 The Great And Secret Show - Issue Five cover art, Gabriel Rodriguez 2006 The Great And Secret Show - Issue Six cover art, Gabriel Rodriguez 2006 The Great And Secret Show - Issue Seven cover art, Gabriel Rodriguez 2006 The Great And Secret Show - Issue Eight cover art, Gabriel Rodriguez 2006 The Great And Secret Show - Issue Nine cover art, Gabriel Rodriguez 2006 The Great And Secret Show - Issue Eleven cover art, Gabriel Rodriguez 2006 The Great And Secret Show - Issue Ten cover art, Gabriel Rodriguez 2007 The Great And Secret Show - Issue Twelve cover art, Gabriel Rodriguez 2007

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