First published back in May of 2009, after being scheduled for release by Eclipse back in the 1990’s, the graphic novel adaptation of Clive Barkers Age Of Desire by P. Craig Russell that was illustrated by Timothy Bradstreet, finally found publication after eighteen long years into the Desperado hardback release.  The tale was adapted from Clive Barker’s short story of the same name that first appeared in his anthology ‘Books Of Blood: Volume Four’ (1985).

DLS Synopsis:
Away from prying eyes in the private seclusion offered within Hume Laboratories, scientists Dr Welles and Dr Dance had been working on their own personal experiment.  They had dubbed it Project Blind Boy.  Exploratory research tapping directly into the sexual imagination – the libido.  And they had devised an agent that went well beyond the effects of the average aphrodisiac.  A chemical that kept the desire mounting and multiplying.  Driving the testee into further and further degrees of sexual excitement.  But now their first human guinea pig, Jerome, had somehow escaped.  After viciously killing, raping and mutilating the female Dr Dance, their test subject had gotten out of Hume Laboratories and into the wide open city outside.  His libido unstoppable, Jerome would rape, kill and murder until his insatiable lust quite simply burnt him out.  Until then, Inspector Carnegie together with officers McBride & Dooley would be hot on the trail of the rampaging murderer.  It’s just a matter of time before something gives…

DLS Review:
The short is (quite obviously) immersed from head to toe in sordid sexual cravings that have been magnified and ramped up until the constant pursuit of  sexual gratification has become a pulpishly deviant journey into a despicable abyss.  Barker doesn’t pull any punches when getting down and dirty with the escalating sexual exploits that our crazed test subject is engaging in.  With the cops always beating at his heels, the short begins to come across as a particularly warped ‘cop thriller’ until we return once again to the guttural nastiness of the premise.  Barker’s clearly not afraid to explore the dark and dirty world of sex spun out of control.  It’s just another angle to take one of his twisted tales in – and Barker simply gets on that horse and takes the reader into the gaping mouth with his oh-so-twisted imagination once more.

Together, P Craig Russell and Timothy Bradstreet’s illustrative artwork here is of some of the best seen in any of the ‘Books Of Blood’ adaptations.  The storyline fits so damn well with the storyboard format, especially with the imaginative and artist way in which Russell has transposed the storyline into the graphic novel strip format.  The result is an illustrative adaptation that flows with the same steady ease of the original short, with artwork that is evocative of the tale as well as truly capturing the real meaty essence of this desire pushed out of control. The imaginary used is often pushed to a much more mature level than some of the other ‘Eclipse’ era adaptations, with the sexual deviancy on show (but not overly) for all to see.  Although not originally designed to be, with the artwork remaining in black & white, the graphic novel as a whole seems just that little bit more sleazy, more in-the-gutter and as such more befitting.

The release also includes a two page passage from P. Craig Russell entitled ‘Give Me Your Heart’ which briefly tells of the struggles this particular adaptation went through before it was finally published after a wait of eighteen years.  Following on from that is a similarly themed three page passage from Tim Bradstreet entitled ‘Age Of Desire - A Journey’, telling his side of the problematic story.  Finally, the release includes four pages showing the first few pages of the original storyboard layouts that were sketched out by P. Craig Russell.

The graphic novel runs for a total of 64 pages of which 54 pages are taken up by the main story.

© DLS Reviews

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