Comic Name: Clive Barker’s The Thief of Always
Writer: Kris Oprisko
Artist: Gabriel Hernandez
# of Issues: 3
Release Date: 2005
Reprints Clive Barker’s The Thief of Always #1-3 (January 2005-May 2005). The cold, blustery days of February are eating Harvey Swick alive. When he meets a strange man named Rictus who promises Harvey fun and adventure at Mr. Hood’s Holiday House, Harvey heads off to chase the cold away. At Mr. Hood’s Holiday House, Harvey finds himself with other children looking for wonder and adventure. Each day brings all the holidays and all the seasons…everything a boy could want! Mr. Hood’s Holiday House has a secret however and Harvey is about to find out Mr. Hood’s Holiday House isn’t as perfect as he thought.
Adapted by Kris Oprisko and illustrated by Gabriel Hernandez, Clive Barker’s The Thief of Always adapts Clive Barker’s The Thief of Always which was released in 1992. The comic book was released in three oversized volumes and collected by IDW.
I love The Thief of Always and read it when it was released in 1992. I was very disappointed when Neil Gaiman released Coraline in 2002 because I felt he borrowed a lot of what I liked about The Thief of Always to make Coraline, and the movie adaptation of Coraline doomed The Thief of Always in that it would just be seen as a copycat film…when it was the original.
I was happy to see it adapted into this nice series. I had the original comics and was pleased by the nice collection. The adaptation is pretty straight forward. It follows the book closely and keeps the creepy nature of the story. The great thing about The Thief of Always is that Barker isn’t afraid to scare the readers. It feels a bit like Roald Dahl (who I put up as one of the best children’s writers since he doesn’t write down to them), but there is a darker, meaner twist to it that Dahl didn’t have.
The art for the series really helps bring the story to life. Hernandez really gets the story and look down. It isn’t a very brightly colored comic (something I think might have worked a bit better…especially when Holiday House was introduced as a sense of wonder).
Clive Barker’s The Thief of Always should be sought out, but read the novel first. Remember when you are reading that the book was released before Coraline. Though Coraline has good points to it and is more fleshed out, The Thief of Always remains one of my favorites and this adaptation is a strong one.