In 1990, Clive Barker wrote and directed an adaptation of his novella “Cabal,” which was released under the name “Nightbreed.” The film was less than successful in theaters, but gained new life as a cult favorite in the ensuing years thanks to its way-outside-the-norm perspective and a booming home video industry. In the film, a young man named Aaron Boone dreams of a place called Midian that attracts monsters from all over, to live in peace away from a world that hates and fears them. Filled with unusual characters, “Nightbreed” struck a chord with fans. Among them is “Batwoman” writer Marc Andreyko, who is penning the new “Nightbreed” comic from BOOM! Studios, with input from Barker and art by Piotr Kowalski (“Sex,” “Marvel Knights: Hulk”).
Of course, this is not the first time the world of Midian has been presented to comic book audiences. From 1990 to 1993, Marvel’s Epic imprint produced 25 issues written and drawn by a variety of creators, including D.G. Chichester, Butch Guice, Bret Blevins, Mike Manley, Colleen Doran Tony Harris and Phil Hester.
In recent years, “Nightbreed” has experienced an upswing in popularity thanks to what’s been dubbed the “Cabal Cut” of the film, which incorporates about an hour of footage shot by Barker that was excised from the original, theatrical version. Shout Factory’s Scream Factory imprint is working on an official home video release, while whispers of a TV series being developed have been heard.
While Andreyko is familiar with the preceding comics and original 1988 novella, he told CBR News that he has plans for new, different stories about some of Midian’s more interesting denizens, jumping around time to find out where they came from. We spoke with Andreyko about working with Barker, his longtime desire to create “Nightbreed” comics and how his dream has finally come true.
CBR News: How did you get involved with this project? Was it something you had in mind for a while, or is it a project BOOM! approached you about?
Marc Andreyko: I’d been bugging Ross and the gang about “Nightbreed” for three years! I think they finally gave in just to shut me up. It’s my favorite of Clive’s novels — called “Cabal” — and I remember seeing the movie on opening night back in college.
What was it about “Cabal” that drew you in when you first read it?
Monsters, monsters, monsters! The novel creates such an elaborate world with so much history and so many characters, I feel like a kid in a candy store. I’ve been waiting for this opportunity for 25 years! I feel like a kid who’s been asked to the adult table at Thanksgiving for the first time!
What kind of interaction have you had with Clive? Are you working off of his notes, scripts, designs or anything like that?
In addition to working from the character designs from the sorely-underrated film, Clive and his people have been involved every step of the way. It’s been a dream having Clive read stuff I write, and his input has been invaluable. Clive’s guiding hand and his fingerprints are an integral part of the series — and hey, two metaphors!
It’s been said that Clive Barker wanted “Nightbreed” to be his “Star Wars.” Did that idea come into play on your end while working on the story?
Not really. I think Clive meant he wanted an expansive universe with history and epic scope. With these characters and with his foundation, exploring this world in depth will be a fun, scary, exciting journey.
The series splits time between two eras. What can you tell us about the two settings and what they mean to each other?
Actually, we leap throughout different eras in the first eight issues! The first two-parter is pre-Civil War South and post-WWII Boston. And Midian, too.
What characters from the movie or short story will readers be introduced to?
Well, we start out focusing on Peloquin and Shuna Sassi in the first arc, but character who have never had much “screen time” rapidly come into play. In the initial stories, [Dirk] Lylesburg is our guide, as he reveals origins and how these characters found their way to Midian.
Midian’s one of those places that has a personality all its own. How would you describe that personality in this book?
We’re building on the characters’ pasts and how they came to find community in Midian. The secrets/origins of the city itself will be doled out — gradually.
Does this book take into account the stories laid down in the previously existing “Nightbreed” comics?
I read the Epic series when it came out, but this is all-new, fresh stuff we’re dealing with here.
At this point, are there a set number of issues you’re working towards for the book?
I’d love to hit 100 issues at least! So buy multiple copies! They make great gifts.
“Nightbreed” #1 by Marc Andreyko, Piotr Kowalski, Clive Barker and BOOM! Studios creeps into stores on May 28.