I finally finished reading Hellraisers by Robert Sellers & JAKe from UK publisher SelfMadeHero. Here's the official blurb:
Hellraisers is the story of four of the greatest boozers of all time: Richard Burton, Richard Harris, Peter O'Toole and Oliver Reed. Robert Sellers and JAKe cleverly weave the four biographies seamlessly into one fast-paced adventure of drunken binges, orgies, parties and fun. Told through the eyes of Martin, a wannabe Hellraiser, the story begins in a typical London pub at Christmas time. One by one, each of the four Hellraisers take this disillusioned soul of a personal tour of their childhoods, rise to stardom and chaotic personal lives.
It's a heavy read at 160 pages with lots of text. Which totally makes sense since we are talking about actors here. And some of the finest of their generation. Being a recovering actor myself, I know the need for a good soliloquy in real life. And boy do they deliver. As they take Martin through their lives, they wax poetic about their origins, many loves and careers.
Sellers really blends their histories together well in this story. It made me want to look them all up and see how much of this actually happened. Some seemed as though it was just part of their legend and not necessarily true but certainly makes for fascinating and fun reading. (For example, the rumored "alcohol crystallization" of Burton's spinal cord).
JAKe utilizes several varying panel layouts but most frequently relies on the 9 panel a page format. Likely due to the amount of text involved. He blends up the stories well and really captures the characters. Not just nailing their likenesses, which he does, but their character. Just look at the cover and see the depths of their soul in their faces. Their eyes. Just great stuff! It's black and white which allows for perhaps even more gravitas to these larger than life actors.
Now, I enjoy my drink. But I've never been one to just keep going and going. Sure, I'll have the rare night of not stopping but I tend to have a really high tolerance and know when I'm done. The way these guys drank, I'm stunned they were able to even perform daily life at all. They made them of sterner stuff back then! We all have some good drunken stories, but not as many or as wild as these guys.
Whether you're a fan of any of these actors or not, you will definitely be entertained by their revelling and rebelling. Highly recommend you pick it up! This is definitely a contender for one of my top picks of the year. Not available in the U.S. until January 2013 (that I know of, please correct if I'm wrong) but you can buy from Amazon UK.
p.s. You can hear me interview JAKe at Kapow Con in London back in May. COMIC NEWS INSIDER EPISODE 405. Great chatting and really cool insight to the book.