Forget Frankie Cocozza and his ITV-sanctioned revelry, new graphic novel Hellraisers follows the adventures of “four of the greatest boozers of all time”, Richard Burton, Richard Harris, Peter O’Toole and Oliver Reed…
Written by Robert Sellers and drawn by JAKe, Hellraisers (published by SelfMadeHero) is effectively a joint biography of the four British actors, known perhaps as much for their drink-related antics as their cinematic performances. (Reed sadly managed to combine the two in the end, consuming a fatal amount of rum whilst on location for Gladiator; his final scenes completed with the aid of CGI.)
The story itself concerns a lone pub drinker called Martin who is visited by the actors, each taking him on a tour of their lives, loves and various descents into boozy chaos. The point being that while this generation of hellraisers sought to shake up the acting establishment – and had a good time doing so – this did not come without its problems, and JAKe’s art is perfectly suited to portraying these handsome, dishevelled, and ultimately tragic characters.
Without spoiling the ending, Martin’s time with the Hellraisers is enough to make him think about his own boozing. The episode recalling Reed’s time on Michael Aspel’s talk show, for example, is something no-one would ever want to recreate:
Here’s Richard Harris telling of his casting in a stage production of Camelot:
And here’s another of Oliver Reed antics, appearing to eat koi from a hotel fishpond while filming The Three Musketeers in Madrid in 1973. The ‘fish’ were in fact fish-shaped pieces of carrot that Reed had fashioned the night before and added to the pool. More on that story, here.
Hellraisers is published by SelfMadeHero on November 19; £14.99