Barlowe's Inferno

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Barlowe's Inferno
Barlowe's Inferno.jpg
AuthorWayne Barlowe
CountryUnited States
Published1998 (Morpheus International)
Media typePrint (hardcover)
741.6/4/092 21
LC ClassNC975.5.B36 A4 1998

Barlowe's Inferno details artist/author Wayne Barlowe's imaginary journey to a unique and vivid depiction of Hell. A loose running narrative to the book's striking images explains that Barlowe has made an undisclosed deal in order to be taken on a tour of the Pit by Sargatanas, the Revealer of Hell, and one of the Demons Major. The Demons Major are Hell's ruling class, and below them serve the Demons Minor. Human souls make up the lowest rung of Hell's hierarchy and are also its chief resource, being easily twisted and reshaped by their masters into (among other things) beasts of burden, means of conveyance, war machines, and building materials.

Barlowe is taken around to the cities that exist in Hell. Among them is a city which is slowly and continually built on two planes: one above, hanging upside-down, and one below, built by soul laborers. Each time the city is completed the great molars crash together, and the Sisyphean task starts anew. Other locations included are the Wargate, an "archiorganic" building filled with millions of miles of blood vessels and a slow beating heart that acts as a war drum, the living Watchtowers and their Sphinx-like guardians, and the residence of one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

In the sequel, Brushfire: Illuminations from the Inferno, it is implied that Lucifer was reduced to a black substrate when he fell. This lava-like substance forms a layer that runs underneath all of Hell. He observes as cult members, the Daughters of Lucifer, make their pilgrimage to the edge of Hell, where this black substance comes up to the surface, called Lucifer's Shroud. The current regent of Hell is Beelzebub, who rules from within his abominable palace at the heart of Dis.

A third canto to Barlowe's original Inferno, God's Demon, sees the Lord Sargatanas leading a campaign against Beelzebub in order to lead demons and souls alike back Home, to the gates of Heaven itself.

Fox Animation Studios had originally planned to create a CGI adaptation of Barlowe's Inferno, but all plans were scrapped with Titan A.E. 's failed release & the subsequent closing of the studio.

A digital version of Barlowe's Inferno was included in the Divine Edition of the 2010 video game Dante's Inferno.

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