Friday, August 06, 2004

Normally From Hell by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell would not have taken me over a week to read. But I've been unusually busy lately with free movies (the first of which I loved and the second not so much. At all), my favorite Shakespeare play, and much TiVo related drama. Plus, how many extensively annotated graphic novels do you know of? Anyway. From Hell is absorbing - a look not only at the Jack the Ripper murders, but also at the dawn of the 20th century and all that they foreshadowed. Told from the viewpoints of Inspector Abbeline, the murder victims, and the murderer (here presented as Dr. William Gull, Royal Physician to Queen Victoria), the art is as detailed and well-researched as the story itself. And I thought the sex and murder in In the Cut were graphic. Whew. I don't feel qualified enough on the subject to place judgment on the identity of the suspect and the given motive for the killings, but it sounds plausible and hangs together well. But then, I thought the same thing of Patricia Cornwell's book naming Sickert as the Ripper too. Maybe it's like Moore says in the second appendix - that the search into who Jack the Ripper was has become less about the identity of the murderer and more about "the complex phantom we project. That alone, we know is real. The actual killer's gone, unglimpsed, might as well not have been there at all" and we will never know for sure who it was.

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