So I decided that because of my new job I should really re-read From Hell. I have to say I'm very glad I did. It was so much better now I knew where everything was, not just within Whitechapel but also all the other parts of London as well. I actually looked through the maps on my phone while they were driving through London in chapter 4 to see where the streets where that they were taking and think about what they looked like now and the associations I had with them. It was interesting to read in the notes how they mainly used modern maps and a few older ones when they were writing and drawing. Which made me sad as my work has several maps of the area in great detail from that time period that I'd be happy to show Mr. Moore!
It was good to read and see the madness of Mr Gull, the portrayal of poverty and the way the murders had been sensationalised. I must admit I have no real interest in Jack the Ripper, or serial killers in general, but I liked the way the comic attempted to tell the story around the murders, making real people of the policemen, the prostitutes and the murderer himself. As to a "whodunnit" the idea given is totally over the top, but as a story it works very well. Taking the mystery out of the events and just telling the lives of the people involved makes it seem more tragic.
From hell definitely remains one of Alan Moore's best books. I really love Eddie's art for it as well. Particularly the chapter with the stylistic clash between the rich and the poor. Unfortunately I have an original edition and the pages are falling out and already yellowing quite badly. It's a wonderful way to read it, being very pulpy and cheap fits the story. But I worry about reading it again in 20 years and I wonder if there's a nicer edition that's been released since then?...Continua
I decided, not so long ago, not to include comics in my Anobii profile. Not because I don't deem them "good" enough compared to regular books. Most comics are better than regular books. I don't even need to use the politically correct "graphic novels" term. They are comics all right.
But From Hell, which I now had the chance to read in English, makes most other comics pale by comparison. It is so rich, so detailed, with so many layers behind the simple "Jack the Ripper" story, that two readings are the MINIMUM.
Basing his story on the Stephen Knight royal conspiracy theory, Alan Moore proceeds to narrate a disturbing story, in which the killings, purportedly performed to hide the scandal of an unexpected royal baby, are implemented as a grand Masonic ritual to ensure male dominance over the female aspect of society, well explained by Sir Gull during the tour of London's monumental landmarks, in which he explains Netley, the dumb carriage driver, his insane but ambitious agenda.
Several famous characters do appearances in the background, from Oscar Wilde to William Blake, even Joseph Merrick (the Elephant Man), not to mention the funny meeting with Aleister Crowley, already depicted as someone who shouldn't be treated lightly, despite being, at the time, just a plump kid sucking on a candy cane.
Along with Alan Moore's script, Eddie Campbell's nervous drawings are the best possible choice for a story set amidst the grim poverty that afflicted London's East End at the end of the XIX Century.
This is a such a powerful work that anyone who isn't disturbed by the human mind potential sickness should read it. Twice.
Oh, and of course the movie is crap....Continua
A sally at entrenched power structures in society and their memetic propagation rendered as a Ripping procedural yarn. The occult and non-linear elements brought to the fore in the final chapter do nothing to detract from the visceral, grounded nature of the story although the direct parallel with Watchmen's Dr. Manhattan is unfortunate....Continua