From Hell – Alan Moore & Eddie Campbell (1999)

From Hell

‘From Hell’ (a so-called graphic novel written by Alan Moore with art by Eddie Campbell) is the story of the Whitechapel murders in 1888 in London, the Jack the Ripper case. I found this to be a gripping tale, surprising myself a bit because I had put off reading this for quite a long time, never being terribly excited by the black and white style. But once I got into it, I found the art to be very fitting for the story.

The black ink on cheap paper feels like it’s coming off onto your fingers, soiling you in a way like the crimes themselves. The killings are indeed shocking and visceral, in a way that even color photographs might not be. It also matches the look and feel of the newsprint of the time, and Moore makes some nice connections of the case to the emergence of modern media and its pursuit of the sensational. Moore digs into architectural history of London as well, and spins some interesting Masonic twists into the story. All in all, very well done. Not the comics you used to read as a kid!

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