Those who only know of FROM HELL from the 2001 film adaptation will more than likely be shocked to encounter this dense, layered, and sometimes profoundly disturbing piece of source material. Alan Moore, whose writing on such titles as WATCHMEN and TOP 10 is universally lauded, took it upon himself to create the definitive "Jack the Ripper" narrative, skillfully weaving fact, supposition, and outright invention together in one massive tale.Eddie Campbell's artwork is bleak, scratchy, and perfectly mood-setting, working in dark harmony with Moore's writing. Even those who feel they "know" the Ripper story as well as anyone will be surprised at this very different, compulsively readable, take on the murders, and the players (allegedly) involved. So masterful is the synthesis of art and words that by the time one has finished the last page, it's hard to realize this IS fiction, and not the true tale.The trade paperback edition gathers together the entire, serialized FROM HELL story, and also features extensive annotation from Moore concerning the sources, inspirations, and creative decisions that came to make the final product. Readers will find themselves anxious to read these end notes -- just another layer in a VERY complex, but not confusing, story -- and then hurry on to the next chapter, the next murder, the next revelation. FROM HELL is, by any standard, a masterwork.
Beautiful, Brilliant, Scholarly, Amazing, and Fun
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 22 years ago
The most recent offering from Alan Moore, the author who, alongside Neil Gaiman, was responsible for bringing comic books to their fullest potential as art on par with novels, From Hell is a brilliant, moody, and well-researched re-telling of the Jack the Ripper story. Moore takes an interesting twist on the story - and one he himself admits that he believes is false - but the point of the book isn't so much a whodunit as a treatise on the combining of fact and fiction into myth, and the nature of sensationalism and crime in the 20th century.From Hell features an amazing cast of characters and the story is told in sixteen chapters - two of which are a prologue and an epilogue. Moore weaves historical facts together to form a cohesive story, and draws on dozens of sources, both Ripper-related and otherwise. From Hell suggests that the Ripper was, in fact, William Gull, Physician Ordinary to the Royal Family and a member of the Freemasons (this fact is revealed very early on in the book, unlike the movie which IS a whodunit). Where high-level criminologists like FBI profiler John Douglas (inspiration for the Crawford character in Silence of the Lambs) seem to think that the crimes were motivated by a fear of women, Moore focuses on the calm, ritualistic nature of the murders, and the important connection between the victims - that they all knew each other.Although in this book the crime itself was a Masonic ritual, I think it should be noted that Moore isn't trying to smear the Masons, and that should be obvious to anyone reading From Hell. His contention, one that more or less fits the 100-plus years worth of facts, is that William Gull was gradually going insane and had visions about Masonic deities - shreds of old ritual from Freemasonry's past that he blows out of proportion and begins to manifest, at least in his mind. There was nothing anti-Freemason in this book, but I realize people have to find something to get bent out of shape about.The crowning achievement of this volume isn't the way Moore creates a perfect fit for Gull as the Ripper, but the appendix at the end in which he details the painstaking amount of research that went into this work. He has a reference for nearly every factual detail, and readily admits when he makes things up or dramatizes certain events for the story. It's an excellent resource for Ripperologists and scholars interested in Moore's book, and its inclusion is what makes From Hell such a fascinating read.I absolutely recommend From Hell, especially if you enjoyed the film - the book is far more detailed, and doesn't sacrifice any historical accuracies to make a better story, as the movie did. If the film is a starting point, this graphic novel is the logical conclusion. Get it today; you will not be sorry you did.
Latest Moore masterpiece
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 22 years ago
Prostitutes are at the grimy bottom of the social ladder in almost any society. Their murders are neither uncommon nor usual causes for alarm, but in 1888, a string of slayings of this loathly population in Whitechapel, one of many atrocious slumps of Victorian London, shook England to its core. The vile acts of Jack the Ripper, the sickening surgery he performed on five whores, made proud English society question what kind of a monster could arise from its cracks. Jack's escapes from the police and an entire city searching for him forced London to question its competency. The wild curiosity the killer, the first tabloid star, drew made England question its taste. The savage and sick nature of his act, the boastful letters he sent to the press and police (one letter contains included a human kidney) caused many to question the entire human condition. In 1888, the first serial killer, that disturbing, shocking, sexually motivated type of killer was unleashed on the world.Over one hundred years after the Ripper killings, Alan Moore, puts the events of autumn 1888 under his literary microscope with a comic book masterpiece, From Hell, and makes them as shocking, stomach-turning and frighteningly thought provoking as they were in 1888, in ever. Moore, a practical Ripper historian who fills forty-two pages of this volume with research notes, analyses the historical, intellectual, societal, psychological and metaphysical importance of the Ripper killings.Moore, joined by appropriately sketchy art of Eddie Campbell, narrates the theory that the cadavers found laying in pieces in Whitechapel once belonged to a gang of prostitutes who bribed the crown with knowledge of a secret marriage between Queen Victoria's grandson and a Catholic commoner. Royal physician, Sir William Gull, disposed of the women and takes a few creative liberties.All characters in From Hell are beyond compelling: Gull, a Freemason and Hannibal Lector-type intellectual who reaches the darkest regions of the human mind and spirit, which are revealed to also be the most profane. Mary Kelly, Gull's final victum, who is made brutally aware of the futility of her life's station and the harshness of her world as she watches her friends die one by one and waits for her turn. Frederick Abberline, the Scotland Yard inspector assigned to the Ripper case, whose traditional morals of merit are tested as he wades through the steaming dung of society.In most comics, traditional morals are seen as a virtue, but From Hell is no ordinary comic book. It travels down the societal ladder in an attempt to step higher on the philosophical. It is a masterpiece, a gracefully narrated epic that splashes in the grime of history and moral netherworlds with a deep sense of poignancy.
What Moore would be doing if he lived for free...
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 23 years ago
After his success with Swamp Thing, Watchmen, and half a dozen other projects, Alan Moore went into self-publishing, beginning Lost Girls, Big Numbers, and From Hell. Sadly, the first two remain unfinished (possibly indefinitely), but the third well makes up for it.The exhausting amount of detail is the first thing one notices. From street philosophers, to royal courtesans and favorites to who had the most popular literature at the time, Moore has done everything humanly possible to make the book disturbingly accurate. His footnotes are almost a book in and of themselves.The take on the Jack the Ripper murders, while off-putting to the weaker stomachs among us, is psychological horror coupled with intrigue, sordid love affairs, and human perversity in almost every form. If you want to feel novacaine-numb good after reading something, pick up a Superman. If you want to be disturbed, challenged, and perhaps educated a bit, read From Hell.
Moore does it again
Published by Thriftbooks.com User , 24 years ago
This story is a masterpiece, and this collected edition is the only way to read it. Even if you're like me and have never had much of an interest in the Whitechapel murders, I can't recommend this book highly enough. Moore thoroughly researches all of his stories, as evidenced by his strong body of work over the past 20 years, and his inventiveness and attention to detail extend to this one. The thorough endnotes outline everything for you, giving more depth and understanding to the plot. Also, "From Hell" is not intended to be gospel, and Moore makes it clear that he has used fact, assumption, & outright fabrication in order to craft this story - and the endnotes let you know which is which. Eddie Campbell's dark sketchy art is perfect for this story. It provides just the right mood, although sometimes it's hard to interpret what is going on, and many of the characters look a bit too similar. Picking up all the details in a few of the panels may take some time.The last chapter, in particular, is a brilliant way to wrap up the story, bringing it into the present day, and the epilogue, "Dance of the Gull Catchers", offers a hilarious study of the Ripper phenonmenon.
ThriftBooks sells millions of used books at the lowest everyday prices. We personally assess every book's quality and offer rare, out-of-print treasures. We deliver the joy of reading in recyclable packaging with free standard shipping on US orders over $15. ThriftBooks.com. Read more. Spend less.