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From Hell Paperback – March 13, 2012
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At once a meditation on evil, a police procedural and a commentary on Victorian England ... an impressive piece of work. --The Los Angeles Times
My all-time favorite graphic novel ... an immense, majestic work about the Jack the Ripper murders, the dark Victorian world they happened in, and the birth of the 20th century. --Warren Ellis, Entertainment Weekly
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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.Read more ›
First, firstname.lastname@example.org says this is only the first part of From Hell. The pictured edition does, I believe, contain the entire story, although there are single comics containing single chapters and other trade paperbacks containing fewer chapters than the above pictured edition. If you buy the pictured edition, you are getting a complete story from beginning to end. I read the above edition and found nothing missing -- it goes from before the first murder to after the last.
Second, editor Rob Lightner says that Moore believes, and wants us to believe, that Jack the Ripper was the Queen's physician and part of a Masonic conspiracy to kill the mother of Queen Victoria's grandson. I think this misses the point. Moore loves to make connections between things (see, for instance, his ongoing series Promethea), and the Masonic conspiracy gives him a lot of room to weave in the various aspects of the Ripper legend. I don't know that he necessarily believes it any more than he believes, as shown in From Hell, that the killer was able to predict the future while he was gutting his victims. Moore is a storyteller and his story contains many fantastic elements. It would be a mistake, I think, to attribute to Moore all the opinions expressed in this fine work of fiction.
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is probably the single most accomplished thing I've ever read in comic form. Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell offer up a dark, gritty re-imagining of late 19th century England... Read morePublished 7 days ago by jafrank
This is a brilliant book- dense, grotesque and intellectual. It'll probably be the last great work Alan Moore does. Read morePublished 4 months ago by rickzz
Excellent reading. I see now why it's the all time fav graphic novel for so many peeps. I also bought the companion book which I look forward to reading. Truly a masterpiece.Published 4 months ago by tom d fitzgerald
This is a gorgeous work of dark beauty and genius, after "Watchmen" the most essential work by Alan Moore. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Peter J. Orvetti
Didn't realize I was purchasing a cartoon adaptation, so disappointed.Published 5 months ago by DebC
Honestly didn't know what I was getting myself into and boy am I happy for this one! A bit slow to start but great! Before you know it you'll be wanting more!Published 6 months ago by Erik Rodriguez