From Hell

from hell cover trade paperback tpb alan moore eddie campbell jack the ripper
9.0 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Art: 9/10

Through interesting look at Jack the Ripper and the world he lived in

Pretty unlikely to be true

 
Comic Info

Comic Name:  From Hell

Publisher:  Eddie Campbell Comics

Writer:  Alan Moore

Artist:  Eddie Campbell

# of Issues:  11

Release Date:  1999

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From Hell #1

Reprints From Hell #1-11 (March 1991-September 1998).  When Prince Alber Victor (aka Prince Eddy) falls in love with a Whitechapel shopgirl named Annie Crook and has a secret wedding and child, the Queen orders the problem solved.  With the mother carted away and the baby lost among the people of Whitechapel, four prostitutes are targeted for silencing and Jack the Ripper is born.  Sir William Gull has loftier goals than being a serial killer…his actions are part of a greater design and his goal to complete his tribute will not be stopped.  As Detective Abberline and a psychic named Robert James Lees lead the search for Jack, the prostitutes led by Mary Kelly find themselves the prey of a ruthless killer.

Written by Alan Moore with illustrations by Eddie Campbell, From Hell is based on the Jack the Ripper non-fiction book Jack the Ripper:  The Final Solution by Stephen Knight.  The story originally was presented in Taboo and later appeared as a stand-alone series.  The complete series was collected in 1999 and was the winner of a number of Eisner Awards through its run including a number of Best Writer awards for Moore.  In 2001, From Hell became the basis for a motion picture starring Johnny Depp and Heather Graham.

From Hell is a dense, interesting graphic novel.  I have been to London and on the Jack the Ripper tour, and Campbell and Moore capture the eerie nature that still haunts the Whitechapel area of London. The book not only dives into the crimes but also takes a strange turn involving Gull and his master quest.

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From Hell #5

Opposed to the film, there isn’t a mystery surrounding the identity of Jack the Ripper.  The story presents him as one of the royal doctors of Queen Victoria.  Most Ripperologists (as they are called) find it highly unlikely that Sir William Gull will be the Ripper.  While Moore’s story is concise and extremely documented (the book is loaded with an appendix which almost breaks down every frame…it is also worth reading itself), but it also calls in a lot of chance and some extreme measures.  It might not be real but it is a good read.

Moore also layers the story with a deeper meaning.  Gull is obsessed with his grand design and the murders have more meaning to him.  Through the course of the story you get glimpses of the future, the legacy of Jack the Ripper, other possible killers are explored, and the general evil which is Jack the Ripper is questioned.  It is a great twist that turns it from a possible past to a fictional past by blending it even closer with reality.

Eddie Campbell’s art is great.  The black-and-white is stark and dark and sometimes Campbell switches to a more painted format for the story.  The art really works for the style of story.  It might be interesting to see a colored version of the story, but it probably works best in raw black-and-white.

From Hell is a great read and good for fans of true crime.  It also has some interesting real incites to history and the lives of those around the time.  The reality of the story might be questionable but the work put in by Moore is not.  It isn’t about superheroes or capes, but it is one of Alan Moore’s best turns.

Related Links:

From Hell (2001)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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