I am reading Alan Moore’s From Hell, about the Jack the Ripper slayings. It’s inCREDIBLY well-researched, presenting a fictional take on the possible killer (a real person) and his motivations. It’s thematically about how each generation is inextricably tied to the generations before it. Per usual, Moore has a hyper-intelligent character through which he delivers astonishingly crafted and incisive monologues (Dr. Manhattan in Watchmen, V in V for Vendetta, Miracleman in Miracleman, Swamp Thing in Swamp Thing, etc.), and in this case, it’s the killer.
The killer’s personal motivations were very surprising to me, giving the murders their own internal momentum separate from the main plot. It’s hard to discuss the murders without divulging why they are interesting, but suffice to say it is not because of the gruesome violence. For those interested, the book cites Aleistar Crowley’s conjecture that the murderer was attempting to perform a magical ritual, which are the killer’s true personal intentions. He, a Mason, believes he is communing with a Masonic God, and with each killing, he sees more and more of the future - our (the reader’s) present.
It’s impossible to talk about this book without addressing Eddie Campbell’s art. I’ve not seen anything like it in comics before or since. It’s all extremely rough-hewn black-and-white ink, violently scratched out. It’s kind of evocative of German expressionism. He sometimes chooses to show no regard for anatomy, and sometimes he expertly renders the human form in exquisite detail. It’s all very moody and unpleasant, but not ‘bad’. I didn’t like it at first, but I got used to it.
It’s probably a bit overlong, but I’m happy I read it. And, for what it’s worth, the movie is wildly different.