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A well researched tale that differs to the well-known film
on 22 October 2012
Now, I am no expert on comics, I don't have a collection or ever read them that much - but from time to time, I do. Recently I purchased the hardback copy of From Hell and here's what I thought of it.
I wanted to buy The Stand Omnibus but Forbidden Planet didn't have it. On the shelf though, I saw this, and not even knowing this was originally a comic book, and having seen the film and quite liked it, I picked up a copy.
The first thing I noticed about this tale was it was penned by Alan Moore, who I'm sure most people know - even I do and I'm not a comic book follower. The second thing I noticed was the style of illustrations. They were a bit loose for my liking; a bit of a scrawl. But in a way they quite suited the tale they were telling and the London of that time. I would have liked them to be a bit better (as on the whole they weren't that good in my opinion), although every now and then there was some nice artwork and it did have a certain style to it.
Thirdly, the story is dramatically different to the film. It shares a similar theme in a broad sense (Masonic murders and Royal cover-ups) but in the comic, the tale of Jack the Ripper is told as much, or if not more, from the Ripper's perspective as it is from detective Aberline's. Obviously, this is because a much more 'murder mystery' feel was needed in the film to hold peoples interest - and personally I liked this [the film's] approach better.
There were chunks in this though that didn't appear in the film. Huge swathes that gave the tale a much more occult feel. Elements that were not fully, in my opinion explained in the comic - although there was a section at the back of the book detailing in the authors words everything that was happening in every scene - so you could look for an explanation if you so choose.
As I said though, I'm not a diehard comic fan, so I lacked the motivation (or rather the book failed to inspire in me the motivation) to thoroughly read this section. I did like the book though, and appreciated the effort Alan Moore had gone to to research it. It was a very accurate account (as much as it can be, I guess) of one persons take on the Whitechapel murders, which Moore has given an occult twist of his very own. It was an OK read but I wasn't blown away. But then again, I have yet to be blown away by any graphic novel.
This gets a 6 or 7 out of 10 for me - fans of graphic novels or experts on such matters might well think it deserves more. Perhaps, it does. I can only give you my thoughts having just read it which are: it's good - but forgive the pun - it's not exactly a 'ripping' yarn. Also, although strangely suited to it, I think the artwork let it down.