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PDF ô From Hell Ò I Shall Tell You Where We Are We Re In The Most Extreme And Utter Region Of The Human Mind A Dim, Subconscious Underworld A Radiant Abyss Where Men Meet Themselves Hell, Netley We Re In Hell Having Proved Himself Peerless In The Arena Of Reinterpreting Superheroes, Alan Moore Turned His Ever Incisive Eye To The Squalid, Enigmatic World Of Jack The Ripper And The Whitechapel Murders Of Weighing In At Pages, From Hell Is Certainly The Most Epic Of Moore S Works And Remarkably And Is Possibly His Finest Effort Yet In A Career Punctuated By Such Glorious Highlights As Watchmen And V For VendettaGoing Beyond The Myriad Existing Theories, Which Range From The Sublime To The Ridiculous, Moore Presents An Ingenious Take On The Slaughter His Ripper S Brutal Activities Are The Epicentre Of A Conspiracy Involving The Very Heart Of The British Establishment, Including The Freemasons And The Royal Family A Popular Claim, Which Is Transformed Through Moore S Exquisite And Thoroughly Gripping Vision, Of The Ripper Crimes Being The Womb From Which The Th Century, So Enmeshed In The Celebrity Culture Of Violence, Received Its Shocking, Visceral Birth Bolstered By Meticulous Research That Encompasses A Wide Spectrum Of Ripper Studies And Myths And Coupled With His Ability To Evoke Sympathies In Such Monstrous Characters, Moore Has Created Perhaps The Finest Examination Of The Ripper Legacy, Observing Far Beyond Society S Obsessive Need To Expose Evil S Visage Ultimately, As Moore Observes, Jack S Identity And His Actions Are Inconsequential To The Manner In Which Society Embraced The Fear It S About Us It S About Our Minds And How They Dance Jack Mirrors Our Hysterias Faceless, He Is The Receptacle For Each New Social Panic Eddie Campbell S Stunning Black And White Artwork, Replete With A Scratchy, Dirty Sheen, Is Perfectly Matched To The Often Unshakeable Intensity Of Moore S Writing Between Them, Each Murder Is Rendered In Horrifying Detail, Providing The Book S Most Unnerving Scenes, Made So In Uncomfortable, Yet Lyrical Moments As When The Villain Embraces An Eviscerated Corpse, Craving Understanding Pleading That They Are Wed In Legend, Inextricable Within Eternity Though Technically A Comic, The Term Hardly Begins To Describe From Hell S Inimitable Grandeur And Finesse, As It Takes The Medium To Fresh Heights Of Ingenuity And Craftsmanship Moore And Campbell S Autopsy On The Emaciated Corpse Of The Ripper Myth Has Divulged A Deeply Disturbing Yet Undeniably Captivating Masterpiece Danny Graydon Ripperology is a mess of theories and conspiracies, an impossible puzzle which obsessive writers turn into narratives that tell us about the author than about crime or murder Moore knows this as well as anyone, pointing out in his afterward that the whole thing has become a silly game, a masturbatory immediately recognizable to anyone familiar with discussions on the levels of Star Wars canon or Gandalf s particular racial background.I read this not with a notion that by the end I d come to understand the ins and outs of the Ripper case, but to witness yet another of Moore s masterful deconstructions of the stories we like to tell ourselves If the story had followed the approach laid out in the afterward, I d be writing a much different review today, one about the presentation of truths and untruths, of allowing the narrative to deconstruct itself, to fall apart while at the same time drawing ever closer to some fundamental truth about storytelling, about our need for stories, our urge to make patterns out of nonsense.That is an approach I d expect from Moore but Moore s presentation here is altogether too precise, too small, too lucid to really capture the grand mythology of The Ripper, a figure larger than any one story, any one account There are a few excellent moments that draw this simple little story out of itself strange glimpses of the future, a recognition of an age that is dying which is in fact about to be brutally murdered, its blood flowing through the gutters of all the great cities of Europe but these threads are not fully explored They are secondary to the neatly tied up story, rather than its nebulous core.The long chapter where the killer wanders the city, explaining all the little particulars of his madness, was less than I have come to expect from Moore Such a lengthy and unbroken piece of naked exposition detracted from the notion that this was a story at all As a reader, I want to be shown ideas, I want them to dance before me in all their permutations, then gradually coalesce into something a task which I know is not too great for Moore Instead I received a lecture Never have I known Moore to do so little to take advantage of the unique physical capabilities of the comic medium.I also found Eddie Campbell s artwork terribly disappointing The Mid to Late Victorian is the single most fruitful period in the history of the pen and ink drawing style Everything that we have done since then is merely a rehash of the pure variety and invention developed by those artists One can study the art of the period to the exclusion of all else for a lifetime, and after fifty years, still keep discovering new masters, new styles and forms you ve never even heard of before an embarrassment of riches fathomless to plumb.With so much to choose from, so much material from which to take inspiration, I was nonplussed by the sketchy, lackluster lines chosen define this story The sense of individual characters is simply not there instead we tend to see the same faces and forms, over and over There is little sense of form or gesture, flow and movement are lacking, and worse, the stark balance between the white and black spaces the very power of pen and ink work is absent.The anatomy is particularly slipshod especially when aping a period when anatomical precision was such a central, defining aspect of art I don t merely mean classical forms the Victorian was also notable for stylized caricatures, as in Punch s but there still must be a precision there, a delineation of lines, a purpose within the artist s hand I understand the concept of an unsure, muddy world, a world of the past, seen through a thousand conspiracy theories and lies, but that thrust of history must still be presented with a sense of forcefulness, a trajectory or better yet, many trajectories.I think of Duncan Fegredo, the greatest living comic artist, and his work on Peter Milligan s remarkable Enigma it was slipshod, loose, and fluid, refusing to be confined, yet it still managed to be forceful, impressionistic, and vividly alive Some of Campbell s panels are better than others, reaching a height which would have easily carried the book, but alas, the common lot is of literally shaky quality.That is the visual form I would have hoped for here, but overall, the work seems to be a case of good ideas lacking the execution to match them Moore s concept was beautifully grand and imprecise, but the end result was a narrative much too narrow to hold it Contrarily, Campbell s art was too broad and nonspecific to capture the weight and thrust of history even if it is an invented history.My Suggested Readings in Comics An outstanding achievement I m in deep awe of the many components that make up this complex, riveting work of ART First off, the illustrations are opaque shimmery, raw and delicate, fierce and even bittersweet The Jack the Ripper story involves different angles, they re all portrayed here in inspiring detail Stories sub stories, like molecules and atoms, arrive at a fever pitch several times in the narrative, it really is a roller coaster of the macabre, of the surreal, and of authentic late 20th century artistry From Hell belongs in a frickin museum This was 17 for Jugs Capes I hated every goddamn minute of it.I hated the cramped, schizophrenic writing that made my eyes cross I hated the stark, sketch y drawing that were so vague you couldn t ever tell who was who I hated the gore and the period appropriate racism and classism I hated all the characters the flippety gibbet women and the cold cruel calculating men and everyone in between I hated the inexplicable worlds within worlds twistiness of the myriad occult subplots I hated the bleakness I even hated the massive heft of the goddamn book itself, which was impossible to hold comfortably in any position, especially outside on my stoop, especially on the subway, especially anywhere except I guess sitting in a massive velvet armchair in some vast dark wood paneled drawing room where rich white men drink sherry and chortle over their monocles Or something like that, I don t fucking know Alan Moore is a very insane man, and although I was blown away by Watchmen, this book made me never want to read anything else he s written ever again I m not totally sure I even finished it, although I do think I remember some very unsatisfying closing scene with two old dudes on a bluff talking about how no one ever found out what they d done Did that happen I don t fucking know, it s two years since I read it and I think I blocked most of it out Fuck this book, is what I m saying. Alan Moore s graphic novel From Hell is an extraordinary creation, difficult to encapsulate for someone like me, who strives to epitomize the essence of a work in a relatively short review As Walt Whitman once said of himself, From Hell is large 576 pages and does contain multitudes, and like any thing large and multitudinous it is full of tantalizing contradictions.On the surface, From Hell presents, in the form of an illustrated narrative, the historical events of the 1888 1891 Whitechapel murders, adhering to the facts as precisely indicated in an extensive series of notes , except for an occasional fictional invention also scrupulously acknowledged in the notes On the other hand, the tale it tells is improbable and fantastic, in which Sir William Gull, Queen Victoria s physician and high ranking Freemason, executes each of the Ripper murders not only to conceal the sexual indiscretions of the Queen s grandson Prince Albert Victor, but also to perform a magic ritual, a pageant of ceremonial violence, designed to suppress feminism and exalt patriarchy, to quell socialism and promote capitalism, to forestall the chaos Gull foresees that is coming to blight the century to come.Yet, in the wake of Gull s magic, historical contradictions are revealed In one of the books most powerful and memorably realized sequences, Gull takes us and his coachman Netley on an occult tour of the urban geography of London, crowding our minds with historical anecdotes, precisely limning for us the pentagrammic map of the ceremonial violence to come Yet, in spite of his precision, Gull s calculations are off When, after murdering and methodically dissecting his final and victim, he is granted the vision of a late 20th century business office, Gull realizes he has failed to bring about the advent of an Apollonian age no, nothing remains in the future but unemotional phantoms, fiddling with strange electronic devicesWhat spirits are these, labouring in what heavenly light No, this is dazzle, not yet divinity Nor are these heathen wraiths about me spirits, lacking even that vitality It would seem we are to suffer an apocalypse of cockatoosmorose, barbaric children playing joylessly with their unfathomable toys Where comes this dullness in your eyes Has your century numbed you so Shall man be given marvels only when he is beyond all wonder With all your shimmering numbers and your lights, think not to be inured to history Its black root succors you It is INSIDE youAnother contradiction is in Moore s and artist Eddie Campbell s treatment of the women who are the Ripper victims The depiction of the murders themselves particularly their climax, the murder of Mary Kelly, which takes up an entire chapter is horrific and merciless, explicit and graphic Yet one of the most moving aspects of Moore s book is his detailed presentation of the day to day lives of these women their comradeship and their recreations, their fears and hopes for the future Moore and Campbell never forget for a moment that Gull s ceremonial pawns are also real human women In fact, Moore dedicates the work to them You and your demise of these things alone are we certain Good night, ladies. Of these things alone are we certain the phrase calls to mind another of From Hell s contradictions Moore s scrupulous adherence to the facts in the case gulls the reader into thinking that Moore himself must be scrupulously recreating a scenario he believes to be true, and yet in the final pages of his work The Dance of the Gull Catchers , a history of Ripperology he adopts a pose of profound skepticismThe complex phantom we project That alone, we know is real The actual killer s gone, unglimpsed, might as well not have been there at all There never was a Jack the Ripper Mary Kelly was just an unusually determined suicide Why don t we leave it at that