Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Bryant Has Issues #30

Hip-hip-hooray!  We have a Stephen King comic this week!




I regret to inform that it is not particularly good.  In fact, in my personal estimation it is maybe one of the worst issues of the series so far.

The tale takes place seemingly a bit prior to the events of "The Little Sisters of Eluria," and involves Roland taking his slumber upon a bed of devil-grass.  The resultant bad dreams give us a window onto a scene from his past involving a raid upon an enemy camp between Gilead's fall and the battle of Jericho Hill.  Along for the ride are fellow gunslingers Cuthbert, Alain, Jamie, and Thomas.


Sounds like a great setup, right?

The major problem here is that the gunslingers simply don't act like gunslingers.  In the opening section, Roland falls into what seems to be a deep slumber, so deep that his horse is unable to wake him up by whinnying.  Does it sound like Roland to you for him to not wake up when a horse is trying to wake him?  It sure don't to me.  The devil's advocate might say that it is the devil-grass he is sleeping on that causes him to sleep so deeply.  If so, does it sound like Roland to you for him to lay down upon a substance that would, essentially, sedate him?  Again: it sure don't to me.

Roland also falls asleep a mere stone's throw away from a sacrificial altar, upon which lies a body fresh enough that a crow is able to still find an uneaten eyeball to gnosh upon.  Does it sound like Roland to you to not investigate the area fully?  Me neither.

In the flashback scene, the gunslingers are sneaking into a camp of Farson's forces so as to rig up some explosives that they can then use to blow the camp to hell.  Roland and Cuthbert are the ones in charge of doing the actual sneaking-into-camp part of the deal.  It goes poorly: Roland backs into a tripwire and sets some pans to clattering in warning; Cuthbert fails to cut the throat of a man he is attacking, and gets cut quite badly himself as a result; and then both Alain and Jamie get themselves wounded in a shootout.  They simply don't act like competent gunslingers; there is no confidence, little skill, and (seemingly) not much in the way of planning.  The small trio of young gunslingers lead by "Will Dearborn" in Wizard and Glass (or the comics version, The Gunslinger Born) were five times as competent.

As a result, the whole thing just seems false to me.  I was persuaded by almost none of this comic.

What a disappointment.

Not so for the next title:




As was the case with issue #3 of Locke & Key: Omega, I can't tell you anything much with giving away plot I wish to not give away.

So, hints: this issue involves slurred words; semi-gay, semi-incestual cuddling; an electrical socket; a douche with a guitar; a lying child; "Fuck it.  Let's do it the hard way, then."; a terrific double-splash-page; a woman with bad teeth and an infant; a phone call; tentacles; a gorilla; a gunshot; and some falling rocks.

Yikes, is this good...

Flipping through that issue of Locke & Key has bummed me out a bit.  I'm going to lift my spirits with some pornography...sorta.  Check this out:


Kimblerly Kane as Wonder Woman


A few weeks back, Ain't It Cool News ran a story in which they mentioned a Tweet some porno director sent out.  The Tweet was the preceding photo, which is of adult-film actress Kimberly Kane dressed as Wonder Woman.  Evidently, she will be playing the Amazonian superhero/goddess in an upcoming porn "parody" of the character.

I may as well tell you, I know relatively little about porn.  And I'm not bashful; if I did, I'd tell you.  So I'd never heard of Kimberly Kane.  I'll tell you this, though: she looks incredible as Wonder Woman.  Incredible enough to get me to watch the movie when it comes out?  Nah; probably not.  I mean, if someone sent me a copy, sure; otherwise, unlikely.

However, I was curious enough to perform the old Google Images search for photos of Miss Kane.  Safety Filter off, Norton Anti-Virus on.  And I discovered that apparently, she previously played Dana Scully in a parody with the charmingly on-the-nose title of The Sex Files.  Have a safe-for-work look:




Jeez...she's a convincing stand-in for Gillian Anderson.  Would I be opposed to watching The Sex Files? No sir, I would not.  Is it wrong of me to wish that it actually co-starred David Duchovny?  (Speaking of The X-Files, a new comic debuts this summer that will be continuing the series from where the last movie left off.  It's being produced by Chris Carter himself, so it's canon-level official in much the same way the Buffy comics have been.  I'll most definitely be picking that one up, so we'll see how that goes.)

The final photo of Kimberly Kane, also safe for work, merely involves her grabbing a cigarette:




I found that one on a Tumblr devoted to "smokin' hot women."  I chuckled.  And by the way, just in case you were wondering, this makes me wish there was a "parody" of Battlestar Galactica in which Kane played Starbuck.  Frak yeah!

Apologies for all the porno talk, y'all; it won't become a regular feature, unless the adult-film industry continues to do a better job with DC's characters than DC themselves seems capable of doing on film.

Anyways, next up:




Regular readers of Bryant Has Issues will know that I am a big fan of Saga, the monthly comic from Brian K. Vaughan (screenwriter of the upcoming television adaptation of Under the Dome) and Fiona Staples.  So it should come as no surprise that when I learned Vaughan had a new comic miniseries coming out, I decided to rub myself all over that one, too.

Ewwww......

Sorry.

Anyways, yeah; The Private Eye.  Count me in, from the beginning.

But here's the thing about The Private Eye.  You won't find it in your comic shop, and you won't find it on Amazon, or anywhere else that sells books.  Because it's a web exclusive.  Not only that, it's being released on an honor-based system; you can download it from the comic's main site and pay as much or as little as you feel like paying.  If you feel like paying $0.00, that's an option that is available to you.

This is hardly the first time such a thing has been done.  Radiohead released one of their albums, In Rainbows, that way four or five years ago.  When Stephen King released his serialized e-novel The Plant was back in 2000 -- an entire millennium ago! [and don't bother trying to convince me that the year 2000 was this millenium, because it wasn't] -- he did a variation on the same thing; the price was fixed, but downloaders were not obligated to pay if they felt like not paying.  Most did.

It's a bold business model, based (seemingly) on the idea that most people will pay at least a little for the product.  I don't want this review to be about the distribution model moreso than about the product itself, but it seems as if every few weeks, we take a few steps closer to the future we know is coming eventually: a world in which online distribution is viewed as the default, and physical distribution is seen as a thing for collectors and old people.

I'm fine with that.  Being who I am, I will always prefer to own books/movies/music/etc. physically; it is simply part of my emotional makeup to want to be able to put all my shit on shelves so that I can stare at it.  Or, better, so that I can pull it all down and rearrange it in a different fashion.  There are lots of dudes like me out there, and for that reason, I suspect that there will always be companies willing to cater to us.  The prices are going to increase, as more and more of us die off and are only occasionally replaced by younger collectors; but they're going to continue to exist for quite some time to come.  Certainly for the rest of my lifetime, which, frankly, is all I really care about; them young bucks can fend for theyselfs.

So, anyways, is The Private Eye worth the fuss?

Sure is.  It's terrific.  And to demonstrate it, I'm going to put the first few pages up.  Have a look:













All of that speaks for itself pretty well, but perhaps a few notes are in order:

  • Does this make anyone else think of Dick?  Blade Runner, specifically?  Yes, and a hint of A Scanner Darkly, too; in general, it feels like Dick to me.  (I'm no expert on Dick, by the way, but I've read a few of his books, and one of these days I'm going to make myself a full collection of his books and read my way through all of them.  You might even say I'm planning to take Dick in fully.)
  • I don't know a heck of a lot about Marcos Martin, but his work here is spectacular.  Cartoony, yes, but when done well, "cartoony" is awesome.  This is done very well indeed.
  • In case you were wondering, yes, the entire issue is done in the same style.  Each page is a "widescreen"-style horizontal page, which is very close to being the equivalent of a double-splash in print terms.  (A double-splash, for those of you who may be wondering, is when a single image takes up two pages.)  Issue #1 is a generous 32 pages long, and I found looking at this shape of "page" to be a delight.  If and when the full miniseries is ever printed physically, I'll be very curious to see what that book looks like.
  • Like many works of futurist fiction, The Private Eye is very much about the time during which it was written.  Hence, there is a great deal of subtext regarding culture circa 2013.  Ever wonder what all those kids with their tattoos and their smart phones and their saggy pants are going to be like as old men?  So has Brian K. Vaughan.
  • Between Saga and this, I am now officially a Brian K. Vaughan.  A very uninformed one, too, as I've not read a page of his most celebrated works: Y: The Last Man and Ex Machina and Runaways.  So much stuff to buy, so little money to spend...

That's probably enough about The Private Eye for now, so I'll leave you on this note: in case you were wondering how much I chipped in for the issue, it was $1.99.  $2.99 is the price for a single comic that makes me the most comfortable without becoming unrealistic, so I paid that, minus a dollar as a reflection of the inescapable fact that I do place a higher value on physical items.

It was good enough, though, that I would not balk at paying $3.99 per issue in an actual store, so for the remainder of the run, I might be sending $2.99 to Panel Syndicate.  They've earned it, and I hope this is a big success for them.


No, I have no freakin' clue what's up with this cover...
How much do I love these wraparound covers that Avatar has done?  A lot.  I'm glad I got them, and I'll get them for each and every Alan Moore series they publish in the future.


Now, we come to issue #8 of Alan Moore's Fashion Beast.  We're getting rather close to the end now, and I still don't entirely know what to make of this series.  I'm still loving it; it's a mildly-befuddled sort of love, but love nonetheless.  Depending on how the final two issues go, it feels like I'm either going to be heralding the thing as a minor masterpiece, or as a gorgeous but ultimately nonsensical diversion.  The latter would be good enough for me to still feel okay about the whole thing, but I'm definitely hoping that the former ends up being the actuality.

In this issue: Doll decides she wants to pay a visit to her old stomping-grounds, and -- with Jean-Claude's seemingly-reluctant approval -- does just that.  And so she -- and we -- return to the boarding house where the series began.  Around it, a sea of lower-class humanity, some of which seems downright insane, some of which seems downright barbaric.  Some of it is even brutal: there is a brief, confusing scene of a line of men being stripped naked by the police, who are burning their clothes.  WTF?

Tomboy shows up, on account of how he still lives there.  He and Doll have a spirited, combative conversation about their surroundings, and that forms the bulk of the issue.  It's a very Alan Moore type of scene, and if you love his work, you'll probably love this scene.  If you don't...well...you may be perplexed by the whole thing.

How's it end?  With a big old surprise.  My lips are sealed.


*****

And now, let us turn our attention toward Chapter Six of Alan Moore's From Hell.

This chapter focuses on the investigation of Polly's murder, and we meet a younger version of Fred Abberline, one of the two old men from the prologue.  One of the first things to note is how successfully Campbell has depicted Abberline as a younger version of the old man:


older Abberline, from the prologue

younger Abberline, from Chapter Six


The costume and facial hair are similar, and it's probably nothing more complicated than that; still, it's successful, and cause for kudos.

The first few pages of the chapter involve Abberline being reassigned to Whitechapel so as to supervise the investigation.  Abberline has no way of knowing that this is the result of the good-old-boy system working against him; as you might recall, in the previous chapter, Gull informed Sir Charles Warren that there would be crimes in Whitechapel which would need a delicate hand from the police.  Warren has now followed through on his Masonic duties and found someone to do the dirty work (and, possibly, to be a scapegoat of some sort): poor old Abberline, who's previously spent fourteen years in the cesspool of Whitechapel.  For him, being sent back there is unspeakably awful.

The next day, Abberline attends the inquest for the Nicholls murder.  This scene lasts three pages, and is essentially a series of "snapshots" of moments from the inquest, designed to give us some exposition, and also (perhaps) to illustrate the fact that the people running the inquest were not in an entirely serious frame of mind about the whole thing.

Even Abberline -- ostensibly our point-of-view character for this chapter -- is not above reproach:




It's not clear whether Godley means this as a stinging rebuke of Abberline, or if he's merely being personable, but the point is certainly delivered.

And now, for a digression: notice that mention of "J. Division"?  That stands for "Joy Division," and some of you may have heard of the early-'80s post-punk band by the same name.  I'm no expert on the band, and in fact I basically only know one of their songs ("Love Will Tear Us Apart"), but I had no earthly idea that their band's name meant what it means.

According to Alan Moore's "Notes From Hell," prostitutes of this era in Britain were referred to by some as "Daughters of Joy," as a means of beautifying an ugly, unappealing fact of life (thereby marginalizing and further degrading it).  Decades later, there evidently were Nazi concentration camps wherein squads of Jewish women were forced to serve as sex workers for the Nazi guards; they were referred to as the "Joy division."
  
Or, at least, such a thing existed in the novel The House of Dolls, a 1955 novel by Ka-tzetnik 135633 (a pen name for Yehiel De-Nur, a Holocaust survivor).  There seems to be some question as to whether that novel's "Joy division" actually existed, given that Aryans were strictly forbidden to have sexual congress with Jews.  Personally, I'm not sure it matters one way or the other; if it wasn't real, it may as well have been, because the Nazis would have been empowered to do so.  If they didn't do this specific thing, they certainly had the means to; and that makes it emotionally true, if not literally true.

Either way, that's how the band Joy Division got their name: from The House of Dolls.  And now, Joy Division:





Yep; Bryant finally figured out how to embed videos.  Expect to see a lot more of that sort of thing.  (I dig the hell out of that song, and it makes me wonder why I've never bothered to listen to more Joy Division.)

Back to From Hell.

After those two panels I posted above, at the bottom of page 6, comes this panel:




Lookit them pants, boy.  Them is some pants! It kinda cracks me up that this story is taking place within a culture that is suffificiently buttoned-up that flamboyant dress can be explained away by simply going to Sandinavia on holiday.  I'm sure this has a great deal to say about imperalism, and possibly about Sandinavian haberdashery, but I see no need to dwell upon it.

This checker-panted gentleman is Wynne Baxter, the coroner, who is questioning witnesses.  (That was a thing that happened, I guess.)  One of the witnesses is Emily "Ellen" Holland, the woman whom Polly Nicholls spoke with before being murdered in the previous chapter.




Moore and Campbell are reinforcing the notion that the underclasses of society are of lessened importance to people like Baxter.  The coroner is not looking at her; his posture indicates that he is an actor, and that this is his stage.  He is performing, and she is only a bit of window-dressing.  His comment "Yes, yes, I'm sure it was" is the sort of thing you say to a child, so as to acknowledge them and dismiss them at the same time.  This is barely-concealed disdain.  This fancy-dan does not care in the slightest that a woman has been gutted like a hog; he is utterly unmoved.

The next three panels end on a curious note:




My first thought was, did Eddie Campbell run out of time on that last panel?  Then, it occurred to me; we're seeing the jury from Ellen's point of view; she's crying, and, sure enough, it's kinda hard to see clearly that way.

The inquest continues:


YOU ASKED FOR JAMES HETFIELD?!?  (oh...sorry...)



Indeed there are not.  The morgue scene involves Abberline accompanying Polly's former husband, who meets there with his estranged son and former father-in-law.  The son, now nearly a grown man, sided with his mother during the divorce, and went to live with his grandfather, who has raised the boy.  Neither of them seems to have fond feelings for Mr. Nicholls; understandably so.

Nicholls seems wholly unrepentant for whatever his emotional crimes might be, and in fact is able to summon the necessary gall in order for the following moment to take place inside the morgue:









Evidently based upon the actual morgue visitation of William Nicholls, this is a monstrous little scene that makes me glad I don't live in the 19th century.  First Abberline jokes about being the Whitechapel victim instead of the Whitechapel expert, and now Nicholls unironically and unjokingly forgives his ex-wife's corpse.

What a world.

The next scene takes place a day later; Abberline and his wife go to church, and the inspector finds Polly's pale and vacant face appearing in his thoughts.

The next day, Abberline and Godley meet with a Sergeant Thick, and the trip discuss the case.  Abberline seems concerned, and we get the sense that he may be a more formidable detective than some of his superiors are perhaps betting on.













Get back in your room, Leatherface; nobody's talkin' to your sick ass.

Abberline -- not seriously, one presumes -- offers another possibility:




Abberline tells the other two coppers to leave him, so that he and Polly Nicholls can "get acquainted."  The final panel on the page is this somber note:




We pick up on the next page, and it is again a day later.  Abberline has decided to actually follow up on the Buffalo Bill angle, and pays a visit to the hotel where the Wild West troupe is quartered.  He finds, however, that Bill Cody departed months previously, and Cody's Wild West show is no more.  It has been replaced by what one imagines is a rather inferior substitute: Mexico Joe's Wild West Show.  Mexico Joe himself meets with Abberline, accompanied by an Indian named Black Elk who is one of several who got left behind when Cody departed England.  Mexico Joe has taken them under his wing, and nobody seems terribly pleased by Abberline's implication that one of the Indians might be responsible for the Nicholls murder.

Some of this deserves further comment, so let's back up and have a look at a few key panels from this three-page sequence:



For some reason, these two panels stick with me.  What's going on here?  I can imagine numerous things being on Abberline's mind as he stares into the eyes of this portrait on the wall: investigative speculation; disdain for the rube American; admiration for the self-made man; a lack of any understanding; and so forth.  There's a huge amount of power in a simple scene in which a person is looking at something; if you'll pardon the pun, it becomes a bit of a Rorschach test for the observer of the scene (which, in this instance, is us).

Let's follow the rest of the scene and see what we see:


As is frequently the case during a double-panel in From Hell, in this one I mentally split it into two panels even though it is actually just one.  I can't say whether Moore and Campbell intend that effect; but they have certainly trained me for it by this point in the book.  In any case, its use here serves not merely to place a slight emphasis on the moment, but also to reinforce the fact that while Abberline might be sharing the same space with Mexico Joe and Black Elk, they could not otherwise be further apart.  One of the undercurrents running beneath From Hell is a theme of culture-clash.  It's worth exploring, but for now, I'm content to merely hint at it.

I love the body language in this panel and the few that follow.  Abberline and Mexico Joe sit facing each other, parley-style, as men who are perhaps only reluctantly agreeing to view each other as equals.  Black Elk stands, arms crossed, perhaps -- given his words -- in outright dismissal of Abberline.  There may also be an element of subservience to Mexico Joe from the Indian, and certainly the scene carries the implication that without the showman's presence, things could be considerably more difficult legally for Black Elk.

Abberline's use of "an' " (as opposed to "and") is interesting.  Is he showing deference to the more laconic speaking style of the cowboy by consciously speaking in a more informal version of his own accent?  Or is he subconsciously lapsing into an accent he has long since managed to more or less rid himself of, the way people will sometimes do when they get drunk or otherwise lose control of themselves?

The casual racism inherent in Abberline's words is shocking, partially because of its implication that Indians -- and yes, I am consciously using that appellation as opposed to "Native Americans" -- are seen as a fundamentally savage people.  That's only part of the story, though; the other part is the idea that "no Englishman could have" done such a thing.  Here, Abberline is not merely showing prejudice against Indians, he's also, evidently, showing prejudice towards white men.  That might seem like a slender distinction.  It isn't.

Mexico Joe's avowal of his willingness to vouch for his entire party seems to have taken a bit of wind out of Abberline's sails.  His posture has become more slouched, less rigid; I think he knows he has nothing here, and while he may have expected nothing, it still comes as a bit of a personal defeat.  The nail in the coffin comes when Mexico Joe is able to successfully sell the idea that Abberline's ridiculousness is emblematic of a larger problem facing the British Empire: unrealistic self-confidence.

When I first read this, I mistakenly made the assumption that Mexico Joe was referring to Aleister Crowley, but that's my own ignorance coming through; Crowley was only born in 1875, and was decades away from his malefic career.  No, Mexico Joe is referring to a different man altogether, and for explanation, I'm going to simply replicate a bit of Moore's notes from the book's appendix.



That title -- Glimpses of the Future -- is a provocative one in relation to the rest of From Hell, and the fact that it was an actual book only makes it more so.

Abberline's posture has now become combative; so have his words.  However, because everyone who has ever read this book lives in a world in which America did become the dominant power, the inspector's attitude seems more than a bit pathetic.  From his vantage point, though, it makes sense; why wouldn't that implication offend you a bit?  [Incidentally, Frank North was a Major in the Army who managed Cody's Wild West Show, among other career achievements.  Would Abberline know this?  Almost certainly not.  Would Mexico Joe expect Abberline to know it?  Again, almost certainly not; he is talking down to the inspector, rather than talking with him.]

Will that idea -- of never underestimating the power of bullshit -- be important to From Hell?  I'm not immediately sure.  It might, theoretically, explain America's ascendance during this time, though, at least to those whom the idea does not offend.  It probably should offend me, in the same way Abberline is offended by Joe's words about the British Empire coming to ruination.  It doesn't, though, because it strikes me as being a fundamentally truthful stance.  As an idea, "America" is great, but the reality really has been that that greatness is built on top of a foundation of bullshit.  One might say that the American goal is to magically transmute the bullshit into the reality we wish it to be.  It's a worthy goal, too, I think, provided that one is clear-eyed about it.

This panel, for whatever reason, makes me wish there was a League of Extraordinary Gentleman story that crossed over with From Hell.

Abberline is utterly defeated here.  Somehow, he has been powerless the entire time, which is even worse.  He came into the scene following the barest glimmer of a theory, and has somehow not merely been rebuffed, but insulted, and maybe even put in his proper place.  For a man who has already suffered a major career setback recently, this is a humiliating moment.

Looking over Abberline, looking down upon him, and even subtly seeming to try to push him all the way out of the frame: the coming idea of American bullshit, rising victorious.  Abberline looks as if he might begin crying, and really could you blame him if he did?


The next day finds Abberline, Godley, and Thick discussing the fact that the newspapers have fingered "Leather Apron" for the crime.  Abberline doesn't buy it, and is disturbed by the fact that the perpetrator is said to be Jewish (a detail which is sure to complicate the investigation by way of making the folk round Whitechapel way even less helpful than they would already have been).  The three of them end of in Buck's Row, trying to investigate; they are quickly beseiged by mouth-breathing morons, some of whom want to know if this the spot where "the Jew butchered that poor woman," some of whom want to have their photo taken at the spot as a souvenir.  Turns into a small circus, it does.

We next visit the scene of Polly's funeral, which is surprisingly well-attended, at least "for a tart," as a colleague of Abberline's puts it.  "You'd think there'd never been a Whitechapel woman cut up before, wouldn't you?"  Abberline chalks it up to the newspapers.  His colleague informs him that Thick has a reputation that has earned him the nickname "Johnny Upright," apparently in the ironic sense of the phrase, on account of how talented he is at beating confessions out of people.

The chapter ends with Abberline and Godley in Whitechapel, with the former lecturing the latter a bit as to how hopeless the district is.  It consists of less than 250 lodging-houses for a population of some 8000-plus, which translates to 35-40 people per house.  This place is a slum, and Abberline has no idea how to maintain law and order in such a place.  Godley departs, and Abberline goes into a pub, where he chats with a working girl named Emma and tells her the story of how his first wife died of consumption.  She invites him to her "room," but her declines; he merely wanted company.  He's told her that he's a saddlemaker, like his father, who died when he was eight.  Emma is not fooled:




And on that note, the chapter ends.

I've not had as much to say about this one as I have about the others, apart from recapping the plot, but don't let that make you think it's somehow lesser in comparison.  It's a fine chapter, very focused on how futile things seem from Abberline's point of view.  "Melancholy" might be the most appropriate adjective; it's got that time-marches-on feel I always associate with autumn, and the final panel literally turns into leaves blowing through the air in reinforcement of the idea.

I'm not immediately sure whether a look at chapter seven will be in the next installment.  If not, then almost certainly the one after that!

Be back soon with a look at Bev Vincent's new book The Dark Tower Companion.  I've also got a super-duper special interview which you should see tomorrow.  (Spoilers: it's with Owen King!)  See you then!

6 comments:

  1. "The Private Eye" looks fantastic. Storyboarded and laid out perfectly.

    Joy Division (and their rebirth as New Order) = awesome stuff. I can't recommend "24 Hour Party People" enough for a glimpse into their origins.

    I love that damn scene with Mexico Joe so much. I need to track that book of predictions down. I was so fascinated by that footnote when I first came across this.

    A LXG/From Hell cross-over would be mega.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. !!!

      I didn't know that New Order came from Joy Division! I'm no expert on them, either, but I know and love maybe half a dozen of their songs. Alright, that settles it; I'm gonna have to edumacate myself.

      Delete
  2. I surprisingly hadn't heard about Evil Ground. And since there are only two issues it probably won't be released in a hardback copy. So I think I might pass on that one.

    Angie
    Angela's Anxious Life

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I saw some speculation on a DT forum that this two-parter would probably be combined with the two-parter "Sheemie's Tale" and the just-announced one-shot about Lord Perth for the eventual graphic-novel collection. Seems reasonable. "Sheemie's Tale" was quite good, so I'd recommend picking that up, if nothing else.

      Delete
  3. Just for the record: It's strongly implied that the "Emma" Abberline forms a friendship with is in fact Mary Kelly using an alias. Alan Moore indicates at the end of his annotations (if you have the wonderful omnibus edition from Top Shelf) that this was an alias Mary used often - and also note how "Emma" is dressed very similar to Mary and how we never see her face.

    I don't know if you ever noticed any of that, but if not, hopefully I just added an interesting new layer to "From Hell" for you. That's definitely a graphic novel that deserves to be read more than once.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Is it ever!

      I am fairly certain that I knew that about "Emma," but I wouldn't swear to it; my memory isn't what it used to be.

      I really wish I'd been able to finish this series of posts. I had a lot of fun writing about "From Hell," and while I scarcely scratched the surface in analyzing it, I enjoyed the process.

      Delete