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From Hell - New Cover Edition [Paperback]

Alan Moore
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)

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Book Description

June 8 2004
Synopsis: Alan (Watchmen, V for Vendetta) Moore and Eddie (Bacchus, Alec) Campbell finally collect From Hell, wherein they exhume the rancid body of the Whitechapel murders, using fiction as a scalpel they cut open Jack the Ripper's crimes and show those glittering entrails for the world's delight.

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The mad, shaggy genius of the comics world dips deeply into the well of history and pulls up a cup filled with blood in From Hell. Alan Moore did a couple of Ph.D.'s worth of research into the Whitechapel murders for this copiously annotated collection of the independently published series. The web of facts, opinion, hearsay, and imaginative invention draws the reader in from the first page. Eddie Campbell's scratchy ink drawings evoke a dark and dirty Victorian London and help to humanize characters that have been caricatured into obscurity for decades. Moore, having decided that the evidence best fits the theory of a Masonic conspiracy to cover up a scandal involving Victoria's grandson, goes to work telling the story with relish from the point of view of the victims, the chief inspector, and the killer--the Queen's physician. His characterization is just as vibrant as Campbell's; even the minor characters feel fully real. Looking more deeply than most, the author finds in the "great work" of the Ripper a ritual magic working intended to give birth to the 20th century in all its horrid glory. Maps, characters, and settings are all as accurate as possible, and while the reader might not ultimately agree with Moore and Campbell's thesis, From Hell is still a great work of literature. --Rob Lightner

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely amazing April 26 2004
I was absolutely amazed by the depth and quality of Alan Moore's FROM HELL. I've been reading graphic novels for a little over a year now, and in terms of subtlety, nuance, and overall storytelling, FROM HELL is head and shoulders above anything else I've read. I'm currently reading Moore's WATCHMEN, which also seems to be of equal quality.

I've never experienced anything close to what FROM HELL delivers in the admittedly short time that I've been reading comics. Alan Moore writes with the ear of a novelist and the eye of a portraitist. He packs this well-researched story of the Jack the Ripper murders with a wide and observant representation of life.

This graphic novel isn't just a retelling of the facts of the Jack the Ripper case (though it does an extraordinary job of that). It takes it all to the next level, and examines the reasons for examining such things.

It's not so much a suspense story (you know who the killer is right from the beginning) but rather one of internal discovery. A fascinating work of art and work of literature that should be read by anyone who wants to see just what comics are capable of.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Another masterpiece from the great Alan Moore March 10 2003
While Alan Moore will go down in comics history for Watchmen, his painstakingly researched synopsis of Jack the Ripper and the Whitechapel Murders is almost as equally great. Moore teamed up with artist Eddie Campbell to show us the horrific dread and gloomy atmosphere of a city in terror of a killer. Thanks to Moore's great writing, the reader is drawn into this massive story from the first page on as we are introduced to the killer himself (his identity based on Moore's own research along with specualted opinions and hearsay) and Campbell's scrathy yet beautiful black & white art sustains the atmosphere of From Hell perfectly. Eventually it would be made into a film starring Johnny Depp and Heather Graham, and even though I liked that as well, this graphic novel beats it on every level (if you liked the film I strongly suggest checking this out, and I guarantee you'll love this). The characterizations, dialogue, art, and riveting storyline keep the reader interested up until the final panel, and whether you like comics or not this is an essential read no matter who you are.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece Feb. 7 2003
By A Customer
From Hell is Alan Moore's brilliant fictional interpretation of the Ripper crimes of 1888, told mainly from the perspective of the murderer himself. Moore's meticulously researched work - almost every major event can be attributed to one or more historical sources, some more trustworthy than others, and all listed in the fascinating endnotes - operates within the framework of the theory known as the "Royal Conspiracy", which suggests that Jack the Ripper was actually a deranged physician, Sir William Gull, operating to silence a group of East End prostitutes trying to blackmail the royal family. That's a sensational suggestion, and Moore makes things even more extravagant with his literary interpretation of the crimes as a symbol of the era's sexism and oppression; in the world of From Hell, Gull uses the murders as an opportunity to create an enormous work of ritual magic, with the purpose of keeping womankind enslaved for all eternity.
In so short a summary, a premise of that sort sounds like typical comic book fodder - in the worst possible way. But From Hell is no penny-dreadful account of a mad doctor slashing wildly at buxom streetwalkers. Moore refuses to exploit any of his characters: the prostitutes who are to become the Ripper's victims are shown as strong-willed individuals trying to make a living under truly hideous conditions; Gull is a brash, brilliant man, typical of the Victorian upper classes, whose underlying prejudices are grotesquely brought to the surface after he suffers a stroke early in the novel. No character here is a caricature - they're all real people, right down to relatively minor supporting figures like Gull's harried, ambitious coach-driver Netley.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Not Worth It Nov. 21 2002
I won't spend much time on the artwork, other than to say it is horrible. People don't usually buy Alan Moore books for the art, but this time the art is so bad it seriously distracts from the story.
Instead, I'll just say that I was disappointed to say the least. I still consider "Watchmen" to be the best "comic book" series ever written, and Alan Moore's work on the "Swamp Thing" series forever changed all expectations of what can be accomplished in the comic book field. So naturally I was extremely interested in reading everything else Alan Moore has written.
My mistake. "From Hell" is boring. I can't think of a worse sin for any story. At one point, one of the characters decides to go on a tour of London and recite the history of various landmarks to the cabbie. This monologue goes on for some thirty pages, and after forcing myself to read the first few pages, I skipped over the entire section.
And for some reason, Moore thought that explicit scenes of violence and sex would help spice up things. Instead, I found myself wondering why it was important to show an intimate act in such graphic detail (maybe Moore wanted to show full frontal male nudity, but there's something very strange about seeing a pornographic comic book, especially one so amateurishly drawn). And the scene where "Jack the Ripper" kills the final woman is excrutiating - it goes on way too long and shows every minute detail of the mutilation without adding anything to the story. I'm not a prudish person by any means, but I do have a problem with gratuitous scenes, something I've never seen Moore endulge in before.
I had a lot of difficulty finishing this book. From what I understand, Moore meticulously researched every detail. It reads as if Moore wants us to know how hard he worked.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars pas pour moi
c est pour un ami, il a adoré, c est long, sombre et bien agencé, y a beaucoup de texte, c ets en noir et blanc et faut s y connaitre en anglais quand même
Published 21 months ago by Eretzvaju
4.0 out of 5 stars Credit to whom credit is due ...
In light of the applause given to this particular author, the Freemason research - "a couple of Ph. Read more
Published on June 19 2004 by Philip Livingstone
4.0 out of 5 stars Stellar
The pages can get quite ugly; ink splotches, grotesque dissections et al. All this was very necessary, but the story, however, was homogenous- it was a dark and intelligent epic,... Read more
Published on April 2 2004 by Kay A. Ching
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
Alan Moore's incredible "From Hell" is wonderful for many reasons. The first is Alan Moore, who all of this can be blamed on. Read more
Published on Feb. 8 2004 by Ellen Pellnat
5.0 out of 5 stars Comic books aren't literature?....Bah!
You really don't realize just how amazing this book is until you get to the end and read the appendices. Read more
Published on Oct. 30 2003 by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Good book, not great
I was a big fan of the Watchmen and Top Ten, though I haven't enjoyed all of Moore's work nearly as much. So I picked up this collection without overly high expectations. Read more
Published on Oct. 3 2003
4.0 out of 5 stars One word: Dense.
Firstly, if you're new to comics, stay well clear of this little baby. Secondly, if all you've ever read is comics, stay well clear of this little baby. Read more
Published on June 18 2003 by "writing_static"
2.0 out of 5 stars It's a Big Comic Book!
I did not realize when I ordered it that it was just pages of illustrations with TINY LITTLE WRITING coming out of the various character's mouths. Read more
Published on April 25 2003 by Ms. S. Stewart
There could be no more better team than this one: Alan Moore's crazed genius for the story & Eddie Cambell's frenetic drawing for the images. Read more
Published on Dec 29 2002 by s.5
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterpiece
From Hell is a powerful piece of storytelling, a social critique of Victorian hypocricy, an entertaining history about London landmarks, a sensationalist peek into the secret world... Read more
Published on Dec 11 2002
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