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The Intricately Detailed Horror of Campbell and Moore's From Hell

Welcome to 31 Days of Horror Comics, where I will spotlight some of the best horror comics around, as chosen by a bunch of my favorite horror comic writers and artists around!

Today's creator is Johnnie Christmas, who explored the extraordinary horror of preparing for the apocalypse in Sheltered...

and recently brought to life (with Tamra Bonvillain) the original vision of William Gibson for Alien 3...

Johnnie's first thought was Charles Burns' Black Hole, but that one had been suggested already by Phil Hester. The great Rebekah Isaacs also suggested Black Hole after Phil. Thanks for the awesome suggestion, Rebekah! Sorry that it was already taken!

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Johnnie's next suggestion was Eddie Campbell and Alan Moore's brilliant From Hell.

From Hell is a stunningly detailed historical fiction based on the Jack the Ripper murders in London in the late 1880s.

Besides the fictional aspect of the story, where Moore hazards a guess as to who the actual murderer was, the rest of the story is explicitly researched recitation of the true crime story of the Ripper.

For a story that is filled with historical details and footnotes, it is amazing how impressive of a narrative that Moore is able to weave with this story. And everything is so detailed that the amount of research and effort Campbell must have put into the project was mind-boggling.

However, while Moore clearly intended the book to be a sort of commentary on the world itself at the end of the 19th Century (Moore brings together a disparate group of characters of the time period in a fashion that makes the whole thing look like a precursor to a League of Extraordinary Gentlemen), the end result is still a book about a guy who goes around killing women. It's part of a conspiracy, but he's still killing these poor women.

Campbell does a remarkable job capturing just how horrific these murders were, including a sequence where Moore spotlights the interplay between Sir William Gull and his carriage driver, John Netley, as they murder a young woman who could possibly serve as a threat to their hidden agenda...

For someone who is self-professed as not even a particular fan of horror comics in general, Eddie Campbell sure does an outstanding job with the concept. Those are some spooky, spooky pages.

Thanks for the suggestion, Johnnie!

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