Artist Eddie Campbell is working on a full-color edition of From Hell, the massive and meditative Jack the Ripper epic he created with writer Alan Moore.
Campbell debuted some of the newly colorized images in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, and announced that serialization will begin in September.
Originally serialized beginning in 1989 in the Taboo anthology from Spiderbaby Graphix, From Hell completed its run as a standalone series published first by Tundra, then Kitchen Sink Press. The first collected edition was published in 1999 by Eddie Campbell Comics. It's now published in the United States by Top Shelf, an imprint of IDW Publishing, and in the United Kingdom by Knockabout Comics.
Campbell said the new edition arose from discussions with Top Shelf about commemorating From Hell's 20th anniversary by adding new content. "I thought that would only work if you do something drastically new, like colorize it," he said. "At first they were like, ‘That’s not gonna work, is it? It’s always been a black-and-white book.’ I said I’d show them a couple pages, and after that they said, 'How quickly can we get this book on the shelves?'"
Technological developments over the two decades since From Hell's completion made the colorized edition possible, Campbell said. "I never thought it could be done before because putting colored inks on top of black-and-white artwork can only make it darker and more oppressive," he told EW. "If you’re just coloring something in, you can’t turn something from black into red, you can only make it a reddish-black. But with the computer, I can take what used to be black ink and make it red. I can take a cross-hatched blue sky, and make the cross-hatch blue, and then put a different blue behind it, so it’s a rich blue and not just blue with black all over it."
Campbell is also taking the opportunity to revise issues that have frustrated him for years, such as inconsistencies between panels -- and that he's invited Moore to do the same. "I was like 'Alan, if there’s anything you want to fix, you’ve gotta fix it now, this is your chance,'" he said. "He hasn’t said anything so far. I might jog his memory by getting the stuff to him in the next week or two."
The artist also suggested there might -- might -- be a new appendix as well, bringing the book in line with the last 30 years of Ripperology. "[Moore] always talked about adding another appendix. When I spoke to him last month, he said 'Eddie, maybe it’s time we do that other appendix, this is the only time we’ll be able to do it,'" Campbell said. "That’ll be a whole other dozen pages of illustration." But, he added, "I’m not promising that, because we’ll probably have to beat him up to get it out. We’ll have to tie him to the computer and make him type it out. But we’ll see, it’s a possibility."
Campbell indicated that five chapters are complete, out of the original ten plus the "Dance of the Gull-Catchers" appendix. If Moore and Campbell create the second appendix, that would make for a total of 12 chapters. From Hell: Master Edition launches in September from Top Shelf and Knockabout.