Moore, Alan. From Hell, Being a Melodrama in Sixteen Parts.

Marietta, GA: Top Shelf Productions, 2006.

This huge graphic novel treats almost every aspect of the Jack the Ripper killings in the East End of London in 1888, and it’s widely regarded as Moore’s magnum opus. And I’m a fan of Moore’s work, and there’s a lot of fascinating stuff here. Nevertheless, I’m of two minds about this book. Maybe three or four minds.

He dredges up every conspiracy theory ever associated with Spring-Heeled Jack, which is okay. He lays the whole thing at the feet of Dr. William Gull, Queen Victoria’s personal physician, which has been done before. He even makes the Queen the motive force, which I haven’t seen much of before — but, hey, the royal family can look after itself. But he also tries to tie it all to a conspiracy of the freemasons, which is a bigoted canard. I’m aware that many paranoid, small-minded Brits regard freemasons the same way paranoid, small-minded Americans regard the Trilateral Commission and the Bilderburgers, but speaking as the lineal descendant of more than a dozen American freemasons over the past 180 years, most of them Knights Templar or 32d Degree, I can only say that Moore’s accusation constitutes a pandering blood libel. Blaming everything on the freemasons is no different from blaming everything on the Jews. On top of which, his footnotes include cautions that this or that study written about Jack the Ripper over the past century is not to be trusted or has been proven a hoax– which means he’s implying that this version is some form of the truth. Which makes Moore simply a hypocrite. I’m very, very disappointed in this book and in its author.

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