cover image Jack the Ripper: A Journal of the Whitechapel Murders 1888-1889

Jack the Ripper: A Journal of the Whitechapel Murders 1888-1889

Rick Geary. Nantier Beall Minoustchine Publishing, $15.95 (64pp) ISBN 978-1-56163-124-7

Rendering the belching chimneys, puzzled bobbies and bewhiskered worthies of Victorian London in brooding b&w panels, Geary revisits the legend of Jack the Ripper in this stylish graphical novel. On the one hand, this is a 19th-century police procedural: in examining the brutal murders of five prostitutes in London's Whitechapel district in 1888, Geary recreates the scene of each gruesomely surgical murder, annotating the evidence, the forensic procedures of the time (some theories held that an image of the murderer remained affixed to the victim's retina) and the eerily conflicting testimony of witnesses. On the other hand, it's a deadpan pulp narrative in the form of a trade comic book in which Geary's haunting drawings unite seamlessly with his moody, well-researched text. As the atrocities mount, the story tracks the public hysteria surrounding the murders, including journalistic excess and rising anti-Semitism. Geary doesn't try to identify ``Saucy Jacky.'' Instead, he taps the legend's powerful mystery and, in the process, the period's social strictures and hypocrisies. (May)