“The neighborhood was a maze. And now it had its minotaur…” This line, from relatively early in the book, had me hooked to this story, and the artwork by Jean-Charles Poupard is beautiful.
The title says it all. This is a Jack the Ripper story, but the twist to it is the connection author François Debois makes with murders in France about the same time. In fact, other than the obligatory naming of some of the Ripper’s victims, and a description of what he did to the bodies, very little takes place with the Ripper. Well…maybe I should put it that very little takes place with the regularly attributed Ripper killings.
The story interested me very early on, but the middle third of the book really seemed to drag and I caught myself simply looking at the pictures and only half-heartedly reading the book. The last third of the book did pick up, but there was a great deal of information about some characters that I didn’t understand.
But what does keep us reading this is the art by Jean-Charles Poupard. Poupard manages to capture the seedy underbelly of London (and Paris) just prior to the turn of the century, with all its darkness, and yet keep the art bright and lively enough that we aren’t struggling to make out what’s happening. It has been awhile since I have seen graphic novel art that is so slick. I would have been very happy to have kept turning these pages to keep looking at this art.
I really liked this book, but I do think the story could have been a bit stronger (or more consistent) all the way through.
Looking for a good book? The French graphic novel, Jack the Ripper, by François Debois and Jean-Charles Poupard adds a new element to the Ripper legend by tying in some murders in Paris, but the story struggles mid-way through and picks up again to finish off the book.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review.
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Jack the Ripper
author: François Debois
artist: Jean-Charles Poupard
publisher: Dark Horse Books
hardcover, 104 pages