Blog Point Leader Board
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
A Brief Message From Hell
This being post # 1888, how could I let the milestone pass without reflecting upon the biggest news story from the year 1888, which went on to be one of the most sensational tales of the 19th century, still talked about even in the 21st century? Of course I'm referring to none other than Jack the Ripper.
While I'd been introduced to Jack in various movie and TV forms much earlier, I didn't really pay a lot of attention to him until Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell provided their own interpretation in the pages of From Hell, starting in the early 1990s (the cover to issue # 7 is shown here, because I actually own the original art to page 40 of that particular comic and so it seemed a logical choice). No big surprise there, as so many of the things that catch my eye have come from the world of comics over the past 40 years!
I think it goes without saying that much of the Ripper legend's staying power comes from the fact that the crimes went, and remain to this day, unsolved. Certainly their gruesomeness contributes to it, as well, along with the fact that they happened over a relatively short stretch of time (the undisputed and most famous five murders coming between Aug and Nov of 1888). All of those factors combined to create an entry point for generation after generation of new interest, stretching over 120 years so far now, some subset of whom perhaps even believes that somehow they'll solve the mystery still!
From my perspective, that's helped "Ripper lore" to remain incredibly fertile ground for story telling, as Moore and Campbell demonstrated in their amazingly-detailed From Hell series, along with many, many others. Jack even shows up in the future in the classic Star Trek series ("Wolf in the Fold") and in Babylon 5 ("Comes the Inquisitor"), to give but two pop culture references. His "popularity" shows no signs of abating any time soon, and probably never will... unless someone invents time travel so that the unknowable can finally be known! (And just imagine how many even more significant past events might have to be re-written if that development ever comes to pass!)
P.S. I should probably also have mentioned that this was posted on 11/18, or "1118", which must bear some sort of numerical relationship to 1888...