Duck Duck Book

15 – torso
03.28.2005, 12:03 am
Filed under: comix, social sciences

Torso : a true crime graphic novel [comic book] / Brian Michael Bendis, Marc Andreyko.
Orange, CA : Image Comics, c2000.
[MCL call number: FICTION BENDIS, but shelved with the comix under the call number GN — if it had a real call number it would be at 364.1523 with the other true crime; one copy, two holds]

After sticking it to Al Capone, Elliot Ness moved to Cleveland, Ohio, where he became the city’s safety director, charged with “cleaning up the city.” His battles against graft and for public safety were interrupted somewhat when a lot of bodies started showing up with their heads, hands, or feet, and sometimes their genitals neatly sliced off. The murders became known as the Torso Killings and wow did everyone freak out.

Bendis and Andreyko’s comic re-tells the story of the two police detectives assigned to the case, and their and Ness’ work to find the killer. Bendis’ sharp dialogue and structure fits elegantly into and around Andreyko’s illustrations, which are evocative. He creates challenging and detailed characterizations of the people in the story with very few lines and shadows each. Andreyko’s work exhibits a very strong visual style, and yet there is a good amount of variety in the way things are drawn. Torso is an excellent example of an engaging story told not in words or in pictures but in a sum of the two that is much greater than its parts.


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