The Secrets That Dwell in the Back of Dark Books

I’m reading a dark, dark book, and in the back I found a dark, dark secret.

From Hell cover

I tend to read books completely; the preface, the introduction, the dedication and all appendices and epilogues. Doing this just paid off.

Alan Moore’s From Hell is a dense and dark book about the possible story behind Jack the Ripper. It has a great many characters that really existed, though much of their words and actions in the book are fiction (based on fact). Many of these characters I don’t know, but there is a very helpful appendix at the back, with lengthy annotations on the characters and places that are seen on each and every page of the graphic novel itself.

It is there I found something that really interested me, where Alan Moore is explaining page 2 of From Hell:

Page 2
William Withey Gull was born in Colchester on 31 December 1816. His family moved to Thorpe-Le Soken in the early 1820’s. Details of Gull’s early life, including his initial interest in the sea, his oft-noted resemblance to Napoleon, and his father’s death from cholera are drawn from William Withey Gull, A Biographical Sketch, by Gull’s son-in-law Theodore Dyke Acland (Adlard & Son, 1896). This book is available at the British Library, and in this instance the necessary locating and photocopying was performed by Neil Gaiman, to whom many thanks.

So yeah…. Neil Gaiman ran to the library to make photocopies for Alan Moore when he was researching From HellI wish Neil Gaiman was around to run errands for me.

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