Created/Written by: Brian Michael Bendis/Marc Andreyko
Executed by: Brian Michael Bendis
This is the story of “The Mad Butcher of Kingsbury Run”, also known as “The Cleveland Torso Murderer”. This was a serial killer active in the United States during the depression. His total confirmed murder count is thirteen but, there could have been as many as twenty victims.
During a twenty-year period over the 1930s-1950s, the Butcher killed men and women alike, preying on people from the transient and drifter type lifestyle. These are called high-risk victims. People that are often homeless or living in poverty, people who live and work on the streets, these are people whose very survival sometimes requires staying below the radar. These souls are often people who don’t have anyone to report them missing and since coming and going at will is part of the drifter lifestyle, it may be a long time, if ever, that they are reported to be missing. All victims were decapitated and dismembered. All of the victims were found to be of the lower-income society, living in shanty towns and barely scraping by.
Some of the male victims were castrated (pause for all the guys reading as they wince really quick) … … …Okay. Some victims also showed evidence of chemical treatments to the body. Unfortunately, back then the autopsies were not very conclusive nor were they done in the fashion we do things now. So, many details of the crimes are still unknown for certain.
Also, another part of this story that makes it so appealing is the involvement of legendary “Untouchable” Eliot Ness. At the time of the murders, Ness was the Public Safety Director of Cleveland. In truth, he didn’t have much to do with the actual investigation but, it does add a certain “awe factor” for the story.
This book is fairly accurate with a little dramatization to make it a graphic novel. The bodies, in real life, were found out of killing order (for instance, the first victim found, Edward Andrassy was probably the second victim killed). They copy this order in the book in a very detailed but, sometimes confusing way. All of the characters are accurate from what I can tell though and the victim names are accurate as well.
The artwork is…unique? It’s all black and white, with a heavy use of negative space. The panels and pages go in all directions. They can be extremely busy and look very hap-hazard, making the panels somewhat hard to follow here and there. But still, it’s good artwork. It’s just all put together in an extremely creative way however, it’s not the easiest thing to read. You end up turning the book in different directions and going back a few pages every now and then, thinking that you missed something.
Still, I thought it was pretty good. They don’t manufacture a final suspect to complete the story because in reality, the killer has never been caught. So, they do keep it true. And it was entertaining to read because you get a little insight into how complicated such murder investigations can be. I will say that the best part of the images are the actual real life images they incorporate into some of the pages. That definitely adds a horror and chilling feel to the novel.