Since the first Black Ribbon novel (the series I've been drafting for the last seven years, thanks) takes place in early 1889, I thought I might try to incorporate Jack the Ripper (1888) into the story, if only because new crimes might invite panic and comparisons, you know? I was really into the whole thing in my early teens--don't so many of us go through that phase? We're finally old enough to start poking around grown-up stuff, so we dive into the Stephen King and the true-crime books and the gruesomer corners of history. I happened to be 14 or so when the James Maybrick diary came out, so I was fascinated by that--too bad it turned out to be so very, very fake. After the movie From Hell came out, I went and picked up the Alan Moore graphic novel, which I came to love--that theory is my favorite narrative, in the sense that it doesn't have to be true or even plausible to make a great story. But other than those two books, I don't have anything else--I either read it when I was younger or I read it online. This must be rectified. So I poked around Amazon and comparison-shopped some reader reviews (why I did not do this when looking for a werewolf book, I do not know. But I also bought Montague Summers' werewolf book! I can't think of any way this won't turn out well!), and decided that Philip Sugden's The Complete History of Jack the Ripper (2000 updated edition) sounded the most definitive. (Apparently he was able to completely rule out Michael Ostrog by digging up his French incarceration records, which prove he wasn't even in England when the murders happened.) I think Sugden ends up saying that George Chapman is the most plausible of the suspects considered (and I'll be interested to see what he says about Francis Tumblety) (ETA: I forgot to mention: I find the idea that Chapman would de-escalate from violent mutilation to hands-off poisoning to be a bit unlikely), but judging by the update/introduction, he still seems to say that nothing can be proven for any of them, which means that the case is still resoundingly unsolved. Which I can respect a lot better than writers who pick a theory and flog it whether it makes any sense or not, PATRICIA CORNWELL, because I'm not entirely sure I ever want the case to be solved. I went into this idea a bit when I wrote about The Dark Knight, but I felt like that version of the Joker just showed up out of nowhere, as if the universe had spontaneously generated him out of nothing--out of chaos, to embody chaos--and then the movie leaves him hanging upside down like some kind of Lord of Misrule, a trickster god of reversals, and we don't ever see the Joker hauled off in handcuffs or safely put away because there's no end to him. He doesn't have a name; his smile doesn't have a true back story. For a time, he just is. Some time in the future, he can be again.
I think of Jack the Ripper as being a little like that.
A few links:
Snackfood Deathmatch today features M&Ms vs. Skittles!
New Trailer for Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time.
Teaser Trailer for Disney's Tangled (Rapunzel) Online.
"Clash Of The Titans" - Old Vs. New Monster Smackdown.
Moviefone's Unscripted for 'Alice in Wonderland'!
Meanwhile, I'm going to cut the emails off at the pass:
Robert is bothered that Robert Is Bothered. Also, he will be on the Daily Show tonight. This fills me with an unholy glee I have not felt since Neil Gaiman was on the Colbert Report.
WHAT IN THE SWEET NAME OF FUCK OH GOD MADAME TUSSAUD NO. Was the Museum Quality Head not enough? WHY. I should admit here that wax museums completely freak me out. I have a number of irrationally particular phobias (an airline losing my luggage, eyeballs being injured or even touched, the humiliation of other people who are themselves incapable of feeling embarrassment, the mustache of Salvador Dali), and wax museums are one of them. They just feel so wrong to me. I was weirded out by the Clan Brangelina figures and I'm weirded out by this. So very very much.
(Place your bets now: will it take more or less than three days for this thing to be mangled, stolen, or otherwise compromised by rampaging fangirls? I'm putting five bucks on two.)