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No. 55: From Heck

From Heck

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Strip by: Ian Boreham

title: The Writecrapel Language Murders

{A Victorian-era London bobby stands in front of a seated detective inspector.}

Inspector: I'm sorry, constable. But every man and his dog wants to become a detective and work on the Ripper case.

Inspector: We can only take the best. I'm sure you're a decent enough copper, but your application... It's full of double negatives, spelling errors and racial abuse. I worry that you'd be a hindrance to the investigation.

{The constable is seething.}

Constable: I see... Sir.

{The constable is peering out from around a dark street corner, while holding a bloodstained rag and a piece of chalk.}

caption: Later...

{The constable is kneeling by a wall on Goulston St, writing a message on the wall in chalk above the bloodstained rag he has planted there.}

message: The Juwes are the men that will not be blamed for nothing

Constable (thinking): I'll give him "hindrance"!

The author writes:

This strip is based on the actual Goulston St graffito associated with the Jack the Ripper case. When I checked it on-line, to make sure I got the tangled sentence structure right, I was surprised to see that the precise wording of the original isn't known today. There was no photograph taken of it (or none survives), and quite a number of versions of it were recorded by different people involved in the investigation.

It's interesting to see how less systematic detective work was back then, although criminal forensic investigation was making progress. Even the use of fingerprints had been pioneered a few years before the Whitechapel murders. The high profile of that case accelerated the use of forensics in police investigations.

Inspector Bumchin in the strip is not based on any particular historical individual, but in retrospect he might be Frederick Abberline.

I was tempted to call the strip "From Herp (starring Johnny Derp)", but I decided that might make people might rightly complain that neither of the characters looks like Johnny Depp.

Drawn in Krita and Inkscape.