Nights of terror! A city awash in blood! New Orleans right after the First World War. The party returns to the Big Easy but someone looks to spoil it. Grocers are being murdered in the dead of night by someone grabbing their axe and hacking them right in their own cushy beds! The pattern for each murder is the same: a piece of the door is removed for entry, the axe is borrowed on the property, and the assailant aims straight for the head! Why? How could he fit through that piece in the door? The man is never found for sure but speculations abound which Geary presents with his usual gusto!
About the Author
An award-winning cartoonist and illustrator, Rick Geary has worked for Marvel Entertainment Group, DC Comics, Dark Horse Comics, and Heavy Metal, and has contributed to National Lampoon and The New York Times Book Review.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The Terrible Axe-Man of New Orleans: A Treasury of XXth Century Murder based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
This is another terrific entry into the true-crime graphic format. Here, we are in New Orleans 1918 and a killer, of course wielding an axe, is terrorizing the Crescent City. His targets are immigrant shop-owners, mostly attacking them in their beds at night.The city was paralyzed with fright. The killer was never found.The black and white illustrations are stark and ideal, even in their gruesome simplicity and the story, well-researched, matches them perfectly. The author has written many of these true-crime books and I¿m looking forward to sampling more.
Rick Geary¿s The Terrible Axe-Man of New Orleans is an interesting twist on the traditional historical fiction genre. Although one might expect a graphic novel to take serious artistic liberties with history (a la Alan Moore¿s From Hell), Geary actually sticks to his primary sources with careful attention to detail. The Terrible Axe-Man of New Orleans is based on the murders committed by a serial killer that terrorized the Crescent City around the time of World War I, and what Geary has done for this graphic novel is to take news reports about the killer¿s reign and turn it into a mixed-media piece of art.The subject of The Terrible Axe-Man of New Orleans is the kind of gruesome true crime story that Truman Capote would have enjoyed: a killer who mutilates his victims with an axe and eludes the long arm of the law. The presentation, however, favors today¿s young readers with its cartoonish representations of human lives (as well as deaths) and its precise rendering of historical information. Geary tackles his subject matter with passion and insight, savoring the murder scenes that he depicts in gory glory. Although his black and white illustrations seem to lack the vibrancy of full-color graphic novels, they do tend to resemble the black and white silent films of the time period (which may or may not be his intention); however, much like a Hitchcock film, the lack of color can also intensify the frightening images presented. This is clearly not an elementary school kid¿s comic book, with its vivid depictions of wounds and blood spilling forth from page to page: the target audience of The Terrible Axe-Man of New Orleans seems to be high school students, readers who might be attracted to the more mature subject matter, as well as the unique approach to storytelling (since graphic novels still seem to be a curiosity in many libraries, including my own). Although the language is accessible enough for younger readers (including many literate elementary school students), the content is probably too mature for inclusion in any elementary school or middle school libraries.On the spectrum of historical fiction, The Terrible Axe-Man of New Orleans is closer to history than to fiction: there are no improvised characters or fabricated stories ¿ rather, every frame is based upon the author¿s historical research. Because Geary presents this piece of history in digestible chunks, he is able to make events from nearly a century ago seem fascinating and relevant.
Reason for Reading: Next in the series.It has been over a year since I last read a book in this series and I was very eager to settle down with my favourite graphic artist once more. Unfortunately, I found the book rather mediocre. Geary's artwork, as usual is wonderful. No one does b&w like he does and his artwork is simply perfect for the mood and atmosphere of murder and the macabre. So I had no complaints in that department but I found the actual story and how it was written rather disappointing. First, the book begins with Part I which is simply the history of Louisiana in general and New Orleans specifically. Though somewhat interesting it felt like filler possibly added later to make the book the right number of pages. What I usually enjoy about these books is admittedly the gory details and in the case of unsolved crimes, Geary's thorough presentation of possible identities of the killer. I found the story went very fast, briefly touching upon each murder quickly in a row, then dwelling on the last one where arrests were made, and followed by a quick two page summary of the puzzles still unanswered and giving no presentations of who the possible killer may have been. This case is new to me and I feel that if there just wasn't that much information available, it was a poor one to choose to focus on for a book. Whatever the reasons, Geary has left an unsatisfactory presentation and conclusion to this tale of murder.