The end of the nineteenth century was certainly a time for immense political and societal transformation in Europe. The industrial revolution had taken hold and the continent was on the precipice of a war to end all wars.
This is a simplistic take on change in Europe, for sure, but change can be frightening in any measure, even at the best of times. Include, in those last few years of the 1880’s, a serial killer terrorizing the residents of the Whitechapel area of London and society creates a infamous legend that grows in the telling to this day.
Jack the Ripper was never caught, as far as we know, and theories as to his identity and whereabouts are as long a list as you could possibly fathom. The grisly killer has become a pop culture phenomenon, forcing his way from the fearful corners of our subconscious into the delicious darkness we enjoy the mediums of film, television, books and comic books, video games and song.
Throwing aside a bevy of well-articulated (and half-cocked, long meandering) theories, did you know that Jack the Ripper made his way to the North American “Old West”?
No, don’t laugh. Never laugh at a Ripper theory. It might just be true. This particular one is actually a prevailing theory for many – and can explain why he was never caught in England. The killer may have up and left, escaping his many crimes for the opportunities found in the New World.
Today’s release of new comic book series, Cross To Bear #1, takes a more playfully fictitious look at this particular theory, mixing it with another cultural icon in the legend of the Knights of the Crusades.
Written by Marko Stojanovic and illustrated in dark, shadowy and altogether atmospheric (and well-researched) panels and pages by Sinisa Banovic, Cross To Bear tells the story of The Order – descendants of the Crusaders, sworn to eradiate the unnatural.
Well, there’s nothing more unnatural than Ripper Jack in America’s lawless Old West.
This, too, is a story of change. Cross To Bear is a change of scenery from what you’d expect in a Ripper story – and a change for characters used to the “civilization” of continental Europe. It’s a change in the way society operates during the latter part of the century; how power is wielded, and it showcases the threat of becoming the same kind of monster that one hunts.
Cross To Bear is a riveting story for those that are fascinated by stories of murder, mystery, Jack the Ripper, the Crusades or the history of America’s Old West frontier. Make the run to your local, better, comic book shop and pick up Cross To Bear #1. It’s perfect reading for the scary season!