The Green River Killer Should Not Be a Comic Book Hero

green river killerSo, I'm all for the whole art-imitating-life thing. Even when the "life" in question isn't necessarily that pretty. But the Green River Killer getting his own comic book? It's just not the same as a movie about Jack the Ripper starring Johnny Depp or Aileen Wuornos starring Charlize Theron. Making a serial killer the "hero" of a comic book feels very, very wrong somehow. 

The Green River Killer, aka Gary Ridgway, murdered at least 48 women in the Seattle area during the 1980's and 90's (he later confessed to killing as many as 71 women). He was by no means an easy criminal to catch (obviously, if he got away with knocking off that many victims). In fact, detective Tom Jensen spent two decades trying to track Ridgway down in a cinema-worthy game of cat-and-mouse.

I guess if there's anybody who has the right to tell Jensen's story, it's the author of Green River Killer: A True Detective Story ...

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Jeff Jensen, Tom's son and a writer for "Entertainment Weekly", is the force behind the new graphic novel. And one could argue that it's Jeff Jensen's birthright to tell his father's story.

I just wish he'd written a screenplay or even a TV pilot instead of a comic book.

I'm sure Green River Killer ... is well-written and compellingly illustrated. I don't doubt its merit as a creative work. My concern is the context. Even "bad guys" in comic books are charismatic figures. I mean, come on, the Joker is badass. Won't Gary Ridgway hold the same kind of exotic fascination for readers? Except the Joker wasn't real, and this guy ... this guy is all too real.

In all fairness, I'm not a huge comic book/graphic novel person, so it's possible I'm missing the point here. But to me, serial killers and comic books are an uncomfortable combination.

Do you think a comic book about the Green River Killer is okay?

 

Image via Amazon

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