This graphic novel starts from Ed Gein’s childhood and goes through his entire life and horrific crimes. The art style allows for realism and shows a bit of gore but remains as respectful as you can be talking about a guy who made skin suits and masks. This feels like watching a true crime documentary and I mean that in the best way. It not only goes through his life and crimes, but shows his impact on popular culture and the town he lived in. I think this is a must for graphic novel true crime lovers and I liked this book. 5 out of 5.
*This comic is rated 18+ and comes with just all the trigger warnings: rape, molestation, abuse, murder… Just YIKES.
Since there’s some sizable debate among readers about a summary a reviewer or… Well, anyone who writes their own synopsis, I’m gonna cover my ass for the time being and just copy and paste from the source:
Yoon Bum, a scrawny quiet boy, has a crush on one of the most popular and handsome guys in school, Sangwoo. One day, with Yoonbum’s obsession towards Sangwoo reaching its peak, Yoon Bum decides to enter Sangwoo’s home. But what he saw inside was not the Sangwoo he had dreamed of. (source)
Got that? Good. Now, into sorta of spoiler territory because based on the cover, the revelation shouldn’t be a surprise: Yoon Bum is trespassing in Sangwoo’s house and discovers the man he’s in love with is a serial killer. I dunno, reading that synopsis and seeing the cover to this? Is that really a spoiler?
This series… This series haunted me. Neither character is particularly likable. Bum is a stalker, Sangwoo is a killer (THAT’S THE TITLE!! GET IT!!!) so the ‘relationship’ here is unhealthy at the start.
And I cannot stress how spoilery talking about this will be because I am convinced it is impossible to talk about what is so compelling about this story without spoiling some of it.
Bum, of course, gets caught in Sangwoo’s apartment and is held prisoner. What unfolds is this bizarre mixture of Stockholm Syndrome, infatuation, psychosis, and do we even dare call it love? I don’t think so… But the way this is written, you somehow end up rooting for this couple? I read every available page in ONE DAY (and had some interesting dreams, let me tell you…) and had to stop several times to ask myself WHY. Why do I keep clicking, why do I keep reading, why have I not run SCREAMING in the other direction of this book!?
After some serious introspection (no really, I felt I had to ask myself some serious questions) I determined this: if you took out every single sexual element; this is a murder drama from the killer’s perspective. And Bum is no shrinking violet! There’s a scene (SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS) where Sangwoo has… Ok, he has a girl over and Bum is hiding just… Go read it or imagine this. Bum reaches for Sangwoo’s hand and because Sangwoo is an asshole, he squeezes Bum’s hand hard enough to hurt. Bum’s response? He bites Sanwoo hard enough to bleed.
What I took from that scene was Sangwoo saying “I am a monster. Do NOT expect tenderness from me.” And Bum’s response in that bite? “I know. And I’ll let you know how much I’ll take.”
I gotta respect this book; neither of our main leads breaks character. Sangwoo is not going to be cured by Bum’s love and if that happens, all would be ruined. Shit is very fucking REAL in this book and I think that’s part of what keeps me coming back. There’s no “the power of your love has made me normal” magical happy ending; this is dark and erotic and scary.
That and I read some pretty hilarious censored pages… Where, because censorship law is a THING in various countries, breasts and gore are ok but an actual penis is not… So, they hide it with a giant white blob… Which I will forever term “Lightsaber Dick” and congratulations if you know Star Wars and are familiar with that sound? I just made every single sex scene in this comic unintentionally hilarious for you. You’re welcome.
And I’m sure I’m not the first to coin that phrase but if I am? Credit me.
All in all? Man, I am NOT sure I can totally recommend this. There is sex, rape, murder, gore, dubious con, manipulation, GROSSLY INCOMPETENT POLICE WORK, abuse… This is two damaged SICK people in a VERY unhealthy relationship… I honestly just DON’T KNOW.
But when there’s a new chapter? I’m on board. That premise hooked me and the writing kept me there. And if you can take the heat? Well… Bum cleaned the kitchen. He’s not a bad cook, either.
Try this out at your own risk and don’t come crying to me if you have “strange” dreams.
I’m gonna… I’m gonna go read something clean and wholesome now.