Wednesday, February 06, 2008

J. Edgar Hoover: A Graphic Biography

Rick Geary is known in the graphic novel world for his macabre works on famous murders. Here he's branched out into very slightly more cheery territory with a biography on the man who shaped, and also mis-shaped, the agency that has become one of the world's premier crime-fighting organizations. Geary treats Hoover fairly, starting from the early days of fighting Depression-era gangsters, when the FBI had no authority and was little more than a vanity job for the well-connected, and moving through the 70s, when the agency was often viewed as a government force against its people. Largely through force of will, Hoover transformed the FBI. Somewhere in there, amidst the power and isolation of his position, Hoover went a little off the rails. His heavy-handed and morally shady dealings with protesters and reformers of the 1960s are well-known, as are his uses of FBI resources for personal gain. Some of the more salacious details of his life, like the alleged cross-dressing, are, perhaps surprisingly in the graphic format, kept low-key.


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