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Helen Capewell
OCA Learning Log
Student Number: 522802
Degree: Illustration
Current Level: 2

The True Story of Leopold and Loeb

Research Task

This is a strange comic. Good, but strange.

I really like the style of the comic, the way it is illustrated and the colours. the colours makes me feel as though this is not as serious as the crime itself. It isn't dark, mysterious or giving off evil energy that one could maybe imagine as a sinister story.

I do like the way it is narrated. It is easy to digest, even though at first glance and quick read I was slightly confused with the timeline. After sitting with it a little longer

● How does the style and narrative treat the real-life story? As funny, serious, or a combination of the two?

It's strange, because on first seeing this comic, it doesn't feel as though it is going to be a serious story, let alone one about a real-life murder. At first glance it's as if I'm looking at a few pages from The Adventures of Tintin or similar. In a way, I'm almost waiting for the punchline to be "and they would have gotten away with it too, if it wasn't for those meddling kids!" Giving me a sense of lightheartedness to the story. At first it seemed like humour was used to tell the story, however I quickly realised the serious tone in the language.

I do think there is a level of sadness in the way the story is written, partly to the way it ends. As if it is ending with a sigh, to say "a tragic story, really.. shame" to close the narration, though it isn't needed to be said.

● How is the story structured? How does it begin and end, and from whose perspective is it told?

The flow appears to be in twos; each part of the story is given two frames. It adds a tempo to the story, setting the pace in the structure of the narration. When seeing it as twos, the narration makes better sense. I did, at first, find myself being confused at the timeline, however, on seeing the pattern I realised how the story was structured helped with realising the timeline.

The story is being told in third person from present time, ending in a clever way that puts actual time into perspective with telling the age of Bobby Frank if he were to be alive today. It time stamps the real timeline of the event to the present time in which the comic was released.

With this, I understand the story is being told by someone who might have been much younger than Bobby at the time of his murder. Someone who remembers the impact of the crime, and how much it had shaken the town where it had taken place. Either that, or the person telling the story is a relative to someone who had been alive at the time, who had grown up in the aftermath for which a town and community were deeply saddened by the crime, one they would never forget and would forever question, why. Maybe even see their town be put on the map, as tourists that were fascinated by the crime would visit to learn more about the crazy life of Leopold and Loeb.

● How does the style and composition of the pictures affect the atmosphere of the story?

The style is quite the contrast to the real story. Such a graphic murder had been kept clean, to the point where it hardly seems brutal at all. The colours play a huge part in sparing the potentially graphic scenes, the lack of red to create a visual on the bloody mess that is described in frame that shows the crime in action gives it almost a watershed for the comic. It almost seems too simple and easy, as if mocking the ridiculous vision the two had with getting away with the perfect murder plot. The atmosphere seems light, yet informative. It gives details in the narration of a serious crime, but the illustrations that accompany it feels to mock it.


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