J. Edgar Hoover

J. Edgar Hoover
Rick Geary

For a cartoonist/graphic novelist to take on a full-fledged biography it helps to have a wedding of subject and visual style. Rick Geary’s “famous murderers” collections are more about narrative and atmosphere than character, so to illustrate the life of long-serving FBI director J. Edgar Hoover one looks for a more personal connection. I find it in the expressionless faces and depthless shading created by the wire-work of horizontal lines. Geary doesn’t have a strong, emphatic line that clearly articulates space, but he has a lot of them, and together they run across the gray suits like some sort of binding agent, and in a few cases even be-whisker his G-men into feline feds. About Hoover himself we don’t learn much aside from just the facts, but aren’t we all familiar with the type? He was the sinister, manipulative, information-hoovering, monopoly-minded, control-freak company man, living at a time just before the digital age set those same anti-social tendencies free to prey on the rest of us. Today, of course, we know all about the power lurking behind the throne of presidents and the screens of our computers.