Updated: Jan 25, 2020
BUTCHER OF PARIS #1
Writer: Stephanie Phillips
Artist: Dean Kotz
Colorist: Jason Wordie
Letterer: Troy Peteri
Cover Aryist: Dave Johnson
Publisher: Dark Horse
First off I have to say that I'm a huge history buff, so whenever I see a book, comic , or film that's based on true events, I immediately gravitate towards it. This book is a perfect example of that. Perhaps one of the most horrific times in human history was during WWII, when Hitler and his Nazi's occupied much of Europe. The massacre to the Jewish people was one of the most horrendous things that I've have ever read about and it's even closer to home, knowing that I myself had ancestors that were in concentration camps. So because of that, I have always felt an urge to read/watch anything related to that time.
With this book, Stephanie Phillips focuses on a throwaway line in a book she read about the Nazi occupation of France. It was about a trial of a man named Marcel Petiot, also known as The Butcher of Paris: a man responsible for an estimated 60-200 murders in a four-year span. The majority of Petiot’s victims were Jews seeking safe passage out of the city. What began in 1942 and lasted until the liberation of Paris in 1944, saw French Jews harassed, sent to concentration camps, and murdered on a weekly basis. While the Nazis are the worst serial killers the world has ever seen, there was an even darker specter that loomed over the "City of Light", The Butcher of Paris.
The majority of this tale sets up the beginning of what is sure to be a story full of horror and despair. We see one couple seeking refuge from someone that is supposed to help them gain safe passage out of Paris. But as artist Dean Kotz subtly conveys, this guy clearly has other motivations. We also meet two law enforcement, who are clearly going to be the main protagonists of this dark tale. While the main narrative was at times hard to follow and jumped back and forth, it was still a great read.
One of the main things that piqued my curiosity is the gentlemen that has to infiltrate the Resistance in order to gain his freedom from the gestapo. This is where it feels like the fictionalized history might be taking place, but I'm not sure. It does convey how much control the Nazis had over peoples life, using fear to get whatever they wanted.
Either way this is an interesting look into a story I never knew existed. While people may think that this type of hatred doesn't exist, it's still just as evident today as it was back then. Phillips does a great job of conveying the depth and weight of this tale and I look forward to reading the rest of the series moving forward.