True-crime writer Schechter teams up with acclaimed comic-book artist Powell in this thoroughly researched account of Ed Gein, the notorious murderer who inspired the horror icon Norman Bates (and others).
Schechter and Powell start there, with a portly Alfred Hitchcock setting the scene. Then, they cover Gein's childhood under the thumb of his puritanical, misogynistic, and violently oppressive mother; the investigation into his crimes; and the trial that led to his lifelong incarceration.
Powell's soft, realistic art, in a green-tinged grayscale recalling the aesthetic quality of Hitchcock's black-and-white films, renders faces beautifully, keeping them distinct and recognizable even as they age over the decades-long timeframe of the book, and though there's plenty of gruesomeness, he only toes the line of luridness (an inevitability, for sure, in any book about Gein).
While Schechter and Powell necessarily spend plenty of time on Gein, they don't dwell sensationally on the horrors of his crimes but turn their attention to his impact not only on the culture but, importantly, on the lives of his neighbors. A natural choice for true-crime fans.