Did You Hear What Eddie Gein Done? by Harold Schechter and Eric Powell

Did You Hear What Eddie Gein Done?, Harold Schechter and Eric Powell, 2021

My favorite quote: “You can’t apply morality to an insane person.”

Most interesting characters: Did You Hear What Eddie Gein Done? centers, of course, on Ed Gein 

Opening scene: Harold Schechter and Eric Powell begin Did You Hear What Eddie Gein Done? on June 16, 1960, when Alfred Hitchcock began his next project — an adaptation of Robert Bloch’s novel, Psycho — which was based on the Ed Gein case. Due to its violent content, Paramount Pictures refused to back the project, so Hitchcock put his own home up for collateral to back the film himself. The final result, of course, was the classic, Psycho, starring Janet Leigh and Anthony Perkins, which made 50 million dollars at the box office

The gist: Did You Hear What Eddie Gein Done? is a graphic novel written by renowned true crime writer, Harold Shechter, and illustrated by five-time Eisner Award-winning graphic novelist, Eric Powell, which covers the gruesome crimes of Ed Gein — an odd but seemingly gentle man from Plainfield, Winsonsin, who gained police attention in 1957 when local hardware store owner, Bernice Worden, went missing. As Ed Gein was one of the last to see Bernice alive, the police paid a visit to Gein’s farm, where they found Bernice, who’d been fatally shot and decapitated. And that’s not all they found, either. A deeper investigation revealed a vast collection of body parts which Ed Gein used to make clothing and masks, furniture and other various household items. They also discovered the body of another local, Mary Hogan, who went missing in 1954. Under questioning, Gein revealed that he made as many as 40 nighttime visits to local cemeteries between 1947 and 1952 with the intention of stealing body parts from recently-deceased middle-aged women who resembled his domineering (and by now dead) mother. His goal: to make a female skin suit he could wear, thus ‘becoming’ Mother. Apparently, he missed her  

Greatest strengths: In Did You Hear What Eddie Gein Done? Harold Schechter and Eric Powell not only give the gruesome facts of the Ed Gein case, but explore the nature-versus-nurture debate in violent crimes, lending educational weight to this graphic novel (but not, by any means, bogging it down) 

Standout achievements: I think the standout achievement here is the simple fact that a true crime writer (Harold Schechter) and an artist (Eric Powell) came together to do something like this in the first place. That it worked so well is an added bonus. Something weird happens when you’re reading a comic book. Your brain (or my brain, at least)  kind of tricks you into thinking you’re going to be doing something light and fun. Not the case with Did You Hear What Eddie Gein Done? It shocked and discombobulated me — and I was impressed by that. Harold Shechter and Eric Powell pull no punches, not only telling readers (viewers?) the facts of the case, but showing them those facts, as well. And there are facts galore, here. In Did You Hear What Eddie Gein Done? Eric Powell and Harold Schechter go deep, providing the audience with a lot of lesser-known details of Ed Gein’s crimes. Even I — a lifelong true crime junkie — learned things here I never knew about the case

Fun Facts: While there’s certainly nothing “fun” about it, some of the items found in Ed Gein’s possession included (but are not limited to) leggings made out of human leg skin, a belt made from nipples, a corset made from a skinned female torso, a pair of lips on a window shade drawstring, four noses, a lampshade made from a human face, and nine vulvae in a shoe box (I don’t even know how Ed Gein achieved that one — and that’s just fine by me). This (and more) is explored in Did You Hear What Eddie Gein Done?

Other media: While there are no current adaptations of Did You Hear What Eddie Gein Done? out there, the Ed Gein case is cited as the inspiration for everything from Psycho to The Silence of the Lambs to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I even wonder if Margaret White, Carrie’s nutjob mom in Stephen King’s novel, Carrie, wasn’t fashioned in some way after Augusta Gein, Ed Gein’s mother. Tamara Thorne (my collaborator) and I certainly drew inspiration from her for our own thriller, Mother, not too long ago. Long story short, when it comes to horror, Ed Gein is the gift that keeps on giving, and Did You Hear What Eddie Gein done is easily my favorite among them 

Additional thoughts: I’m a longtime fan of Harold Schechter’s work and Tamara Thorne and I interviewed him several times on our podcast, Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! Because we conducted our interviews over Skype, I had Harold’s Skype address in my contacts. One day, instead of Skyping Tamara to begin our work day, I accidentally rang up Harold Schechter, realized my mistake, and ended the call before he answered. Within moments, he called me back and was like, “Hey, if you’re looking for a show idea, I’ve got this new thing out, a project I did with Eric Powell called Did You Hear What Eddie Gein Done? …” He sent us each a copy of the graphic novel, we loved it, and soon afterward, interviewed him and Eric Powell. And that’s how I first heard about Did You Hear What Eddie Gein Done? …  

Hit or Miss: Hit

Haunt me: alistaircross.com

Check out Did You Hear What Eddie Gein Done by Harold Schechter and Eric Powell

Published by Alistair Cross

Alistair Cross grew up on horror novels and scary movies, and by the age of eight, began writing his own stories. First published in 2012, he has since co-authored The Cliffhouse Haunting and Mother with Tamara Thorne and is working on several other projects. His debut solo novel, The Crimson Corset, was an Amazon bestseller. The Black Wasp, book 3 in The Vampires of Crimson Cove series is on its way. Find out more about him at: http://alistaircross.com ********************************************************************************************* In collaboration, Thorne and Cross are currently writing several novels, including the next volume in the continuing gothic series, The Ravencrest Saga. Their first novel, The Cliffhouse Haunting, was an immediate bestseller. Together, they hosted the horror-themed radio show Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE! which featured such guests as Anne Rice of The Vampire Chronicles, Charlaine Harris of the Southern Vampire Mysteries and basis of the HBO series True Blood, Jeff Lindsay, author of the Dexter novels, Jay Bonansinga of The Walking Dead series, Laurell K. Hamilton of the Anita Blake novels, Peter Atkins, screenwriter of Hellraiser 2, 3, and 4, worldwide bestseller V.C. Andrews, Kim Harrison of the Hollows series, and New York Times best sellers Preston & Child, Christopher Rice, and Christopher Moore. ********************************************************************************************** Currently, Thorne & Cross are hosts of Thorne & Cross: Carnival Macabre, where listeners can discover all manner of demented delights, unearth terrifying treasures, and explore the dark side of the arts.

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