Tag Archives: Kennedy Assassination

Jack Ruby: The Many Faces of Oswald’s Assassin book review

Jack Ruby: The Many Faces of Oswald’s Assassin. Danny Fingeroth. Chicago Review Press. 2023. 352 pp. $30

You enter a hall of mirrors once you dig into the many facets of the assassination of President Kennedy. We are now at the 60th anniversary mark, November 22, 1963, of the murder and there is no letting up on this mystery of mysteries. The case is closed, and yet it’s not. Enter Jack Ruby to make the rabbit hole go deeper. Who was he and what did he want? Danny Fingeroth, known for his work at Marvel Comics as well as his celebrated and critically acclaimed writing (Stan Lee, A Marvelous Life) has set his focus upon Ruby, a man who has remained both in the spotlight and in the shadows.

Jack Ruby, if you have any thoughts on him to begin with, does not exactly cut an attractive figure. He’s not famous. He’s infamous. What to make of him? Despite his less than stellar, and more unsavory, appearance, like it or not, Ruby was there at the precise moment in time to murder Lee Harvey Oswald, the man accused of murdering a president, and Ruby instantly made history. He’s more the sort of character you are repelled from than attracted to but he’s also a mighty train wreck baked into one of the greatest horrors and spectacles of modern times. I’m not sure if getting to know Jack Ruby helps us better understand some elements of the Kennedy murder or helps us come to terms with it. Ruby is another nut to crack and a pretty big one at that. What Fingeroth does is try to seek some clarity about this man by bringing out his humanity. Fingeroth presents the reader with a man who could be both good and grotesque. If only his life had taken a different turn perhaps he would never have been anywhere near Lee Harvey Oswald.

What emerges from Fingeroth’s narrative is a Jack Ruby who, and perhaps this is a bit of a shock, we can relate to. Much of what Fingeroth uncovers for the reader is a life full of twists and turns in a struggle to find a place in the world. Jack Ruby had some potential. But he squandered it. Sometimes it was bad luck. But, more often than not, Ruby leaned into a mean streak that would ultimately carry him to his tragic destiny. The most intriguing discovery that Fingeroth makes is Ruby’s friendship with a true American hero, Barney Ross. For someone so obsessed with being close to celebrity and being associated with it, to find that Ruby and Ross enjoyed a genuine connection going back to childhood is fascinating. In a sad and odd way it shows a lighter side to the dark figure of Ruby. The truth is that Ruby had a side to him that was full of good intentions and, more importantly, of grand idealism. What strikes me about Fingeroth’s book is that he ends up painting a portrait of someone who was indeed fully capable of having the will and motivation to make a point of being at the right place at precisely the right time. So, in a sense, Fingeroth makes a strong case for Ruby acting alone on that fateful day in Dallas, just as Oswald is being transferred from the Dallas police over to the state of Texas authority.

A life on a collision course with celebrity.

Ruby was not a simpleton thug. That is essentially what you learn from reading this book. This is a fascinating read that sheds new light on one of the most enigmatic and misunderstood figures in this tragic time in American history. Fingeroth masterfully relates to the reader the life of a man, the choices he made, the struggles he endured, the depths he would let himself succumb to. Yes, he was also most assuredly a jerk who mistreated people and who forced himself on anyone he could every chance he got. But he wasn’t a simpleton thug. In that respect, he shared a fair amount of the same traits as Lee Harvey Oswald, another man who, had he taken a different turn, would never have been anywhere near his own fate on Dealey Plaza.

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Filed under Book Reviews, JFK, John F. Kennedy

Graphic Novel Review: JFK: SECRET OPS by Craig Frank


There is something very wrong about following a vengeful JFK in pursuit of his killers but Craig Frank is willing to go there in his graphic novel, “JFK: SECRET OPS.” It is dark humor to be sure. What makes it work is Frank’s unabashed commitment to stay the course. Okay then, giddy up, pardner, cause we’re on a bumpy conspiracy theory-laden crazy ride. Where do I find these unusual works? Well, it ain’t easy but it’s fun.

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Filed under Comics, Craig Frank, Graphic Novel Reviews, graphic novels, History, JFK, Kennedy Assassination, Reviews, Satire

JFK Assassination 50 years later and Richard Matheson’s ‘Duel’

Dennis Weaver in Steven Spielberg's "Duel," written by Richard Matheson

Dennis Weaver in Steven Spielberg’s “Duel,” written by Richard Matheson

One of the great writers for “The Twilight Zone,” Richard Matheson, passed away this year. As we observe that fateful date in Dallas, November 22, 1963, I think of how one man created art out of the processing of his emotions from that event. You might find this to be a surprise but “Duel,” the short story about a man fighting for his life against a demonic semi-trailer truck, that went on to become Steven Spielberg’s first major movie, has its origins in the Kennedy assassination. It’s not a direct link. It’s more based on a significantly deep dark feeling of despair and dread.

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Filed under JFK, Kennedy Assassination, Richard Matheson, The Twilight Zone




JFK survived the assassination and is out for revenge. That is the premise of Craig Frank’s humorous and thrilling work, JFK SECRET OPS: THE GRAPHIC NOVEL. It is currently the subject of a fundraising campaign that runs through May 25. You can visit the campaign HERE.


As you’ll see in this video interview, Craig is a down-to-earth guy. He’s very gracious and thoughtful. His idea for this book first took root after a visit to Dealy Plaza and visiting The Sixth Floor Museum. He is a seasoned animator and painter. He has always loved the comics medium and the limitless possibilities of the graphic novel. He comes to this project with the skill and the storytelling sense required for the job.


As a fellow participant in Kickstarter (I have my own campaign here), I fully appreciate where Craig is now. The timing is just right for his book in more ways than one. It’s the perfect time for him to be taking on such a project. And, it just so happens that we’re observing the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy’s assassination this year. 50 years later and that event still has the power to haunt, confuse, and strangely fascinate.

The more I think about it, the more I’m convinced how appropriate this seemingly “inappropriate” graphic novel really is. It didn’t fully occur to me until after the interview that we can’t lose sight of the fact that John Fitzgerald Kennedy was only human, right or wrong, and the man could be egregiously, horribly, wrong with his treatment of women. What happens is we get caught up in the myth, fostered by powerful interests, run by the Kennedy family, the Democratic party, and, perhaps, the whole damn system that we can only imagine in all its machinations.

There is, of course, the fact of his tragic death that seems to wipe the slate clean for eternity but maybe not exactly. And the fact, and this is even as tragic, is all that was genuinely good about the man. It’s complicated for sure. Give an inch and admit the shortcomings of one leader and look at his lesser rivals swarm to exploit it. All that said, hell yeah, bring the icon down to earth. This graphic novel is a good and healthy thing.

Enjoy the video interview!

Support JFK SECRET OPS: THE GRAPHIC NOVEL at Kickstarter right here.


Filed under animation, Comics, graphic novels, Humor, JFK, Kennedy Assassination, Kickstarter, Marilyn Monroe, politics, pop culture, Satire, Thriller