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The Hunting Accident

4.34  ·  Rating details ·  1,021 ratings  ·  205 reviews
In order to prevent his son from going down the same dark path he did, a blind poet must tell his son about his secret life as a mobster.

"The Hunting Accident" is the true life story of a Chicago gangster who is blinded during a shootout and is sent to Stateville Prison where he learns to navigate life under the tutelage of real life thrill killer Nathan Leopold.
Hardcover, deluxe first edition
Published June 2015 (first published January 2015)
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Chad Jordahl Yes, fine for teens, depending on the person. There are descriptions of the infamous Leopold and Loeb abduction, murder, and mutilation of a 14-year-o…moreYes, fine for teens, depending on the person. There are descriptions of the infamous Leopold and Loeb abduction, murder, and mutilation of a 14-year-old boy. There are other violent scenes, but nothing disturbingly graphic. There are several pages with very literary style writing (including Dante's Inferno) that require more attention than the normal graphic novel, which may be unappealing to younger readers, but again that depends on the reader. (less)

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Average rating 4.34  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,021 ratings  ·  205 reviews

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Dave Schaafsma
I reread this in the past couple weeks because the book won yet another award, and I am sharing my review again because I just don't think enough people have read it, and it deserves more attention.

I think I can name four great comics events in this year of 2017 so far, and this is one of them (the others I say are Providence by Alan Moore, Roughneck by Jeff Lemire, and My Favorite Thing is Monsters by Emil Ferris). And now comes along this great book, based on an actual, sensational, true story
Mar 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Historical True Crime Fans
This book is the reason I love the graphic novel medium. This was a brilliant way to tell a captivating story. I am not sure that regular prose would have done it justice.

Non-Fiction graphic novels are not something you run into that often (at least I haven’t). I recently read My Friend Dahmer, and that was also a very interesting and well-presented non-fiction graphic novel. I think non-fiction works well because you can take what would be a 20 page chapter of “boring history” and tell it wit
Jon Nakapalau
If you told me there was a book that meshed the Divine Comedy with the Panopticon I would have been happy with just that; but this book goes so much deeper in the way truth, lies and redemption are balanced. The most amazing aspect of this story is that you feel the weight of guilt that has weighed on everyone in this story; guilt not only of deed but of lessons not learned, or (even more importantly) not taught. The poetic aspect (a blind criminal prisoner) is in and of itself brilliant. This w ...more
Seth T.
Dec 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics
Review of The Hunting Accident: The True Story of Matt Rizzo by David Carlson and Landis Blair

I have always had a good relationship with my dad. I have always felt a care and a closeness and, so far as it matters, an honesty between us. So far as it matters.

Certainly there are things about his past that I’m interested in but unwilling to inquire into. He was a mad hippie in the late ‘60s, a drug fiend who spent debauched days living careless amongst the surf communities of Kawaii and Southern California. The era of Janis and Jimi, of Woodstock and Monterey. In the months after a cataclys
Stewart Tame
Mar 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story begins in Chicago, 1959. Charlie’s mother has died, and he's come from California to live with his father, Matt. Matt is blind, and spends much of his time writing epic poems in Braille. He tells Charlie that he lost his sight in a hunting accident when he was young, but the truth, which later comes out, is that he took a shotgun blast to the face in the course of an armed robbery, and spent years in prison. It was in prison that he came to terms with his blindness and gained a new lea ...more
Oct 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Hunting Accident by David L. Carlson and illustrated by Landis Blair is a factual graphic novel that has a really intriguing premise. Charlie Rizzo is only a teenager, yet he has already been arrested repeatedly for numerous minor crimes. His warmhearted and artistic father who has been blind since a childhood hunting accident sits him down, trying to get him to straighten up. It is then that Charlie discovers that his father actually lost his sight committing an armed robbery. Dad was on th ...more
Jan 14, 2018 rated it liked it
I won this book in a goodreads drawing.

A graphic novel account about a boy learning his grandfather's true story. All his life, the boy thought his grandfather was blinded in a hunting accident, but it turns out his grandfather was a gangster, who went to prison for years. There, he met Nathan Leopold Jr, who taught him to appreciate and write poetry.

Not bad.
First Second Books
Sep 19, 2017 marked it as first-second-publications  ·  review of another edition
As a child, Charlie Rizzo had been told that his father lost his vision in a hunting accident. It wasn't until Charlie found himself in a jail cell for his petty crimes that he learned the truth.

Matt Rizzo was blinded by a shotgun blast to the face while working for the mob. Just a teenager and newly blind, he began his bleak new life at Statesville Prison. It was there that his life and very soul were saved by one of America's most notorious killers: Nathan Leopold.

From David Carlson and Landi
Elizabeth A
Nov 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Book blurb: "The Hunting Accident" is the true life story of a Chicago gangster who is blinded during a shootout and is sent to Stateville Prison where he learns to navigate life under the tutelage of real life thrill killer Nathan Leopold.

The True Crime genre has been exploding over the past several years, so it's no surprise that it has spilled over into the comics arena. There are several interesting and intersecting narratives in this one. Charlie Rizzo tells the true story about his father,
I wasn't as thrilled by this book as others. It's a graphic novel biography of Matt Rizzo, who grew up in Chicago’s Little Italy in the roaring '20s, hung out with the wrong crowd, and found himself blind in Statesville Prison. His cellmate was notorious thrill killer Nathan Leopold, who got Rizzo interested in Dante’s Inferno and other classics, motivating Rizzo to become a writer when he got paroled even though his formal schooling after 4th grade. The story is told by his son Charlie, who is ...more
Jun 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fellow bookseller handed me this book, we were lucky enough to be sent a copy. I wrote a recommendation for the store, but I just had too much else to say.

Matt Rizzo was a real person, born on the West Side of Chicago in 1913. Kicked from the house of his parents at 16, he was arrested at 18 for armed robbery with a group of young men who were connected to organized crime in the area. Matt was blinded by the shopkeeper's buckshot.

After refusing to turn on his accomplices, he was sent to State
Rod Brown
I had trouble liking this book as the first half is slow, meandering and filled with what seems like unnecessary psychedelic imagery for a pedestrian domestic drama and pages crosshatched to the point of being nearly completely black. Even the midpoint turn to being a prison drama and the introduction of a infamous murderer Nathan Leopold didn't pull the book out of its downward spiral. But slowly as the book neared its end, my boredom spiral synched up to the suicidal spiral of the main charact ...more
This is the story of the life of Matt Rizzo, a poet and father who lost his sight while committing a crime, as told to his son when their Chicago neighborhood starts pushing Charlie down a similar path. It is a story of two prisons, and a blind man discovering a life of the mind despite only beginning with a fourth grade education as Nathan Leopold Jr., of all people, tutors him in the classics while they are cellmates in Stateville.

Poetry and picture interweave wonderfully in the telling of th
Jan 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is right up there with My Favorite Thing is Monsters. As the title says, this is a true story. It takes place in Chicago. It’s about a young man and his father, and that father’s story (revealed at last, almost a confession) of his youthful crime and years in prison and his cell mate, Nathan Leopold. (Yes, that infamous Leopold associated forever with Richard Loeb.) Dante’s Inferno plays a significant role in the story, which is especially interesting to me, having taught it for so many yea ...more
Sep 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2017
Exquisite and expansive, combining beautiful and mindbendingly intricate cross-hatched images with a surprisingly gripping and moving story. The interplay of Dante's inferno (and Matt Rizzo's original texts) with the narrative flow bring to mind the intertextuality of Alison Bechdel, but while this struggles with the burden of family the way Bechdel's work does, there's a whole secondary take of redemption in here about a figure I simply did not expect would play such a prominent role. I also di ...more
Mar 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic
This graphic novel is based on a true story, that follows a Chicago gangster, who is blinded in a hold-up and sent to Stateville prison. His cellmate turns out to be Nathan Leopold, of the infamous Leopold and Loeb murder case. They become fast friends. A fascinating story, highlighted by pen and ink cross-hatched illustrations, that are both gorgeous and expressive.
It reminds me of David Selznick's work. This was such a nice surprise, since I knew nothing about, until I discovered it on a book
Sep 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Hunting Accident is a strong contender for my favorite graphic novel of 2017, although it actually was first published in a limited edition in 2015. Thanks to First Second for giving this book a wider distribution. You can read elsewhere about the story itself, but I can only tell you that this is a powerful multilayered text with astonishing artwork. I also think this could be a great book to put in the hands of people who think they've got their minds made up (negatively) about comics. A t ...more
Mateen Mahboubi
Nov 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A book which takes the graphic novel to the heights of the medium. Carlson brings to life a mostly unknown true story and provides us a sympathetic view of all characters, despite mistakes that they may have made.

The intellectualism on display, even if it sometimes goes over your head (as it admittedly did at times for me), doesn't leave you behind or hurt your enjoyment. Blair's masterful use of cross-hatching creates some magnificent images to pour over and enjoy.
Ed Erwin
Aug 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comics
Beautiful B/W cross-hatch art. Fascinating real-life story involving a guy who is re-rehabilitated in prison through the power of art, including the Divine Comedy, taught to him by his roommate, the notorious thrill-killer Nathan Leopold. The fact that Stateville prison is actually designed after the Panopticon is an extra bonus for the artist to work with.

Examples of the art are available on the artist own website here.
Jesse Richards
Oct 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This had a slow start but really picked up once the prison story started. I can't believe it's actually a true story. This has to be made into a movie at some point - it seems poised to become the next Shawshank Redemption - but true. ...more
Jun 06, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: comics
Really lovely, coming up rough and trying to ignore the codes you encounter. The art is extremely scratchy, but one in three panels is special.

Interesting theme: the suffocation and unfreedom of having a brilliant parent, always hanging over you and reminding you what you’re not.
Shauna Yusko
A hefty size that may limit it finding its way onto library shelves, but WOW. I really liked this one!
Jan 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is brilliant! A well-woven story that is tied to history (Leopold and Loeb) and poetry (Dante and others). Richly illustrated. I tried to make it last but.....
Javier Curbelo
Jul 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Truth of imagination 💭 🔝
Randall Sutherland
Sep 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I confess I approached The Hunting Accident with apathy toward the graphic novel genre. I associated post-puberty comic book reading with the failure of public schools to impart literacy. I doubted the genre’s ability to convey noble ideas. The Hunting Accident changed my mind. David Carlson as writer and Landis Blair as illustrator have demonstrated what can happen when two artists share a grand vision.

The story is of Matt Rizzo, told through the eyes of his son. The backdrop is the 1924 murde
Minh D
Oct 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic graphic novel! Loved the artwork and style. It added so much dimension and created exceptional depth to the story telling. A true crime story which I had never heard of before and was fascinated to learn more about. The relationship between the son and his father was complex and interesting. Overall I would highly recommend this graphic novel!
Jan 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, graphic
Wow. Biography of a blind man who was taught to read Braille in prison by Leopold, as in Leopold and Loeb. Compassion and education are the keys to rehabilitation.
Jul 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Just the amazing cross hatching is worth a stellar review, but worry not, the story of true crime and punishment, appropriately infused with Dante's Inferno, is also captivating. Charlie Rizzo grows up thinking his dad lost his sight during a hunting accident (which may be true, metaphorically speaking), but later he finds out that dad had been lying to him. What's perhaps most interesting is Rizzo Senior's years in prison with the infamous Leopold (or Leopold and Loeb fame) as his cell mate. In ...more
Secret Stacks
This comic was discussed in The Secret Stacks Episode 42. ...more
Ain Ashura
Feb 16, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: physical-books
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