Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Violent Cases” as Want to Read:
Violent Cases
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Violent Cases

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  3,689 ratings  ·  165 reviews
Set only in the memory of its author, this brillant short story meanders through levels of recollection surrounding a childhood injury. After dislocating his arm, a young boy is taken to see a doctor - an aged osteopath who was once the doctor of legendary gangster Al Capone.
Paperback, 48 pages
Published 1987 by Dark Horse Comics
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Violent Cases, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Violent Cases

Watchmen by Alan MooreThe Complete Maus by Art SpiegelmanV for Vendetta by Alan MooreThe Complete Persepolis by Marjane SatrapiPreludes & Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman
Best Graphic Novels
2,618 books — 6,060 voters
Neverwhere by Neil GaimanAmerican Gods by Neil GaimanThe Graveyard Book by Neil GaimanStardust by Neil GaimanCoraline by Neil Gaiman
Best of Neil Gaiman
113 books — 458 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Rating details
Sort: Default
Mar 23, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: graphic
I think I appreciate what the collaborators were trying to do, more than I liked the end result. Gaiman provides a compelling and discomforting story and McKean's accompanying artwork is striking, but the whole package just didn't get under my skin. The story looks at how formative memory is in making us who we are and how undependable it is at the same time, a theme which really resonates with me, but there was such a disconnect for me between the child's experiences and the over the top Al Cap ...more
Winter Branch
Sep 05, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: very few people
Shelves: graphicnovels
I don't know what to say. The artwork was beautiful in this graphic novel but (and I'm not trying to be a Gaiman hater here) the story was forgettable.
Nov 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
I can't say this story was fantastic, but then again, maybe that's the point. What's so thrilling about this is that it's the very first time Gaiman and McKean worked together. The first time!!!! How can you not squee about that?

The story begins with a man, so obviously a young, smoking, mullet sporting, Neil remembering something from his youth. It's not that big of a deal. His memory isn't perfect, and time has probably embellished the hell out of the story, but that's how memories of our yout
Jun 05, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: comics
Violent Cases is an interesting graphic novel by Niel Gaiman. It is a short story that has been adapted to graphic novel format.
Violent Cases is just a tale about a small boy who has to go to a doctor. Turns out the Doctor was once a Doctor for Al Capone. There begins a strange story. It's a look at a boy who is very interested in the concept of who and what Al Capone was. The story is a relatively dark one. The strange art style complements the tone, though much like the art in Arkham Asylum it
Ben Labe
Jul 28, 2012 rated it liked it
A young man recalls the story of his childhood osteopath, who was an old associate of Al Capone. As the narrator combines the pieces of his memory, we get the sense that they are not so much facts as idealized embellishments of a remote past. The surrounding events all have special pertinence, and characters change form as the story progresses. Because the events were taken in through a child's lens, the men appear as domineering figures, with vast wrinkles and hard, chiseled faces. But it is on ...more
Sep 25, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
This is basically the same review as the one I wrote for the other Neil Gaiman graphic novel (Murder Mysteries) that I read recently. I liked the promise of this story. It seems to follow very much like his short stories do - abrupt at the end and leaves me wondering what happened and what the point of the story was. The story that is there though is good nonetheless.
Sooraya Evans
Sep 08, 2017 rated it did not like it
A poor job of utilizing the unreliable narrator approach.
The repetitive use of 'I don't remember', 'I'm not sure' and 'I forget' becomes annoying after a while.
The story surrounding Al Capone itself wasn't all that interesting.
To make things worse, the lettering was illegible.
Skip this.
Jun 07, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: readathon17
Δεν είχε πολλά να πει σαν ιστορία (στην κυριολεξία, είναι 64 σελίδες) αλλά ας μη κοροιδευόμαστε ακόμα κ αν ο Gaiman περιέγραφε λίστα σουπερμάρκετ με McKean στην εικονογράφηση θα την αγόραζα με πιρουέτα
Aug 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Gaiman fans, comics geeks, readers of every colour
This was the world's introduction to the literary marriage of Gaiman & McKean, and it began a collaboration that would bear just as hypnotic and enchanting fruit as this. In Gaiman's introduction, he offers that Violent Cases was largely the result of trying to show the world what comics could do; it goes a long way toward that goal, but in the very least estimation tells a simple & eerily nostalgic tale quite effectively.
I truly cannot imagine having to have read this in its original-pu
Paulo Vinicius Figueiredo dos Santos
Falar em Neil Gaiman e Dave McKean na mesma frase é como falar de arroz com feijão, de bife com batata frita, de leite com café. São duas pessoas que tem tanta química, mas tanta química juntos que qualquer coisa que eles produzam juntos é algo especial e essencial às nossas vidas. E é isso que nós temos diante de nós: um dos primeiros trabalhos da dupla em uma temática muito à frente em sua época.

No final da década de 1980, quadrinhos ainda eram mais voltados para contar histórias de super-heró
Michael Emond
May 05, 2014 rated it it was ok
For all those giving out 5 stars perhaps they can sit down and tell me what the point of the story was/is. Yes the art is very pretty but like most of Dave McKean's artwork I find I don't get drawn in emotionally. The story is about an incident from Neil's childhood about how his dad accidentally broke Neil's arm on day and Neil was taken to an osteopath who used to work for Al Capone. Then we get a few more childhood observations thrown in, a children's party at the end when Neil runs into the ...more
Melania 🍒
Sep 24, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Every fan of Neil Gaiman & Dave McKean as well as of adult-themed graphic novels.
A very nice, slickly-produced hardcover reissue of Neil Gaiman's & Dave McKean's first collaboration, which marked the beginning of a decades-long beautiful friendship that has graced generations of readers with a remarkable and varied body of work and art.

Violent Cases is a dark but lushly-illustrated examination of how memory, circumstance, and time conspire to create the stories we tell ourselves about our past. The inclusion of several forewords by industry insiders as well as lots of ex
Art the Turtle of Amazing Girth
This was very impressive
I dug the perspective of storytelling, and the characters were very well fleshed out for such a short book.

At the end, I wanted much more of the style and everything but I was happy with how the thing ended up in the air to an extent.

This is my first Neil Gaiman book ever read, and I'm happy it was his first comic book project.

Violent Cases is #97 on the top 100 graphic novels of all time list, I am enjoying this journey almost as much as my Stephen King book club.
M.A. Garcias
I had waited too many years to read this book and was a bit disappointed by it. On the one hand, it features the themes and styles from both authors, which is always a guarantee of quality. On the other, the story is so thin and directionless, that in the end you feel you've been reading an experimental exercise in style more than a finished work. I'd still recommend it, the visuals are beautiful and so is the writing, it just leaves you wanting for a more focused story. Next in line from the sa ...more
Dec 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Re-read that one. Still an excellent graphic novel about childhood, memories, (mis)understanding or interpreting things as a child and Al Capone.
Jana Denardo
One of Neil's earlier works and I have to say it's not very memorable but maybe that's because it's so not my type of thing. It's a gangster/Al Capone story and I don't really care for those. McKean's art is fascinating as always.
Mike Keirsbilck
Feb 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: r-52-books
To feed my current Gaiman obsession, I decided to explore his graphic stories some more. This book, with the artwork of Dave McKean, was first up on my list. And Gaiman delivers again... It's a relatively short story, but the length perfectly suits the story, as it deals with the imperfections of our memory. Whole histories are compressed and distorted. This is just what the story will tell: A narrator that closely resembles Gaiman tells us of his relationship with his father and of the osteopat ...more
Razvan Zamfirescu
Mar 07, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: serie-de-autor
Spicuiri din recenzia finala care se gaseste pe blogul meu


Grafic, romanul este în regulă. Din punctul de vedere al narațiunii, povestirea m-a lăsat rece. Nu are nimic spectaculos, eu cel puțin nu am reușit să găsesc nimic spectaculos, chiar dacă tema propusă de Gaiman este destul de interesantă, deși e întoarsă pe toate fețele de mai toți scriitori din istorie – natura defectuoasă a memoriei.

Pentru prima dată îmi dau seama că Gaiman este de foarte multe
Nov 26, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I put this book on my "currently reading" list and then promptly set it aside to finish something else.
At only about 50 pages, you can get through it in no time at all, even if you linger over the superb illustrations by Dave McKean.

"Violent Cases" was one of the first collaborations between Neil Gaiman and artist McKean. Too short to be a graphic novel, it is more aptly called a graphic short story. The story is framed in the form of a childhood recollection of a meeting with Al Capone's osteo
Carlos Emilio
Aug 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic-novels
The contrasts on this graphic novel might make the reader feel a bit uneasy, but Gaiman's way of leading you through a story full of violence while he masks it all in behind the eyes of a child, makes for this story one to love.
The characters might seem distant at moments and even detached form the reader, yet this does not make the story any less entertaining and helps enhance the feeling of darkness and past in the novel.
Feb 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Belíssima dica da Simone. Deu para entender o auê em torno da colaboração dos dois: já tinha lido uma história em quadrinhos (bem nada a ver) e um livro infantil (legal, mas as ilustrações eram ok) dos dois, mas só agora saquei a força do que eles podem produzir. Quero mais.
Jason Bootle
Apr 04, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is where the glorious collaboration between Gaiman and McLean started. Great story so very well executed in pictures by McLean exploring memory, childhood, social etiquette and the legend of Al Capone. It wasn't the story I was expected. Never is with Gaiman.
Amanda [Novel Addiction]
Huh. Well, this was interesting... but definitely nothing to write home about.

Counts as "a book published the year you were born" for my 2015 reading challenge. I cheated a little bit - this is a re-released version of the old one, but the original text is all there.
Paulina Sanchez
Oct 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This graphic novella is told from the point of view of a man recalling memories from when he was four years old. It's really interesting this point of view along with the images drawn by Dave McKean. The memory has to do with his relationship with an osteopath who seems to have worked with Al Capone.

This story is about memory, what it is like to try to remember something from one's childhood and the possibility that having grown up clouds or morphs certain aspects of that memory. It's really cl
Aug 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gaiman sings and Dave McKean leaves his reader in wonders at his ability to make comics out of picture, sketches, photographs, and physical objects layered on top of art. This book was recommended to me not long after finishing Batman: Arkham Asylum and I understand why, this book is marvelous.

Much like the Mr. Punch, Gaiman tells a story of a young man witnessing the faulty of spirit of adults, and what happens when dreams are ultimately betrayed or lost by the bitterness of adulthood. This is
Cori H. Spenzich
Gaiman and McKean's "first child," with gangsters carrying violent cases of tommy guns within. A story of a man telling a story from his childhood. Made me think of Mr. Punch, a story of a man telling a story from his childhood, too. Both of them play well with the murkiness of memory.

Al Capone, baseball bats, and terrible parties with children. Have you ever wondered what a violent, adult-version of musical chairs looks like? Violent Cases provides a good take.

Again, amazing artwork by Dave McK
Oct 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
These two have always been a force to be reckoned with. Violent Cases was no exception and Team Gaiman/McKean certainly did not disappoint. It is a beautifully woven tale that explores our perceptions of truth and memory. The storytelling is unique, seamless and gripping. Each character draws you in and endears you to them. Word of warning: it will leave you with more questions than answers. When I finished reading, the question left in my head was “If you doubt the truth of a memory, then did i ...more
Brian Rogers
Mar 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics
Spurred by a remembrance of the world osteopath I pulled this off the shelf for a reread, and it is as much a dizzying tour de force as I remembered from my first read oh so many years ago. There is so much going on in the art and writing that it left an indelible impression on my then young psyche - looking back at so many things I wrote in college they were attempts to mimic this book, whether i wanted to admit it or not. If you have the chance to read it, read it.
Angela Gibson
The narrative in Violent Cases hammers the point of how an unreliable narrator can make the reader question all of the action presented. I was drawn to the juxtaposition of the Al Capone murderous rampage with a bat to the violence inherent in a game of musical chairs at a childhood birthday party.

I will be drawn to read this book again to enjoy the artistry of Dave McKean.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Cages
  • Vertigo: Winter's Edge (Graphic Novel)
  • The Books of Magic, Volume 3: Reckonings
  • The Tale of One Bad Rat
  • Brooklyn Dreams
  • The Book of Ballads
  • The Girl from H.O.P.P.E.R.S. (Locas, #2)
  • Animal Man, Vol. 3: Deus ex Machina
  • Hanging Out with the Dream King
  • Promethea, Vol. 3
  • Hellblazer: The Gift
  • Zero Girl (Zero Girl, #1)
  • Alec: How to Be an Artist
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »