There are many conspiracy theories surrounding the assassination of John F. Kennedy. One of which is the possibility that Lee Harvey Oswald’s body has been switched before his burial. Investigations in the 1980s have concluded that it is indeed him but, if the theory was correct, how would it happen and why? Written by Chirstopher Cantwell, illustrated by Luca Casalanguida, and colored by Giada Marchisio, Regarding the Matter of Oswald’s Body delves into a fictionalized version of the theory and the ones involved in its creation.
In the year 1981, Lee Harvey Oswald’s body was exhumed and sent to Parkland hospital to be investigated. Flashback to 1963, four outcasts are chosen by a shadowy figure for a job. There is wannabe cowboy and bank robber Shep, guitar player and car thief Buck, civil rights activist Rose, and failed FBI candidate Wainwright. With the promise of a cash reward and a better life, the group takes the job. It’s simple: kidnap a lowlife who looks exactly like Lee Harvey Oswald. When the job is done, however, the truth behind their work slowly leaks through. With their lives on the line and their country in mourning, everyone considers abandoning their work but that is indeed easier said than done.
There is no shortage of fictionalized accounts of JFK conspiracy theories but what is different about Regarding the Matter of Oswald’s Body is the creators’ choice to focus on Oswald himself. Sure you hear about the assassination within the comic and witness Jack Ruby’s attack, but other than that, it is all about Oswald and how far up this assassination plan goes. Cantwell’s writing gives each character their own personality. They are not just a group of similar minded outcasts. The story itself is filled with little mysteries and plot twists that keep the readers guessing. The jumps between 1981 and 1963 keeps the readers interested in the story, allowing them to question whether or not it is Oswald in the grave and not another government coverup Casalanguida’s artwork from panel to panel allows action scenes to flow nicely, with each character moving from one end to the next. Detailed line work on each character and the setting provide readers a look into the early 1960s. Marchisio’s colors provide brighten views of open landscapes and dark scenes in secret hideouts. The creative trio work well together, bringing life to a story about deceit and government cover ups. Lastly, readers are treated to maps, texts, and newspaper clippings surrounding the event and essay samples that discuss ideas behind identity and body doubles.
Regarding the Matter of Oswald’s Body is a good choice for any public library’s graphic novel collection, especially those who cater towards patrons who read American history and government conspiracy. With great storytelling and detailed artwork, patrons will be intrigued with what this graphic novel has to offer.
Regarding the Matter of Oswald’s Body
By Christopher Cantwell
Art by Luca Casalanguida and Giada Marchisio
BOOM! Studios, 2022
NFNT Age Recommendation: Adult (18+)