Monday, February 13, 2012

Interview with Cole Haddon, creator of The Strange Case of Mr. Hyde

I had the awesome chance to chat with Cole Haddon, the brains behind The Strange Case of Mr. Hyde from Dark Horse Comics.  This was particularly fun, as I am a huge fan of this story.  On top of that, Cole is just a hysterical guy.  If you want to find out, make sure you follow Cole Haddon on twitter!

Courtesy of Dark Horse Comics
IGH: We all may recognize Thomas Ayde, the inspector in The Invisible Man, as the hero in this story.  With this story as the prequel of sorts for The Invisible Man, will the Adye we see in that case be the same man from the original tale?

CH: First off, good catch. Most people fail to make the connection between my Inspector Adye and H.G. Wells’s The Invisible Man. I’ve often said The Strange Case of Mr. Hyde is his “secret origin,” and so, to answer your question, yes, the intention has always been that Adye would become the hero of that novel…or, rather, my interpretation of it.

IGH: We watch Ayde begin to understand the world around him, through his education and corruption by Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde.  Ultimately, do you think he finds a sort of peace?

CH: I think Adye has a long road ahead of him. He’s identified himself as a person of very specific beliefs his entire life, and, by the end of The Strange Case of Mr. Hyde, that’s all been taken away from him. He’s rudderless, but also full of cautious optimism that maybe, just maybe his re-education by Hyde has prepared him for the monstrous world that’s been opened up to him. So, yes, I think he does find a sort of peace…that won’t last.

IGH: In your afterword, you mention that Adye's betrayal of Hyde is forgiven because he makes up his own mind.  I felt that Adye never betrayed Hyde, instead he just proved that he learned from him.  In looking back, do you still feel that Adye betrays Hyde?  

CH: I think that Adye betrayed his friendship with Hyde, but fulfilled his responsibility as a human being according to Hyde’s code of ethics. It’s the great irony of the story, as far as I’m concerned. Hyde’s ethics are much more solid and humanistic (despite his homicidal “madness”) than any of the “good, upstanding” characters we meet in the comic book.

IGH: Did writing this story make you reflect on your own good and evil sides?

CH: I’m in a constant state of rebellion, though I can’t always tell you what against. I don’t trust the Powers That Be and I question everything. I believe what I do because I worked to understand things better and that understanding is always evolving. Unfortunately, reason is not something that’s widely embraced in America. Critical thinking is often discouraged at the elementary and secondary education levels in this country. In fact, communities will often work to eliminate information from textbooks that contradict their personal belief systems. Adye was really a cypher for this way of thinking. He’s the guy who’s completely drank the Kool-Aid. He bought everything the Powers That Be told him to, to the point that he’s dying inside. He’s a miserable, repressed prig who believes in science, but isn’t willing to take his training to its natural conclusion. A black-and-white mentality has crippled him. Hyde, in turn, was a cypher for my own escape from this way of thinking. So, no, I don’t think the story’s really about good and evil. Hyde would tell you that those are manmade constructs, tools of the Powers That Be to better control you.

IGH: Since writing this comic, it has become a screenplay on its way to becoming a movie.  How does it feel to watch this come to life?

CH: It’s a slow process, but an exciting one. My day job is as a screenwriter, though. I work in this world and have had to learn to survive in it. Comic books, despite how much I love them, are a side-job. I often describe them as my “independent film.” They pay like shit, but the emotional satisfaction of controlling your creation and seeing it to fruition is imcomparable.

IGH: Will you be able to continue Adye's story in Strange Case comics?  What plans can you divulge?

CH: Dark Horse and I are discussing the next Strange Case now. I can’t say much yet, can’t even confirm there will be a sequel, but hopefully readers demand one. I think it’s evident from the last page of Strange Case of Mr. Hyde what villain Adye would face off against next, though.
Courtesy of Dark Horse Comics
IGH: The Invisible Man?

CH: Yes.

IGH: Would that case be a remake/new interpretation of the classic story or a prequel?

CH: A little bit of both, actually.

IGH: What other classic stories might Adye encounter in Strange Case, or will you create new characters to challenge him?

CH: Dr. Moreau, of The Island of Dr. Moreau, makes an appearance in this first series and will be returning, I hope. Several other classic characters and monsters/villains will hopefully appear as well. At the moment, though, there are no plans of creating new characters to challenge Adye. There are just too many ones for me to play with already. I could be busy at this for a decade if left to my own devices.

IGH: With this being your breakthrough into comics, you have kept busy with more comic projects coming up.  What can you share about those?

CH: Kickstart Entertainment is publishing my next graphic novel sometime this year. That’s called Space Gladiator. Unfortunately, I’m not allowed to talk about it just yet. Hopefully soon, though.

IGH: You have often talked about your love for Victorian-era tales.  If you could be in any Victorian story, which would it be?

CH: None, at least not the ones I loved most. They’re set in miserable worlds, full of death and suffering. That said, what most people wouldn’t guess is that I’m also a great fan of Jane Austen’s novels. I’d probably prefer to live out my life at Mr. Darcy’s Pemberley, even if I was nothing but a member of the household staff.

IGH: Are there any other classic stories you would want to recreate or expand on?

CH: Most recently, NBC hired me to write a TV series based on the Dracula novel. The producers describe it as Dangerous Liaisons meets The Tudors. For me, though, it’s just another opportunity to pay homage to one of my favorite gothic villains. People mostly seem to dig what I did with Mr. Hyde, they seem to think I stayed true to what that character was, so hopefully I don’t let them down with our Transylvanian count either.

IGH: This sounds awesome.  Please, just promise that you keep me up-to-date and that no vamps sparkle.

CH: There will be no sparkly vampires, you have my word on that.

Now that we got you intrigued, go to your LCS and grab a copy of The Strange Case of Mr. Hyde today!

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