Haddon & Corley have captured the essence of the original story and taken it one step further, by connecting Hyde ( and Jekyll) with the investigation of one of London’s most brutal murderers.
I had a chance to ask Cole some questions about the book, and his future projects. Enjoy! Also stop by your local comic shop Feb 8th to pick up this gread read.
1) What elements of the Jekyll & Hyde story inspired you to create your own unique interpretation?
I had long wanted to tell my own version of the Jekyll and Hyde story, but, for years, I struggled to find a way that wasn’t a straight adaptation. I love the original novella so much that I didn’t want to butcher it by trying to make it sexier for modern audiences, which would have been the inevitable outcome. It’s a business, after all, comic books. I had total artistic freedom with the comic book series, something I can’t thank Dark Horse enough for, but I had to present them with an idea they thought they could make money off of first. So approaching the novella as a sequel made more sense to me, especially since the sequel would allow me to continue the morality tale along a course much more topical to today – and maybe sex it up a bit, yes. For me, the jumping off point became: was Robert Louis Stevenson correct in the outcome of his morality play, or was the morality he was abdicating just as evil? In other words, is morality as it’s generally preached and practiced more or less evil? After all, most of history’s most atrocious acts were carried out by governments and religious bodies that, from their POV, were acting in a moral way. I guess that’s my long-winded way of saying, I was inspired by the Stevenson novella to ask my own questions about the nature of morality in the modern world.
2) I found Henry to be extremely disturbing as himself as well as Hyde, tell me your thoughts on the character.
Henry Jekyll, in the Stevenson novella, was a good man whose ego got in his way. He thought he could save the world by imposing his binary view of good and evil on it. That train of thought gave birth to Mr. Hyde. If Hyde hadn’t died in the novella, what would have become of him? The Hyde person was, after all, very young in the book. It hadn’t had time to “grow up.” I decided that Hyde, in growing up, would have come to see the world for what it really is: control. The powerful controlling the powerless, but doing it by tricking the powerless into thinking there’s a reward for all that suffering. Whether that’s a way out of a slum like Whitechapel, whether that’s the opportunity to join the ruling elite you’ve always imagined yourself as good as, or even, say, the promise of divine reward. Hyde, thus, became a kind of prophet for me. He would preach this truth, as he saw it, and rally instead for reason and critical thinking. To help free us as he had been free. Or, specifically, my Inspector Adye. And that, I hoped, was where readers would find themselves most disturbed. Because Hyde’s points make a lot of sense. In many cases, I’d argue he might even be wholly correct. But then you remember, “Oh yeah, this guy’s a homicidal madman.” I wanted people to get stuck on that moment, on that realization that they kind of agreed with Hyde, which means they kind of disagreed with their own existence in many ways. Or at least how they were tricked into existing. I have no idea if that’s what disturbed you, but it was the goal. I wanted people to agree with the monster and question themselves because of that.
3) How did M. S . Corley become involved in the project?
My editor at Dark Horse when I began The Strange Case of Mr. Hyde was Dave Land. He presented me with several very talented, sometimes very well-known artists to consider for the comic book. Many of these guys had produced work I really enjoyed, but none of them had the style that matched what I had in my head. I wanted Strange Case to look like a hybrid between the Universal Pictures’ monster movies and Hammer Film’s horrors. Mike Corley entered the mix after some worry we wouldn’t find the right artist for the job, and won me over with six or seven pieces of concept art. The work was so expressive. The characters already had personality. At the time, Mike had only done an eight-page story for Dark Horse. He didn’t exactly have a background in comic books either. But it was pretty clear he was the right person for Strange Case to me, and he’s never made me regret that decision.
4) There are hints at the end of this first adventure that there may be other cases for Thomas Adye, have you started any work on future stories?
Dark Horse and I are trying to figure out Inspector Adye’s next “strange case” as we speak.
5) How are things going with the film version of the story?
Excellently. I wish I could say more, but I’ve put my foot in my mouth a few too many times now.
6) What’s next for you creatively?
NBC hired me to write a TV series called Dracula, based on the Bram Stoker novel. A period drama. The producers describe it as “Dangerous Liaisons meet The Tudors.” For me, though, it’s just another opportunity to wander around a world I loved as a kid. Also, Kickstart Entertainment is publishing my second graphic novel, Space Gladiator, later this year.
Thanks so much Cole !
Thanks to Cole Haddon for taking the time to talk to ComicBookTherapy, and to Aub Driver at Dark Horse for make it happen. You can follow Cole on Twitter at @colehaddon and order The Strange Case of Mr. Hyde from Amazon HERE.