Interview with Cole Haddon, Writer of The Strange Case of Mr. Hyde
The Strange Case of Mr. Hyde was a great mini series focused on, you guessed it, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Click here for the review, don’t worry I’ll wait…
Great, now that you’re up to speed let’s keep going. Following my review of the series I had the chance to send the writer of the series, Cole Haddon, some of my questions. Since I submitted my questions in writing I missed out on the witty banter of a live interview but I’m not one to miss out on witty banter if I can help it so after receiving his answers I came up with my own banter. So, WPR=me, CH=Cole Haddon and WB=Witty Banter and other observations I made based on his replies. Here we go:
WPR: Why the desire to delve into the world of Hyde?
CH: Mr. Hyde has always been my favorite Victorian-age monster, far more interesting to me than, say, Frankenstein’s monster or Dracula. He’s a tragic villain after all, a character who, as Dr. Jekyll, set about trying to save the world, but, because of that arrogance, because of thinking he alone could accomplish such an impossible task, released Mr. Hyde, a homicidal, baby-killing madman, on London. In him is the best and worst of us, two states constantly at war. I thought that sounded a lot like the United States today, a country torn apart by an increasingly dualistic way of thinking, but, as I got to working on the series, I realized Jekyll was much more interesting as a guide to another character – my Inspector Adye – who was undergoing a similar spiritual conflict inside himself. If Jekyll had survived the original novel and somehow recombined the two personas, what would the result be? How would Jekyll’s profound reason make sense of all the horrible truths Hyde would have discovered about how the human soul and our society works?
WPR: How much of Hyde was based on the original Stevenson Hyde? How much was original?
CH: Each issue begins with a short prologue, set during the events of the original novel, which show my interpretation of what happened there. Beyond that, everything else is wholly original.
WB: Having just nearly finished Robert Louis Stevenson’s original The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde after reading the comics I really appreciate the differences he chose to make and it has been fun to see what is the same.
WPR: I would assume it was a conscious decision to not make Hyde into a literal monster with physical changes to make him more like Ayde (as was shown in the wax museum). Was this the case? It is definitely a different take on Hyde compared to how he was portrayed in League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.
CH: It was a completely conscious decision. I know full well that Robert Louis Stevenson described Hyde as a gnomish villain, but I didn’t find that interpretation, or the one presented in cinema over the years or Alan Moore’s, especially scary. Scary is the guy you think is normal, that you even find yourself liking and wanting to be like, who could stab an ice pick into your ear and not think twice about it.
WB: I really think this take on Hyde really is more fiendish, in the original he exudes a sense of wrongness and evil to everyone he meets. Haddon’s Hyde is far more subtle and makes for a stronger story.
WPR: Was this a Hyde focused one time series or will we see future stories with Ayde and other Victorian era “monsters”?
CH: The intention is for many more “strange cases” to follow, with Inspector Adye using what Jekyll/Hyde has taught him to tackle the unexplained mysteries of his era. The final page of Issue #4, for example, reveals whom the next strange case will be, while I’ll say that a mad scientist who made a cameo in Issue #1 will also plague Adye in the future.
WB: All I can say is that any take on the “mad scientist” from Issue #1 is going to be way better than the horrible movie starring Val Kilmer, I’ll let you figure out which one (poor Val has had a lot of bad movies).
WPR: Ayde and Hyde have a lot of similarities and even look very similar and then you have their name being different by only the first letter. You also saw the relationship between Jekyll and Hyde but over the story you also saw a similar relationship develop between Ayde and Hyde. Assuming the series doesn’t end here will the Hyde/Ayde relationship come back into play and will Hyde show up again or was the story more of Ayde’s journey from naive “moral” man to a man more balanced in outlook and interests as we saw him really acting on his own at the end?
CH: You know what’s funny? I didn’t recognize the name similarity myself until after I had written the comic book. The character of Inspector Adye, see, wasn’t my creation. He’s found in H.G. Wells’ The Invisible Man, addressed there as “Colonel” Adye. Consequently, The Strange Case of Mr. Hyde is sort of his “secret origin.” As for the similarity in their appearance, that was much more intentional. Jekyll/Hyde sees Adye as being just like he was, before the serum. He’s what Jekyll was before the serum enlightened him, in other words. Physical similarities, making them appear almost as if brothers, were intended to give the feeling that Jekyll was trying to set “himself”/Adye free – liberating Adye from the absurd rigidity that Jekyll was also once constrained by. As for your question about how the series ends and if Hyde will return to Adye’s life, you’re going to have to wait and see. At the end of the day, this was always a story for me about Adye’s transformation. He’ll be dealing with the repercussions of his experiences with Hyde, including how to deal with what he learned from Hyde, for a very long time.
WB: I obviously didn’t know that Adye was from The Invisible Man but I think that it actually makes the character stronger. Haddon has been able to pull these characters, both well and lesser known and create a story that successfully weaves many classic tales together. Here’s hoping he gets the chance to do it.