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Recently, Toonari Post spoke with Cole Haddon, author of ‘The Strange Case of Mr. Hyde’. The comic, by Dark Horse, was a successful four volume series which has recently breached Hollywood and will become a full-length motion picture. Cole Haddon explained to us how he got his start and how he came up with the story behind ‘The Strange Case of Mr. Hyde’.
Toonari Post (TP): How did you start your current career?
Cole Haddon (CH): I moved out here to L. A. six years ago with the intention of breaking into the film business as a screenwriter. That took about three years with the help of friends I made, because I got representation and got some attention on some scripts I was working on. That led to reaching the comic book world to a meeting with Dark Horse Entertainment, and that’s how I became a comic book writer. But, for the screenplay stuff, that was just hard work and people eventually liking what I was doing, and it paid off.
TP: How long have you been focused on screenwriting, and then evolved to comics?
CH: As long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to be a storyteller. I think I’ve just gone with that title as an umbrella for what I wanted to do, because I drifted between so many different mediums. When I was 13, I thought I was going to be a comic book writer, and I was also an illustrator.
So I was trying to break into the business just as the image boom was exploding around the country. But it took me forever to draw a comic book. Where other people do it quite naturally, I would have been spending two years to do two issues. But I enjoyed the stories so much and transitioned into screenwriting, and then went off to college where I then again transitioned into writing novels and short stories.
Until about 28 or so, I just realized film was where my heart had always been, and I was just running in circles around it, because I think in Michigan, where I’m from, you’re largely told that’s a dream for other people, that you should just go get a job at General Motor or if you get your degree and become an engineer, or a lawyer, or doctor, or something simple and easy and clearly lucrative.
So I ran from diving in for a long time, and I just gave up on running and got in the car and drove out here, and I’ve been here ever since. Very long and winding, and not at all a direct path, but I always knew that I wanted to be telling stories, and that, so far, looks like what I have to do.
TP: When you went into making the comic, was there anything specific you wanted to introduce into the comic world? What did you feel was missing and that you wanted to add in the comic book industry?
CH: I’ve been a comic book fan since I was probably eight and worked at comic book stores, and like I said, I thought I was going to work in the comic book industry from a very young age. That was mostly from the love of super hero comic books, and as I got older, though, I found I wanted more and more sophisticated stories, which weren’t always to be found in the super hero series.
So, I think when I finally got the opportunity to move into the medium, thanks to Dark Horse, I really wanted to use it as a means to explore themes that I wasn’t really allowed to touch in my screenwriting career.
In many ways, I call comic books my independent film because it pays like shit, but the satisfaction is through the roof. I control everything, and you get to create your own property, such as ‘The Strange Case of Mr. Hyde’.
So having that freedom to explore ideas, sometimes challenging ideas about society and religion and politics and many of these things that I found in the medium that I wanted to play with, and I didn’t necessarily see enough. There is much of it out there, but it’s stuff I had to look for. So when I finally got into it, I wanted to, at least, focus on that myself.