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In part two of the Cole Haddon interview, Cole goes into how he was able to put ‘The Strange Case of Mr. Hyde’ together, along with the many inspirations and influences he had when making the comic.
Toonari Post (TP): About your comic, ‘The Strange Case of Mr. Hyde’, your first issue was released in April 27 of 2011. Since then, you’ve released three other volumes, and now, in February, Dark Horse will be coming out with the four volume package. The one thing I was immediately impressed with was the artwork by M.S. Corley. How did you two come together for the project?
Cole Haddon (CH): M.S., I actually forgot what that stands for, but I know ‘M’ stands for Mike. At the time that the deal had been made and we were moving forward on ‘The Strange Case of Mr. Hyde’, my editor at the time, Dave Land, who has moved on from Dark Horse since then, sent me five or six really talented artists to consider, people who actually had name recognition. But a lot of it was, I don’t mean this as a slight, but it was the more conventional stuff.
There were a few that were a little out there, but for the most part, it was styles that I was familiar with. I knew from the start that I wanted ‘The Strange Case of Mr. Hyde’ to just look different, that when someone picked up the comic book to just immediately think that “this is something different, maybe I should pay attention to it.”
After going back and forth a little bit, they sent me Mike’s work, which I was immediately struck by because it didn’t look like other things that were out there. But he also didn’t have much of a history in comic books.
He had illustrated an eight-page story for Dark Horse Presents’ MySpace page. I believe that’s how it worked, which ironically enough involved Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Jack the Ripper, very odd, but a much more monstrous version of everything.
So it struck me as different and special, and we got on the phone and didn’t stop talking for like 90 minutes about how much we loved classic horror movies. Of course, that inspired ‘The Strange Case of Mr. Hyde’, and by the end, it just seemed clear Mike wanted to work on the research and figure out how to put on the page what I saw in my head.
I haven’t regretted the decision since. He’s done nothing, but amazing work and pushed himself every step of the way, even when there could have been easier ways of doing things. He consistently challenged the instincts that both of us had.
TP: At the point when Adye and Jekyll meet up with Newcomen in the Museum of Waxworks, that made me think of ‘The House of Wax’ with Vincent Price. What would you say your biggest influence for making this comic is?
CH: I think probably as an aesthetic storyteller, everything has come, for me, from film. Film has led me to every classic book I’ve ever read. It’s sort of the launching pad to my entire existence. Probably several years ago, upon seeing ‘Pulp Fiction’, it was the first time I realized that my natural instinct to mash things together, just because I thought it was cool, actually could work.
For instance, something that Tarantino has been doing ever since, is mashing together genres and films that have no business being in the same movie, but somehow works. I could only dream that I’m remotely effective as he is.
But that was really the launching point for combining a love of a lot of classic horror from Universal Pictures Monster movies of the ’30s, ’40s, and ’50s, which had a huge impact on this series, to the Hammer Horrors to the ’50s, ’60s, and early ’70s before they went off the rails.
That had a huge impact. In fact, there is a Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee cameo in the series if you look very carefully. It was always the intention to draw inspiration to from the films that had such an impact on me as a child, to somehow reintroduce that feeling, that love of Gothic horror to a reader who might not be all that familiar with it.
The colorist, Jim Campbell, did some remarkable work, I think. He was probably chiefly responsible for invoking the feel of those Hammer films, in particular with the color pallet he chose. Contrast, saturated, and de-saturated colors between the upper-class and the lower-class to thematic colors for characters, the use of the brightest, most garish red we could come up with for blood that is never diluted by shadows or distance.
Blood, just like in all of the Hammer films, just has to scream at the audience. Even the ‘House of Wax’ reference is correct. Madame Tussauds is a real location.
Because the film goes hand-in-hand with the comic book, it was important that there were set pieces, major set pieces that people would recognize and would be exciting to see on the screen, and Madame Tussauds was one of those just for what it offered in terms of action, in terms of being able to actually have a visual representation of what the popular idea of what Hyde is.
There is also the fact that I love the Vincent Price ‘House of Wax’ and go all the way back to the Michael Curtiz’s ‘Mystery of the Wax Museum’, which is an old, two-color inspiration for the ‘House of Wax’.