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In part three of the interview with Cole Haddon, Cole discusses the way he saw the Jack the Ripper murders and how they influenced ‘The Strange Case of Mr. Hyde’. He also discusses the idea he wanted to get across when pitting the Ripper and Hyde against each other.
Toonari Post (TP): Other than classic horror, I also saw you delve into historical references with your antagonist, Jack the Ripper. I was thoroughly impressed with the details you put into the Ripper murders, even going as far as introducing an actual suspect in your comic as one of the plot devices, and especially the letter to “Boss”. What was your interest in the Ripper case, and why did you decide to have Jekyll and Hyde take on one of England’s most infamous murderers?
Cole Haddon (CH): I like the idea of pitting Victorian England’s greatest fictional monster against Victorian England’s greatest historical monster, which just sounded like fun. Jack the Ripper has a great place in history and clearly continues to fascinate people. I also think he’s become very mythologized; he’s almost as much of a fictional character as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
So, incorporating him seemed fun. I remember growing up and loving the first Elsewords’ graphic novel ‘Gotham by Gaslight’ where Batman confronts Jack the Ripper and, I think, that probably had a lingering influence on my smashing of these two characters together.
It also stems from the fact that I wanted to do a sequel to ‘The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’, to return to a character that I loved so much as a kid, but did not feel I could add anything to the original novel. It was a pretty solid novel, but I don’t feel it necessarily holds up today, in terms of its relevance.
The debate between good and evil had been usurped by the concept of ego which Robert Louis Stevenson was wandering around and exploring long before Freud pondered that theory. So, tackling the sequel, to wonder how Hyde might have evolved after he began to learn and think, because you meet him as a very young identity in the novella.
Carrying that forward, I found a very interesting character, with regards to philosophy and how the world really is, but I didn’t really think he was the bad guy anymore. If anything, he was possibly right in the train of thought I had followed. I needed a villain worse than him, and the wondrous thing about Victorian monsters is that very few of them are true, outright villains.
Maybe the Invisible Man and Mr. Hyde are just mad, evil sons of bitches, but most of the characters have some sympathy, and the Ripper seemed like a great antagonist for a character who already was the boogieman of London.
Could there be a villain that Hyde’s ego couldn’t bear the thought of? You know, a character that was proud of the thought that he was the baddest of the bad, that he was the guy that parents warned their kids about when they went to sleep, so they would behave. The fact that someone existed to challenge that title also seemed to be very appealing, and somehow Jack the Ripper fell into that.
He just seemed like the ideal choice, and that helped establish the identity of the ‘Strange Case’ series, as it hopefully moves forward, which is not only mashing up a lot of the Victorian monsters in science fiction that I enjoyed so much as a kid, but mashing it up with actual history, rather than allowing it to exist in a bubble.
TP: I really appreciate your time with me today, and I just want to congratulate you on an amazing story and the amazing job you’ve done. I absolutely loved the comic. It was incredible! I really want to wish you luck, and I hope you continue on further with your career!
CH: Alright! Thank you so much!
‘The Strange Case of Mr. Hyde’ collection comes out February 22 from Dark Horse Entertainment.