Published on October 20th, 2015 | by Richard Boom
Interview With “Halloween Man” Creator Drew Edwards
“Halloween Man” a 21st Century Beauty and the Beast story that brings together the most amazing aspects of horror, superheroes, and science fiction. Meet Solomon Hitch, the Halloween Man himself — a misunderstood monster with the power of the horror movie sequel, a heart of gold, and a taste for living flesh — and his lady love Lucy Chaplin, the world’s most glamorous mad scientist. With his friends by his side, he just might smash evil, save the world — and maybe even save his soul!
C4S set out to interview the man of the hour, the creator of the Halloween Man, Drew Edwards as Halloween Man turns 15 this Halloween. And who out there does not enjoy Halloween?!
C4S: Halloween Man is now celebrating his 15th anniversary. This unique character and these special sidekicks are with you for 15 years now!! How do you feel about it?
DREW EDWARDS: Sort of like I’m just now hitting my stride with this; a victory lap if you will. Even though I’ve been doing the comic for quite some time, it’s always been more of an underground comic. A sort of cult hit that a loyal few knew of and loved. But in the last year, it seems like it’s starting to become more popular and dare I say it… more mainstream. Which is funny, because if anything I think our stories have gotten weirder the last few years. I finally became less concerned with appealing to a broad audience. I guess it just goes to show you should try to please yourself first. I often get asked at cons how to “break-in” and I always just tell people to start making comics and don’t stop. Stubbornness counts for something and I am living proof of that.
DREW EDWARDS: Well, I didn’t really know how, so I just sort of made it up as I went a long. I started dreaming this up in the late 90’s and comics culture was still very much on the fringes. There weren’t any classes on making comics. You just sort of hung out at your local comic store and met like minded people. I also posted fliers and stickers, trying to meet artists. It was a lot like forming a band really. People seem to like the characters, so it was never that hard to find people to work with.
Initially, it was going to be published by a small indie comics upstart called Maximum Comics and Games. However, a year into it I was in a car accident that killed my twin brother and left me emotionally scarred. After that the comic became less about personal gain and more a form of therapy. I broke from Maximum Comics and launched Halloween Man as a web comic. Doing it as a web comic allowed me a lot of personal freedom and to essentially use the comic as a way to work through my issues. It’s odd, but what reads to most as zany, rough around the edges adventure stories, really were just my way of getting through the day. If I hadn’t had the comic to work on, I wouldn’t have made it to twenty-five, of that much I am sure. Because I was really self destructive at that point in my life.
That being said, I didn’t really know what I was doing as a writer, although in retrospect, I think that’s the best way to learn. I think in some ways formal education can file off your rough edges too soon. Those are often what makes your creations distinct. Trial and error can be a wonderful teacher.
C4S: You have had some great names in the business work for you, like Nicola Scott and David Baldeon. How did you come across them?
DREW EDWARDS: I was active on Mark Millar’s Millarworld forum, which turned into kind of a hotbed of indie comics talent. We all collaborated with each other, because it was a way to build our chops and our resumes. With David and Nicola, I was just very much drawn in by their art, but also their professionalism. If they said they were going to hit a deadline, they did it! An underrated job skill these days. I always knew those two would go on to do great things and it’s been a joy to watch them grow.
C4S: Over time some of the characters changed their appearance a tad and more and more your personal ideas (especially the doctor friend, wink wink) came to be realized. How come it never was like this from the start?
DREW EDWARDS: I didn’t know how to be a boss or an art director. I had a concept of how I wanted the characters to look, but I didn’t want to be overbearing with my creative team, many of whom were just donating their time in the early days.
On Solomon, I always imagined him as zombified member of the Ramones. But because I’m from Texas and he has a certain southern flare, I think a lot of people wanted him to be Jonah Hex. I guess I just didn’t fight hard enough. I mean, till it became clear I needed to. I honestly can’t remember the last time someone put a hat on him. I’ve actually been debating some more radical changes to Solomon’s look in recent years.
Lucy was a bigger issue, because I imagined her as a vivacious, full-figured woman. But I could never quite get that translated into the art and after awhile I just gave up. However, when DC relaunched into their “New52” era, they revealed new character designs for the formally plump Amanda Waller and the formally buxom yet muscular Power Girl. With both rendered in the slender and busty style that is the industry standard, I felt myself get enraged.
As the husband of a full-figured woman, I felt this was backwards and quite sexist decision making.
I then carefully crafted a storyline which would result in a version of Lucy that was more in line with my original intentions for the character. I knew that if I made it part of the character development, my art team would understand and rally behind the concept. I put together a team of the best artists I knew, all of which had a hand in designing the new version of Lucy. The new design and the resulting story arc, “Eye of the Beholder”, has been almost universally acclaimed. So, I’m very glad I stuck to my guns on that one.
The key thing about being able to change the character’s appearance and designs is that we’re a self-published comic. We’re outside of the corporate structure, which means we’re not stuck with a certain design simply because it’s popular or iconic. So, partly I’m simply utilizing the fact that our characters can change. Comic book heroes might not age per sé, but this kind of thing certainly shows the passage of time and keeps things visually fresh as well.
C4S: How did you even get the characters to be like they are? Are they based on people you know or did you come up with them during a night of dancing on Presley-music?
DREW EDWARDS: Well, the characters all started out as abstract concepts with names attached to them. Some of them very far removed from how they ended up. For example, Lucy started out as a female vampire with a Colonel Sanders lookalike as a father. Solomon was originally half-werewolf/half-zombie. It was through the process of refining the characters that they were hammered into their more familiar forms.
Most of the characters have bits of myself in them, with Solomon and Nickodemis being the most like me. Solomon being almost a fictional face for my struggles with mental illness.
Like a lot of nerds who write, Lucy started out as a kind of fantasy girlfriend, but she became more real as I matured. She has aspects of a lot of different women in here, but it’s no real secret that last few years I’ve drawn very heavily on my wife and muse, Jamie.
Actually, I’m pretty proud to say that Lucy is the breakout character and has grown so far from merely being a cheesecake character.
C4S: Just for the folks wanting to check it out, what collections or story arcs have you done so far?
DREW EDWARDS: We have a nice collection of paperbacks and issues, most of which are available on Indy Planet. But the easiest way to dig into Halloween Man, is to sign up for comixology and start following the series and specials on there.
|ALL THE TPB’S
C4S: Do you have a favourite storyline?
DREW EDWARDS: Well, not to talk down any of the stellar work anyone else has done on the comic, but my personal favorite remains Halloween Man vs. the Invisible Man. The Invisible Man is a great monster and I think he’s been kind of underused in the modern era. The original Wells novella is great, as is the classic James Whale film. As Alan Moore famously noted, Griffin is one of the truly disturbed villains in genre fiction. So, I had a lot of work with.
That story helped me through the break-up of my first marriage. I think it cuts very deeply to the core of Solomon and Lucy’s relationship. It’s a great showcase for my frequent collaborator Sergio Calvet. Plus, it’s works a kinky tribute to everything from the Universal Monsters to Clive Barker, which is an influence I’m not sure everyone picks up on in my writing.
Anyway, I think that story is a nice little piece of “gothic rock” and I honestly hope more people check it out. I think it’s actually underrated in some ways.
DREW EDWARDS: That was a dream come true. We had a mutual friend in Hamster Rage creator Brian Crowley, who put in us in contact with one another. He very rightfully knew we were like minded people. Naturally, we hit it off and the crossover kind of came out of that. Hack/Slash is sort of a kindred spirit to Halloween Man. While they are not 100 percent alike, it’s a safe bet if you like one, you’ll probably enjoy the other. Everyone involved busted their hump to make sure it read and looked great. Years later, it still seems like a fan favorite.
C4S: How do you approach each new arc, self-publishing wise, writing-wise and publishing-wise? (yes, I want to go in-depth on your self publishing adventure)
DREW EDWARDS: When I started the ComiXology series, I was still using stories that were written with the old web comic in mind. These days I’m writing more and more, with digital in mind. I’m gearing more towards one-shot, self-contained stories and mini-series, because I feel like that suits our format best.
I’ve been with a lot of small publishers over the years, most recently Monsterverse. For one reason or another, I always ended up back on my own and I think I’ve finally realized I like the entrepreneurial spirit of it. I like being master of my own destiny, as pompous as that sounds. So recently my wife and I, partnered up to created Sugar Skull Media, an indie imprint which she put out her latest album and I started publishing Halloween Man under. It’s been a grand experiment so far.
C4S: Did you ever try and get the collection in TPB’s via Image Comics or via Kick starter? Or rather ‘has this thought come by yet’? I know who would get it per-ordered asap 🙂
DREW EDWARDS: Well, that’s a question I get asked a lot. It’s all about timing I think. I want to continue building up my audience on ComIxology first. I feel like they go above and beyond to push their indies and I’m having a good experience creating a broader readership through them. And maybe when I feel like the time is right, I may start approaching publishers like Image.
C4S: What is your current and next plan for Halloween Man?
DREW EDWARDS: The current series will continue on through issue 13, then, as previously mentioned, we will focus more on specials and mini-series. Coming right up we have the ComiXology release of our latest collection Ray Gun Gothic and our big Halloween anniversary issue, which Nicola Scott has graciously provided a cover for.