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Drew Edwards: Taking Halloween Man to New Heights

A comics interview article by: Tim O'Shea
Drew Edwards first started working on the Halloween Man project as part of a role playing game, back in his late teens. While predominantly building its audience on the web,
Silent Devil is poised to print a collection of Halloween Man, called Halloween Man: Superdeformed GN (Diamond Order Code: AUG073961/SRP: $9.99). Here’s the official word on the collection from Silent Devil:

“This 21st century Beauty and the Beast tale follows the adventures of a good hearted(but flesh eating) monstrosity named Solomon Hitch and his lady love Lucy Chaplin, the world's most glamorous mad scientist. With the world against them, these two join together with a quirky cast of characters to smash evil, save the world, and maybe save themselves as well! Written by underground cult hero Drew Edwards with art by ‘Wizard Talent to Watch’ artist Nicola Scott! This collected edition features some the freakiest, funniest, adventures in web comics history!”

I recently caught up with Edwards to get this take on the upcoming release.

Tim O’Shea (TOS): You've been writing Halloween Man for a number of years, given that it started out as part of a role playing game and has evolved to its present incarnation, what has held your interest in the character (other than obviously he's your own creation) to keep you developing stories with him for all these years?

Drew Edwards (DE): Well, Solomon holds my attention because he never gives up. He takes all the crap the world can throw at him and he doesn't quit. He has probably the most thankless job in the universe when you think about it. That inspires me.

Aside from that, I just love these characters and I love the universe I've created (with the help of a lot of cool people). I feel like I'd be letting them down if I threw in the towel.

TOS: How did this upcoming project land at Silent Devil?

DE: I knew Christian for a few years via conventions and such. We got to talking about it at Cape, which is a small Dallas-based show. The timing just felt right. He wanted to work with Nicola, my wife Jami, and myself. And Halloween Man is a natural fit for Silent Devil.

TOS: You've collaborated with a number of artists over the years, but this Silent Devil collection focuses on the stories you did with Nicola Scott. What about those stories -- and Scott's work -- made you decide to make them the focus of the collection?

DE: Her being on Birds of Prey naturally builds an interest. It gives her fans a chance to go back and discover her early works. We've packed all of her Halloween Man stories in one book, and it's dirt cheap to boot.

I should add, though, that Nicola isn't the only artist whose stories appear. We've also got one by "bashful" Ben Hall and the uber-talented David Baldeón.

TOS: How much of a role has Millarworld (and the support of that strong online community) helped shape your work/build an audience for Halloween Man?

DE: It gave me a ready-made audience to read the web comic. And it allowed me to make contact with a lot of talented people. Aside from Nicola, I met both my editor (Russell Hillman) and my art director (Jesse Farrell) via Millarworld.

As far as shaping the actual work though? Not much. I write mostly for myself. Well, me as a 14 year old.

TOS: I was really struck by your comment on the Millarworld board: "I just sort of now feel like this is really happening. It's exciting but also kind of scary." What is it about the impending publication that has you kind of scared?

DE: Well, I've worked my entire adult life on this comic. I was 18 when I started and I'm 28 now. If this fails, it'll break my heart a little. That's the bad side of scary though. There's also the "good" scary, which is a sense of excitement.

TOS: You've grown as a storyteller since Halloween Man began -- where do you think you've most improved the character?

DE: Well, Solomon started out as an RPG character. So his powers are kind of goofy starting out, because they follow that style rather slavishly. I mean he's blowing up stuff with his mind and the like. It didn't really make sense given the overall theme of the character. Thankfully, I'm not above poking fun at myself. So we mock that as much as possible.

Solomon also started out having a rather limited emotional range. He was more cartoonish, almost like a character from the Tick. As I've grown and experienced things, I've been able to channel that into Solomon.

I still feel like I'm failing in certain areas. I feel like a lot of the secondary cast hasn't really had a chance to shine yet. Solomon, Lucy, and Morlack are really well defined characters though.

I've learned a lot in the last decade. And I'm continuing to learn. As sure as I'm probably still making mistakes. But hopefully that's part of the comic's "garage rock" kind of charm. I like it that it's a bit rough in few places. Keeps it from coming off like a overly-sanitized DC/Marvel product. We're proudly DIY.

TOS: How much of an online audience do you think you've built over the years, and how do you hope to translate that audience to buy the print version? You've been clearly in the trenches building support for Halloween Man, a quick Google groups search turns up posts by you promoting the work back in 2000...

DE: Ya' know, I'm not sure. The people who love Halloween Man really love it. But the people who hate it really hate it. The two tend to balance each other out.

My hope is naturally the people who do like it will really turn out and support it. And help hype it. We're not X-Men or Superman, so we need the support of online fandom to get the word out. Even for something with a decent cult following, that's a huge uphill battle.

TOS: Would it be safe to say that visually the lead character, Solomon Hitch, is somewhat influenced by Jonah Hex? What other influences/inspirations (in terms of movies, books, pick your medium) helped shape Solomon?

DE: Well, not really - more in a roundabout way. When I made Solomon up, I didn't have much of an idea of who Jonah Hex was. Mostly from his brief appearance on Batman: The Animated Series. The main thing I was thinking of was characters like Two-Face and the Phantom of the Opera. Hex is certainly part of that same line of "two-faced" characters though.

As far as Solomon's wardrobe goes, we were looking at the Ramones and Rob Zombie. Sort of a cow-punk kind of look. Throw that all together and it just ends up looking a bit like Jonah Hex. I've actually been telling artists to avoid putting a hat on him, since DC has brought Hex back in a big way. I feel like we should respect that and not cramp Jonah's style - Mr. Hex isn't known for being a forgiving sort of fella, is he?

My main inspirations for Solomon were of course Jason (of Friday the 13th fame), Vampire Hunter D, Frankenstein's Monster (Boris Karloff-flavored) and George Romero's wonderful zombie films. Of course, being a huge fan of Fantastic Four, there's a whole lot of Ben Grimm in there.

A lot of people who have noted that he has somewhat of a Bruce Campbell/Kurt Russell vibe to him as well .

It was basically putting all of the things I liked into a blender and putting it on high.

TOS: Solomon's love, Lucy--am I correct in thinking she was influenced by your wife, Jami Deadly?

DE: Quite a bit. Of course Jami is blonde and Lucy a redhead. That was Jami's idea, in homage to I Love Lucy. – although the name came from Dracula.

TOS: Clearly, Scott is busy working for DC Comics at present, but she is still a big booster of the work (judging by comments at Millarworld), does she have any new material in the Silent Devil collection?

DE: Nicola is great. She loves these characters. She talks about them like they're as cool as any DC superhero. She's just got this great energy about her. It's really good to play off of. Gail Simone seems to pick up on that as well. I'm really glad she's making her mark at DC. Busting up the boy's club that is the comic book industry.

Nicola and David have done a "jam" style remake of Solomon's origin story for the book. I'm very proud of it, and they are as well.

TOS: Is there any chance you'll be developing new stories to be published by Silent Devil, or where do you plan on taking Halloween Man from here?

DE: I'm relaunching the site in October with new web comics, but I'd really like to do more print stuff - via Silent Devil or some other publisher. I feel like there's a huge audience for this kind of thing and it's just now taking hold in comics again. I mean, hell - I was doing zombie superheroes years before Marvel got in on the act. Horror is hot again, so I think our time is now.

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