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A Good Weird – Drew Edwards Talks Halloween Man: Beyond October

Interview conducted by James Ferguson

Halloween Man is turning 20 this year, although he doesn't look it. The misunderstood monster with the power of the horror movie sequel has an undead face, a skeleton hand, and a heart of gold. To celebrate this monumental milestone, creator Drew Edwards has released Halloween Man: Beyond October, a 71 page jam issue featuring a variety of artists and telling the next phase of the hero's journey. I caught up with Drew about the project, the character, and its legacy.

Celebrate 20 years of one of underground comics’ most enduring characters, Halloween Man! This special jam issue features a mixture of alternative and mainstream artists, topped off with a real stunner of a cover by DC/Image superstar, Nicola Scott! Revelations abound as a frosty Halloween night is invaded by folkloric Yuletide monsters. Frau Perchta, the Christmas Witch, wants to sink her claws into Halloween, but first she must rob Halloween Man of his supernatural powers.

Also in this issue, a long lost webcomic has been dusted off and spruced up for this anniversary extravaganza. Follow everyone’s favorite necromancer Morlack as he explores the early days of Halloween Man. All of this plus a special pin-up gallery section filled with jaw-dropping art! Join us for endings and beginnings in an issue that will delight old fans and inspire new ones.

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James Ferguson: How does it feel to celebrate twenty years of Halloween Man? That is quite an accomplishment in any industry, let alone comics.

Drew Edwards: Weird to be honest. A good weird, but still weird, nonetheless. I haven’t led what many would call a normal life and I suppose this a good example of that. While many of my friends were off starting families and getting 9 to 5 jobs, I was still doing this crazy indie comic about monsters. I reckon that I was always expecting there to be some point in which my brain would click over to something more normal. But yet, here I am. If Halloween Man was a child, he’d be college-aged now. Which isn’t to say I’m not proud. I’m extremely proud. A lot of indie comics don’t last a year and here I am, still reaching for new creative heights after two decades. I feel very lucky that there is still interest in this kooky cast of characters I’ve dreamed up.

JF: Halloween Man grew out of a personal event in your life. After twenty years, how have your feelings about the character changed, it at all?

DE: I’m very glad you asked this question, because it’s something I’m trying to become more open about. Halloween Man in its original webcomic evolved as a sort of coping device after my twin was killed in a car accident when I was in my early 20’s. I was driving and I had terrible depression and survivor’s guilt to the point of feeling suicidal at times. I still struggle with mental illness, though I hate that term, specifically Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Dissociative Identity Disorder. My journey with the character has been one of trying to work through my own feelings, monstrousness, and otherness. Despite the humor of the comic, there’s a lot of anger and grief tied up in it. But currently I’m trying to push the character towards a place of acceptance of being different which is reflected in the writing. For example, in the Bat City Special, we put Solomon into therapy, an idea we will return to in the future. But it’s also going to be reflected visually. Longtime readers will start to note that Solomon will, more and more, be seen without his hair in his face. He’s started to comb it back because he’s becoming more at peace with his scars, even if he won’t admit it verbally.

This was in part because of some great new character designs from Jason Wilson and Andrea Montano. But also partly because I needed Solomon to grow in this direction for my own healing. We each need to stop seeing ourselves as ugly and embrace being unique.

Also, it’s been 20 years. It's about time he discovered a brush.

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JF: Beyond October is described as a “jam issue” with a number of artists contributing work to the book. How did this team come together?

DE: Well, some like Nicola Scott and Sergio Calvet were artists that had a clear, long history with the characters and I knew I wanted them back for specific things. I am grateful that Nicola made time in her busy schedule to produce a beautiful cover for us. And Sergio, who has drawn more pages of Halloween Man than anyone else, came back for some very special pages and he just knocked it out of the park. Others like Max Young, I knew from conventions and hadn’t had a chance to work with yet. But most were collaborators I’ve worked with a lot over the last few years and I knew they’d bring a certain energy to specific scenes. A really good example of this would be Evan Quiring, who also did the first Lucy Chaplin special. His pages kind of act as a mini-Lucy adventure, so he seemed a natural fit for those pages.

The end result is kind of a crazy quilt of a comic with all kinds of art styles and I love it. It’s a great representation of the comic, because we’ve never stuck to one house style. You have someone like John Gholson who has a very clean style and someone like John Sowder, who has an edgier, more underground vibe. I love seeing it all fit together.

JF: If Halloween Man can meet one classic movie villain, who would it be?

DE: Excluding public domain characters like Dracula, my first thought is Pinhead and the Cenobites. While it might not seem like a perfect fit, I do actually have an idea for it that I think would work wonderfully. Plus, the fact that the Hellraiser franchise actually has had fairly solid presence in comics helps a lot. I think stately Pinhead would make for a solid foil for the blue collar Solomon.

JF: After everything he's been through over his storied life, what else could possibly
be next for Halloween Man?

DE: There's a lot of status quo that changed in the anniversary issue, so I don't want to give too much away. But I will say this, the threats are going to start growing in size and Halloween Man's universe is about to greatly expand. It's going to be more than just simple "monster of the week" style stories. The first story arc directly after the anniversary issue is a good example of that. It's called "Entropy" and it's one we've been actually teasing for years.

Horror DNA would like to thank Drew Edwards for taking the time to speak with us. Halloween Man: Beyond October is available now on ComiXology.

About The Author
James Ferguson
Lord of the Funny Books
James has a 2nd grade reading level and, as a result, only reads books with pictures. Horror is his 5th favorite genre right after romantic comedy and just before silent films. No one knows why he's here, but he won't leave.
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