After an exhaustive search I was finally able to track down the ever elusive Frank Beddor; infamous writer of The Looking Glass Wars and co-creator of Hatter M. We met at a small cafe in the Mediterranean and Frank took some time out for an exclusive interview with Hero Spy concerning, Hatter M. Alyss and the stories of Wonderland.
What are The Looking Glass Wars?
The Looking Glass Wars is my trilogy of novels telling the true story of Alyss Heart and Wonderland. I named the trilogy The Looking Glass Wars because the battles occur not only in Wonderland but in our world as well with the combatant characters traveling and fleeing back and forth via the Looking Glass portals as the war, retribution and bloodshed escalate.
Can you tell me a little about yourself and how you became involved in the history of The Looking Glass Wars?
A number of years ago I was in London for the European premiere of THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY, which I had produced during my day job as a film producer in Los Angeles. I went to the British Museum and saw an exhibit of ancient cards. For instance, Napoleon hired artists to hand paint depictions of his many victories in battle. But what caught my attention, at the very end of the exhibit, was an incomplete deck of cards illuminated by an unusual glow, almost as though they were alive. I was intrigued by the exhibit and captivated by the images on the cards. This was a very, very different version of Wonderland.
For the remainder of my trip I was preoccupied with the images and told several friends, one of whom suggested I meet with an antiquities dealer he knew who specialized in collecting all sorts of ancient playing cards. The next morning, on the way to the airport, I stopped at the dealer’s shop. When I told him about the unusual exhibit, he revealed that he in fact owned the cards missing from the deck. I was stunned. He brought out this old, worn leather box filled with cards and told me the story as he flipped one card over at a time, revealing the saga of THE LOOKING GLASS WARS. It was a darker Alyss from a darker world and I knew I was meant to tell the story. Once I discovered the truth behind the deck of playing cards it soon became clear that Lewis Carroll had changed everything. I began putting all the pieces together and weaving the revelations of just how different the real Wonderland and its inhabitants were compared to the children’s lit version the world had known and accepted for nearly 150 years. Carroll’s choices in how he changed Alyss’s story were so fascinating (he even changed her name!) – the monsters and heroes of her lost world became these cheery reinventions. It was such a betrayal on Carroll’s part and was in fact, the reason for the rift that eventually occurred between the writer and his muse. For instance – the characters we know as the White Rabbit, the Red Queen, the Cheshire Cat and of course, the Mad Hatter all appear in The Looking Glass Wars as they were intended to by Alyss when she told Carroll her harrowing tale. The White Rabbit was in fact Bibwit Harte, the six foot tall albino royal tutor for all Wonderland Queens (Carroll had anagrammed his name to create the White Rabbit), while the Red Queen was in truth Alyss’s aunt Redd, the revenge maddened usurper to the throne ably assisted by her top assassin, The Cat, a man size feline who morphs from adorable kitten to giant mutant feline when called upon to kill. So you see, there is a lot of truth to be uncovered.
How did you come upon the fascinating tale of Hatter Madigan?
While I had uncovered a great deal of information regarding Hatter Madigan’s search during my ongoing investigation of the story behind the Wonderland cards, a woman named Cavalier had even more. As an astral traveler and interstellar author Cavalier’s lifelong passion of tracking the myth of a prepotent, otherworldly warrior who appeared in France in 1859 to crisscross the planet for 13 years dovetailed perfectly with my own discovery regarding the truth of Wonderland. Over time, Cavalier had collected the tattered, annotated maps and coded diaries of a truly mad traveler in search of something profound. But for her, the ultimate questions remained unanswered. Who was this man and what did he search for? With the publication and revelations of the Looking Glass Wars the mystery was finally solved. Upon reading the book she immediately contacted me and strongly suggested we meet to share what we knew. When we finally put all of our pieces together we came up with a saga far beyond either of our wildest imagination. And that’s really quite far…
What can you tell us about the Lewis Carol Society?
Just a warning – do not piss off the Lewis Carroll Society. They are real and they are seriously into Carroll’s oeuvre. Complaints and protests were raised by the LCS over the Looking Glass Wars. On a trip to London following publication I was met at Heathrow by LCS protesters chanting, “Off with Frank Beddor’s head”.
The Lewis Carol Society is a force to be reckoned with. Have you felt any backlash from this maniacal order?
So far – only grim threats.
Ben Templesmith is a very popular main stream artist. How did he become entwined in the journey of Hatter M.?.
Initially I was attracted to Ben’s use of color and how he conceptualized his characters. I’d liked what he had done in 30 days of Night and saw that he had the ability to do horror which occasionally pops up in Hatter’s fantastical journey. But it was all luck and intuition that really brought Ben to the project. Rather spontaneously I contacted him and pitched him the overall concept for Hatter M. He liked it and agreed to sign on. Since working with him I have discovered his sense of humor and this is coming out more and more. It’s not all shadows and solitude for Hatter – much of who and what he encounters is bizarre, twisted and funny. Ben’s art nails it every time.
Do you already know Hatter Madiganâ€šs complete story, or are you writing it as facts become unearthed?
I doubt we will ever know the complete story of Hatter Madigan’s circuitous, mind boggling travels but what we have gathered so far is really quite amazing. Travels to every continent, meetings with the outstanding historical figures of the era, paranormal events…we have so much and yet we still continue to discover more. Our staff cartographic chronicler and radical historian is constantly fact checking and researching sightings that parallel recorded history. Hatter Madigan’s time in our world is a very good example of deep history – how deep – we may never know.
I have heard that Hollywood has become interested in making a film about Alyss and Wonderland. What can you tell us about that?
I have a script and am talking to directors.
Who would you like to play “Alyss” in the film?
Somewhere in the world “Alyss” waits and much like Hatter Madigan I plan to crisscross the globe in a worldwide search to find her. But instead of returning her to Wonderland, I will cast her in the role of Princess Alyss Heart.
Last question: knowing what you know must make you a tremendous threat to some. There are certainly dark forces at work here. Have you taken any precautions to assure Hatter M. and Alyssâ€šs story will be told to completion?
I employ a fulltime food taster and avoid public transportation. But even if certain forces were able to silence me, I hope everyone who cares to know the truth will remember…it’s all in the cards.
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