Koom Kankesan: "I was really thrilled to meet Eddie Campbell. He’s a unique and interesting talent. I don’t know that there’s anybody else that can quite do what he does with his Alec material. And of course… From Hell has remained my favourite graphic novel for a long time now – it is a remarkable achievement. In person, Eddie is charming and lively. He has a beautiful Steranko-like shock of white hair and is even more dapper than his semi-autobiographical renderings, if you can believe it. He’s a bit of a joker and I’ve told him a few times how much I love From Hell. So, when he replied that he’s in the process of colouring it, I wanted to do one of those cartoon things where the character is floored and his feet angle up into the air beside an exhaust of air.
I’ve always thought of the black and white renderings as unique to From Hell. I had assumed that the fine line work and the moody atmosphere evoking London Victoriana were rendered that way on purpose, as if in imitation of engravings or illustrations in Victorian tabloid newspapers. Eddie found this observation interesting but I don’t think he agreed. I objected that colouring it would ruin the feel of the work and I think I might have been so passionate in my initial views that it perhaps even made him wince. Lovable and charming as Eddie is, the last thing you want to do is make him wince. He showed me some of the coloured pages on his laptop and the colours were lovely – he’s always had a great facility for paint and colour – but it did change the mood and atmosphere of some of the scenes. I said it’s like colourizing black and white films and asked him which he preferred – the black and white version of ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ or the colourized version. He said that he hadn’t seen the colourized version of that film but he had seen the colourized version of ‘Key Largo’ and quite enjoyed it. I mentioned Apocalypse Now and Apocalypse Now Redux. Those were the kinds of reservations I had.
Eddie also said he wanted to fix the continuity. I was trying to figure out what that meant because I couldn’t really remember any continuity problems in the plot or writing. He grabbed my collected edition of From Hell and flipped to the early, quite remarkable chapter where Netley and Gull are driving around London and Gull discourses on all the historical resonance. He pointed out that the chapter takes place in August and therefore it made no sense for Netley to wear a scarf. He also pointed out that they were atop a very elaborate coach, one that was more like a limousine, and would thus draw a lot of attention. Later on in the book, I think they’re on a hansom cab instead. He also pointed out a panel with a church where the perspective of the foreground and background don’t match. These were the things he wanted to address: more of an issue of accuracy and fidelity rather than continuity. Please see the following photos: