The first time you meet Edward Hyde in Alan Moore’s The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is a scene of terrifying action. As you can see from the panel below, Mr. Hyde bursts onto the page, shirt torn to shreds wielding a bloody cane. To be honest, when I turned to this page for the first time, I burst out laughing. I know what you’re thinking: “What kind of sick human being are you?” (or something to that effect). Let me clarify. I was not laughing at the scene taking place in the frame, but rather in the ridiculous manner in which Mr. Hyde is displayed.
I read Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde less than a year ago, and I assure you nowhere in the novel is Edward Hyde described as an enormous hulking monster. Instead, this is the description found within Stevenson’s original work: “Mr. Hyde was pale and dwarfish, he gave an impression of deformity without any nameable malformation, he had a displeasing smile, he had borne himself to the lawyer with a sort of murderous mixture of timidity and boldness, and he spoke with a husky, whispering and somewhat broken voice.” Now take another look at the scene below and see how the portrayals match up. The small, timid, pale figure with a weak voice is nowhere to be found, replaced instead by a massive monkey-like animal bellowing at the top of its lungs. I know Alan Moore wanted to make his work as exciting as possible, but come on, can you see why I was laughing now?