Deciphering the 'Eldritch Code' with Glen Cadigan

The is Comic Creators Speak, where I feature guest essays by or interviews with comic creators that I admire - BC

You might recall Glen Cadigan from a lot of his great work for TwoMorrows Publishing. I know I've cited his work many times over the years in Comic Book Legends Revealed. Well, he's been doing more fiction writing the last few years, and one of his stories was recently adapted into the acclaimed short horror film, The Eldritch Code, by director Ivan Radovic.

I talked with Glen about the journey that he had gone on with this story. After that, you can watch the film right here in this very article!

Brian Cronin: How did the original story come about?

Glen Cadigan: Years ago I used to do books on comics history for TwoMorrows Publishing. I interviewed literally dozens of pros for them, and one of those pros was Mark Waid. Shortly thereafter, he left freelancing to take an editorial position at BOOM! Studios. One of the titles under his aegis was Cthulhu Tales.

Mark did an interview at the time in which he stated that he went into editorial to pass on what he had learned as a freelancer to the next generation of writers. I knew that he was familiar with my work, and I had his email address, so I took a shot and contacted him to see if he was serious.

Turns out, he was. So he let me pitch, and I sent him springboards for two potential stories. He passed on the first, but liked the second one about a computer virus called Cthulhu. That ultimately became "One Of Those Days."

Were you already a Lovecraft fan?

GC: True confession time: I was not up on my Lovecraft. I knew the gist of it, but I was not a devoted fan. That's why the story happened in the first place -- I just thought, "What kind of name is Cthulhu? It sounds like a computer virus." And lo and behold, a story was born.

What do you remember about the experience?

GC: I remember everything! It was my first sale, so it's emblazoned in my brain. I was finally on the other side of the fence after looking through the pickets for years. A couple of weeks later, I got a PDF in my inbox with the whole story done, minus the colors. It felt lightning quick. I had no basis for comparison, but I was pretty sure things didn't usually happen that fast.

What was it like working with an editor whose work you'd followed?

GC: It was great! And a little surreal. He didn't change anything, which is my favorite kind of editor. My only previous experience working with an editor before that was with Roy Thomas on Alter Ego, and he had a light touch, too. Neither one of them lacked for credentials, so I was okay with whatever they decided. Both times I considered myself fortunate to be in the hands of pros who had walked the walk, and then some.

How did the movie come about?

GC: Years pass. One day, Ivan Radovic reaches out to me on Twitter, saying he wants to turn it into a movie. A total bolt from the blue.

I looked him up, and he turned out to be legit. He had previously done a short film called The Tunnel, which was professional by any standard. So I didn't have a problem with it, only the story was work-for-hire. BOOM! owned the rights.

I did the only thing I could think of to do: I reached out to Mark Waid again and asked him if there was any way he could contact someone at BOOM! to let them know that this was a legitimate offer.

He said sure, to give him a week, then check back in. A week passes, I reach out again, and the next day BOOM! gets back to Ivan. I believe in coincidences, but I don't think that was one of them.

So Ivan got permission, then spent as long as it took to get it right. There are a lot of visual effects in the movie, and that sort of thing takes time to do properly. Eldritch Code had its debut in Stockholm in May, 2017, then spent the next year touring the world, beginning with its first festival stop in Mumbai, India. Thirty plus festivals later, fourteen countries and four continents down, Eldritch Code is now online for everyone to see.

What appealed to the director about the story?

GC: To put it in his own words, "I've always been a H.P. Lovecraft fan, and I just randomly stumbled across Cthulhu Tales. During that period of time, I was looking for a story to make into a simple 5-10 min short film. And when I read 'One Of Those Days,' I thought, wow, this is great and doable. Not so many characters, office space (I had access to), this I could pull off easy.

"But as soon as I started the production it escalated. I was not happy with the look of the office, I wanted a special look. Same thing with the portal scene, I just wanted to do something more visual. And going from the original concept of fast and easy, it became the opposite. But I love it and am proud of the film."

What has the response to the movie been like?

GC: Overwhelmingly positive. It won a couple of awards when it was on its tour (Best Actor, Best VFX), and the feedback since it went online has been great. It was a real labor of love, and I think people pick up on that.

What was it like seeing something you wrote be adapted into a movie?

GC: Weird, cool, and fun, in that order. I know a lot of writers aspire to have their work adapted, but when I wrote that original story, nothing could've been further from my mind. I was just trying to break into comics, and the thought that someone in Sweden would later read what I'd written and want to turn it into a short film was beyond my imagination.

What's next for you?

GC: I have a short story collection out called Top of the World: Tales of Mystery, Suspense, and Adventure, which anyone can find on Amazon. It's about climbing Mt. Everest in a post-apocalyptic zombie world, a heavy metal band that tries to summon Harry Houdini as part of their show, a quantum physicist who attempts to find the actual path to Heaven using science, a soldier with PTSD who sees ghosts during the night shift in an office building, time travel, voodoo, and a turf war between two clown unions. Past that, I'm open to offers!

Anything else?

GC: Just thanks to Ivan for making it, and thanks to Mark Waid for going the extra mile. He wasn't even working at BOOM! when the possibility of turning "One Of Those Days" into a movie came up, so he wasn't obligated to do anything. And if he hadn't bought the original story in the first place, it wouldn't exist in any way, shape, or form, let alone two of them, so he's the unsung hero of this.

Check out the film here...

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