IDW Brings the Burton for Kate Leth's "Edward Scissorhands"

This October, IDW Publishing brings back one of Tim Burton's most unusual creations just in time for Halloween with "Edward Scisscorhands," a 4-issue miniseries by "Fraggle Rock" writer Kate Leth and artist Drew Rausch. "Edward Scissorhands" picks up Edward's struggles with the suburbs many years after the close of the film.

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CBR News caught up with Leth to discuss how her story picks up years after the events of the film, her early obsession with Tim Burton, and details about the strange new creature stalking Edward.

CBR News: Kate, Kim says she never saw Edward again in the closing moments of the film, so where does your book come in?

Kate Leth: My book picks up with the granddaughter that Kim's talking to at the end of the movie. It's moved forward in time a little bit so she's older and in her teens now. At this point, the legend of Edward Scissorhands has become more of a myth. Everything that's happened has become obscured. So she's grown up and some interesting, weird things start happening in town that causes her to reconnect with Edward, who's been living secretly up in the castle on the hill.

Is Kim in the book then?

No, she has passed away at this point. We've got an almost entirely new cast. A whole new set of people. Her granddaughter and her daughter. It's a new story, just set in the same universe.

And Edward's just been sitting in the attic all these decades twiddling his scissors?

Yeah, he's been hiding. He's gone into seclusion after everything that's happened and somehow become even less socially capable. Sort of the way he was before the movie started. He got exposed to the world in a harsh and very quick way in the movie and after everything he sort of reverts into himself. The way you would in a traumatic situation. He has very fond memories of Kim, obviously, and he holds on to that. He's kept track of the world, he reads the newspaper, but other than that he's faded into obscurity.

In the solicitations for the first issue, there's a mention of a creature who gets awakened. Can you tell us more about this new creature?

When we were first talking about concepts for ["Edward Scissorhands"] we really didn't want to rehash the movie and do something that felt like an unnecessary sequel. So we thought that if the inventor in the movie created Edward, what other things might he have invented? We don't see a lot of that in the movie. So this creature is an abandoned prototype before the inventor got to Edward. There's something very not right about him though, so the inventor cancels the project, puts him in a closet and moves on to better things. Like Edward. [When our story begins,] Edward has been alone for a very long time and starts peeking around the castle and finds the creature and wakes him up.

Is it another blade-based creature like Edward?

He's a little bit different. He's unfinished in different ways. I don't want to give too much away but he's not inhibited in the same way Edward is, since Edward has blades for hands. This creature has functional hands. It's more the inside of him that's not right. He's smaller. More child-sized. I'm excited for everyone to see him!

How did you get involved with "Edward Scissorhands?"

The way anybody gets involved with these things -- I got an e-mail from Chris Ryall at IDW last year asking what I knew about "Edward Scissorhands." They had wanted to work with me, I had done a few little things for them so we talked back and forth. I pitched them a few ideas that were very, very lengthy and involved. It sat for a while in development hell, as these things do, then one day I got a note that things were coming together and moving forward.

So Chris called you up and asked you what you knew about "Edward Scissorhands." How did you answer?

That I had grown up obsessed with Tim Burton, basically. [Laughs] When I was 14, 15, 16, I was wearing "Edward Scissorhands" and "Nightmare before Christmas" stuff. I saw "Sleepy Hollow" a dozen times. I am definitely a Tim Burton fan. I had seen "Edward Scissorhands" enough times to know it by heart. That's exciting. To work on something you feel like you really get.

As a fan, where would you rank "Edward Scissorhands" among Tim Burton's works?

In terms of my favorites it's probably at the top. I'm a huge "Nightmare before Christmas" fan, but that was also Henry Selick. I'm a really big fan of "Sleepy Hollow." I love "Big Fish," too, which is a bit different. There's a really cool era of early-Burton stuff like "Ed Wood" that I'm a big fan of.

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How would you describe Burton's style and how will you be translating that to the comic page?

The surface stuff is all the spooky spirals and stuff. That 'no right angles' thing. I think a lot of "Edward Scissorhands" was about the suburban world that Burton grew up in feeling like an outcast. I feel like there's no way it's not at least a little autobiographical from that standpoint. I always liked that. Because when you're an awkward Goth teen there's nothing better. We're tapping into that same kind of feeling of being ostracized and a little bit outside. Our main character is a wallflower. She's not as outgoing as Winona Ryder's character. It's really focusing on taping into a deeper kind of heart than just the surface. That's what drew me into "Edward Scissorhands." There's a lot of heart. There's something deeper. And I hope that comes across.

So is it safe to say you were a Goth teen yourself?

Oh yeah. [Laughs] I was such a Goth teen. I probably at one point had seven "Nightmare Before Christmas" shirts and I just wore them in rotation.

What's it like working with artist Drew Rausch?

He's got a really cool style and very much in the same look I am. The way he draws Edward is perfect. It's fun and cartoony and fits somewhere between the very polished look of the movie and the "Beetlejuice" cartoon. It's a little more fun and playful but not full on cartoony. It's going to make it a little more appealing to younger readers, which is cool because we definitely want this to be something that adolescents are going to want to read.

"Edward Scissorhands" by Kate Leth and Drew Rausch is out this October from IDW Publishing.

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