If the combined comic book universes had their equivalent of The Onion, this would be it. The BDP can be a bit hit and miss in its humor, but when it's on, it's on. The perfect tonic for those who take their funnybooks too seriously.
Now we know Alyss fled Wonderland after the deaths of her entire family in an “off with their heads” coup by her malicious aunt Redd—Queen of all BPD. May the flag fly to her glory, et cetera, et cetera... After a harrowing escape, through the Pool of Tears, with bodyguard, Hatter Madigan she ends up on her own in Victorian England. Under the care of the Liddell family she was later exploited by Lewis Carroll in a LSD-fogged retelling of her back-story.
Until now, the world had only Carroll's version.
Last year, Frank Beddor released part 1 of Alyss' story in The Looking Glass Wars. It made the New York Times Bestseller list and earned enough to fund a new Institute for Paranormal Travel. Now with the recent release of Seeing Redd Senior Correspondent Kat Bittner welcomes the historian to the BPD offices for the inside scoop on the Institute.
Thank you for consenting to this interview, Mr. Beddor. First... what is the Hatter M Institute for Paranormal Travel?
The Hatter M Institute for Paranormal Travel is a devout assemblage of radical historians, cartographers and geographic theorists pledged to uncovering and documenting the full spectrum journey of Royal Bodyguard Hatter Madigan as he traversed our world from 1859-1872 searching for Princess Alyss of Wonderland.
Is there a museum affiliated with the Institute? Any highlights? Do they have a souvenir stand?
Tattered, annotated maps and coded journals discovered in a Victorian era trunk profiling this ‘extreme traveler’ are kept locked in the crystal archives at the Institute. The artifacts gathered here from around the world (such as Baroness Dvonna’s ‘GlowGoggles’) are considered too rare and valuable to risk public viewing without the proper security measures in place. However, plans are in the works for a traveling show of the Institute’s discoveries along with Wonderland art and other treasures of Imagination. At present, the only souvenir the Institute has to offer those deep travel enthusiasts wishing to join the search is Geo-Graphic Novel Volume 1 which went on sale September 26 in comic bookstores and through the LGW website.
How do you test for the authenticity of Wonderland artifacts?
Crystallographic analysis along with spectroscopy have both proven to be two of the Institute’s most powerful and accurate scans for authenticity.
This is not a book for fundamentalists of the Lewis Carroll version. What do you say to someone who is dubious of this version of Alyss?
What should one say to any avowed fundamentalist? Where is the FUN in fundamentalist anyway? Why have a closed mind? The universe offers a myriad of possibilities for any one position. Enjoy the possibilities of Imagination.
Where do Hatter M's blades come from? Are they like Wolverine's claws?
The origin of Hatter’s blades have been a hotly debated conundrum since our investigation first began. Theories have abounded including the wildly mad argument that Hatter’s blood contains the element alchemite which creates a crystallized metallic component that converts to the blades which are then forced out through the skin! But clearer heads have moved on and our most concrete evidence supports the theory that Hatters are taught to forge their own blades somehow utilizing the alchemite that flows through their rare bloodlines. Hatter’s blades are most definitely not anything like Wolverine’s claws since they are not attached to their physical form.
Any luck on the Institute cracking the haberdashery code?
Work continues by our resident radical cryptolinguist Sir Cook but unfortunately his attention span is that of a flea and we must continually hound him back to his desk to focus on the task at hand.
Any training manuals from the Millinery unearthed yet?
Several fascinating texts are currently in our possession. Stay tuned for revelations to come.
How were you able to translate the Wonderland alphabet? Do you have your own Bibwit hiding behind that door? I think you do!
Kudos must go to Sir Cook for that masterful piece of linguistic lateral thinking even though it took him much longer to translate than he had initially promised.
Are there any recent, unreleased translations we could take a peak at? We won’t tell a soul... Oh, my pen? It always flashes like that.
[Not to worry... Indeed.] I’m sorry but you and other fans of Alyss and the Looking Glass Wars will have to wait until November 2007 for more scintillating reveals when a fascinating volume titled ‘Princess Alyss of Wonderland’ will arrive in stores. The book is an amazing collection of the art, journals and letters of the exiled Alyss Heart created during her early years in London. British historian Agnes MacKenzie has done an outstanding job of collecting and narrating the volume and I think curious eyes everywhere will open wide at the outcome.
Are the Generals Doppel and Ganger actually twins or has General Doppelganger been diagnosed with Multiple Personality Disorder. Nothing to be ashamed of. I have the occasional blackout myself. I always seem to wake up in Tokyo—wearing plaid....
Per In Queendom Speramu the physical manifestation is described as this re: GENERALS DOPPEL & GÄNGER -- Twining Twin Commanders of the Royal Army. Two people whose natural state was inside one body. Through much of Wonderland’s history the condition was considered purely mental, a split personality, until a gifted metaphysician found a way to unravel the afflicted person into two (or more) distinct people. This clarified the problem but was an imperfect solution, because many of the twins, once disentwined, became traumatized. The breakthrough came a generation later, when a method of allowing the twins to be composite or separated, at will, according to the situation was discovered. (see The Alyssians)
(Note to Reporter: You may be an unknowing victim of this condition, which would account for what you term ‘blackouts’. Or, you may just consume alcohol in an immoderate manner.)
There have been reports that Redd was actually more of a Pink Diamond then a Queen of Hearts. Do you have proof to the contrary?
Before I go on trial with regard to Redd’s bloodlines I would ask for more than an unconfirmed ‘report’ from an anonymous source and my advice to you would be to stop hanging out in those unsavory interdimensional bars where rumors and innuendo go to anyone with the price of a cocktail. Beware of tricksters and mischief-makers wishing to distort the truth! In Queendom Speramu (an ancient Wonderland text containing history, secret rituals, and a detailed genealogical record) along with rare ‘thorny’ DNA confirm that Rose Redd was born of the matriarchal line of Wonderland Hearts endowed with the penultimate linkage to the Heart Crystal thus fueling one of the darkest and most powerful imaginations ever released through the realms. Case closed.
Is there any truth to the rumor that Alyss was the Hilton or Lohan of her time?
Another rumor? Princess Alyss Heart may have endured tragedy and even ridicule during her exile but never was it caused by her own flagrant disregard for universal law.
There’s been talk of a Princess Alyss/Dodge romance. Is there any truth there?
The word ‘romance’ cannot begin to describe the deep and authentic love that exists between Alyss and Dodge. One of the true ‘predestined’ couples of the metaphysical ages; they have sensed since childhood that they were meant to be together. However, challenges and obstacles have existed since the day Redd’s bloody coup sent Alyss into exile. Even upon her return to Wonderland forces conspired to keep them apart. Will they ever find happiness together? Will love conquer all? The answers to this and more will be found in Book 3 of the LGW trilogy, which I expect to be available early in 2009.
The Looking Glass Wars soundtrack was released last year. An album of original songs? Are they folkie anti-Redd protest songs?
The soundtrack is an album of original songs that open the aural portals connecting our world to Wonderland . Since LGW is a novel set in two dimensions and so much of the story unfolds in Wonderland it came to me that for the reader to more fully experience these characters and their world I should somehow extend the mental dimension of the page to the aural dimension to make it more sensory and emotional.
Acting on an Imaginative impulse I decided to create an ‘aural novel’ by producing a soundtrack much the same as a director would for a film. It was an abstract concept but one that I felt held a secret, locked promise if faithfully and artistically pursued. The musical landscape offered an incredible choice of talent and within a short time a number of artists were at work on their songs.
And this is where it all became strange. For as the music came together and the tracks were compiled I came to know these characters, my characters, on a much deeper level. Ultimately, I found it both shocking and exhilarating to so intimately experience the anguish and passion of the heroic, monstrous, vengeful and loving denizens of Wonderland.
What is in the stuff the caterpillars smoke and can I get me some of that?
The contents of the Caterpillars’ omnipresent hookahs is known only to these wise seers of Wonderland history past, present and future. However, if you are willing to undergo a larvae metamorphosis for a minimum of 1,000 years you may join the smoking circle of enlightenment.
What do you see as my color of the “Glow of Imagination”?
Only Wonderlanders possess the ocular enhancement necessary to detect Glow. However, by using the GlowGoggles invented by Baroness Dvonna, I may be able to detect evidence of your Glow (assuming it has not been drained by the ravages of wi-fi and other incessant techno waves).
Please schedule an appointment at the Institute the next time you are in town and we shall investigate your state of Glow.
Tell us more about Deep Travel? Does this new way of travel come with peanuts?
From the pages of the Institute’s dictionary I shall quote:
Deep Travelvb. noun. adv. adj. (2006)
A state of travel surpassing accepted geographic and mental boundaries to go ‘beyond’ what is deemed possible as in “Whoa. Where the hell am I?”
No peanuts but you might come across a tarty tart or two.
Do you sponsor tour groups? Any special packages for couples or school children? Interesting idea, however, we are too deeply immersed in discovery at this point to be involved with any form of tourism.
How about traveling through puddles? Do we get raincoats?
Those who make light of the puddles are doomed to unexpected and disorienting travel. Wonderland Proverb
Which way will get me back home from this interview faster?
Your mind is the quickest exit from turmoil. Remember, it’s all in your head...
Truly, words of great wisdom. Thanks, Mr. Beddor, for a wonderful interview—and best wishes for your next voyage through the perilous realms of Wonderland!