With Dark Horse’s latest Star Wars series Rebel Heist set to hit stores everywhere on Wednesday 30th April, we were fortunate enough to be able to have a chat with the writer Matt Kindt about what to expect from the series. Oh, and since we had his attention, we couldn’t help but throw in a few questions about his stellar creator-owned title Mind MGMT too, just for good measure.
Big Comic Page: Thanks for taking time to chat with us, Matt. First off, I should probably ask how your busy schedule is going, since you seemed to be pretty much everywhere (Dark Horse, Marvel, DC, Valiant, etc.) during the latter part of 2013.
Matt Kindt: Much better. DC was super-great about letting me have some time off and get a chance to catch my breath. I’m ramping up for the final year of MIND MGMT so I really needed some extra time to prepare for that and just have some down time. I’d been working so much over the last year that I had no time to read or watch movies or anything — which is how I usually recharge my batteries and get my mind going…and not having that time was really wearing me out. So I’m normalizing now…and will probably ramp it up again this summer/fall.
BCP: As most of our readers will no doubt know, you’re responsible for the writing, penciling, inking, coloring, lettering — basically every aspect of the creation of each issue of Mind MGMT. Is that level of control important to you, and do you ever regret not bringing in someone else to handle the art duties to help ease the workload?
MK: I definitely don’t regret it. I honestly hate lettering, but I’m constantly writing and re-writing through the entire process so I’m probably saving a letterer somewhere from pulling their hair out and cursing my name with all the last minute changes and ideas. And honestly, I’m kind of excited to make some comic book history — first and only color monthly comic done by one dude…and when this one is done I have another series set up and ready to go so I guess I’m not sick of doing it all. I honestly love it. Doing each step is actually a nice break from the previous step so I never really get burned out on any one part of it.
BCP: Mind MGMT is currently in its fourth six-issue story arc. What prompted you to break the 36-issue series up into smaller chunks like this?
MK: I really don’t think it’s broken up so much as there’s small breathing spaces between “chapters.” To me it’s one long story — a full length novel in comic form and they’re just natural chapter breaks really. A way to re-set or catch your breath and dive in again. And I’m finding that 5 issues is a little more natural with a 1-issue semi-stand-alone style issue as a bumper is a good flow for the story. It’s been a kind of organic process in that way.
BCP: With Mind MGMT, you’ve also made the interesting choice of including ‘bonus content’ in the single issues that won’t be available in any collected editions. What was the thinking behind that decision?
MK: Initially I was really worried that it wouldn’t sell well enough to sustain itself — so I thought if I could inspire people to buy the actual issues as they came out, it might get to keep going. If everyone had waited for that first trade instead of buying the first 6 issues, it would have been canceled before the trade came out. That was just the hard math of doing an on-going series. And I stopped buying monthly books a long time ago with a lot of readers — so I wanted to figure out a way to make me not a hypocrite. What would it take to make me buy a monthly comic again. So I put things in it and designed it in a way that would inspire me to go into the shop at least once a month…
BCP: And finally, do you have any sort of update on the status of the Mind MGMT movie adaptation?
MK: Not much. We’ve got a great screenwriter (David James Kelly) who really gets the book and the idea and isn’t trying to make it something it’s not. He’s finishing up the new Wolverine movie screenplay and then he’s jumping on MIND MGMT.
BCP: On a related note, you’ve also previously had your ‘3 Story: The Secret History of the Giant Man’ graphic novel picked up for a movie adaptation, so I thought it’d be interesting to ask your thoughts on the increased trend of ‘Hollywood’ looking to the comicbook world for movie ideas. Do you see it as a positive move, or do you think it will lead to more people simply trying to use (or abuse) the comic medium as an ‘easy’ way to pitch screenplays?
MK: It’s definitely a positive all the way around. I see screenwriters coming in and using comics to get movies made as well, but for me personally, I think it’s fantastic. All the movie money just makes is possible for me to focus solely on comics. It makes it a viable way to make a comfortable living. A lot more people watch movies than read comics — so if that brings more readers to comics, that’s great — and if it lets creators keep making comics, then even better. To me it’s all win-win.
BCP: Now, moving on to your upcoming ‘Rebel Heist’ series for Dark Horse. Am I right in saying that you actually turned the prospect of a Star Wars miniseries down initially due to your busy schedule? That must have been a tough decision for a self-professed lifelong Star Wars fan.
MK: It was a combination of me being too busy but also not wanting to mess with the Star Wars universe. I’m a FAN of Star Wars. It’s the first movie I remember seeing at the theatre and so there’s a lot of nostalgia and childhood memories wrapped up in it. So I didn’t want to risk Star Wars becoming a “job” or something and then me kind of hating it because of all the continuity and headaches that can bring. I wanted to just be a fan, you know? But then the next day I was thinking about it in the shower (where ideas come from) and I figure out a story I could tell and a way I could tell it that would let me be a fan, stay a fan, and tell an interesting story. It was all about point of view — so the story is written from 4 different “civilian” every-man characters as they deal with the four main guys — Luke, Leia, Chewie, and Han — so in a way I just put myself in the role of the narrator and got to see what it would be like to tag along with my childhood heroes.
BCP: For those who may not be familiar with the premise of ‘Rebel Heist’, could you give us a brief summary of just what it’s all about?
MK: Well, other than the stuff I said above — we get one issue focus on each individual character and then they all tie together in the final issue. So we get a young rebel recruit hanging out with Han (and realizing how dangerous being Han’s side-kick can be) — then a spy that is forced to work with Leia, and then an ex-Stormtrooper that has to help Chewie…and then Luke at the end tying the separate missions together.
BCP: How has it been working with Dark Horse Star Wars veteran artist Marco Castiello?
MK: So easy. I was worried about the continuity and all the baggage that can come with a big property but the way it worked was effortless. I think the worst hurdle was me not understanding how the hyper drive works…which my editor explained to me and that was probably the biggest fix I had to make. And honestly, it was kind of fun to realize that there is an actual pseudo-science to how the hyper drives operate. Cracked me up. And Marco was fantastic – he can draw it all and the stuff looks fantastic!
BCP: With Rebel Heist, you’re going to have the opportunity to write for pretty much all of the iconic Star Wars characters. It’s probably worth asking — who’s your favourite, both as a writer and as a fanboy?
MK: Well, there’s a reason I pitched a story with all of them in it — because they’re all great in their way. But my favorite of all time has always been Boba Fett. I think it started when the big 12 inch Boba toy came out back in the 80s. He had articulated arms and legs – different than the other 12 inch figures so as I kid I loved that. And he looked cool. But the toy made him my favorite. And then in the last 10 years or so he kind of blew up and became this crazy cult favorite. So weird. There’s a picture of me with my family in the paper in the early 80s — when we moved into town they put our picture in the paper — and I’m holding that Boba Fett in the photo – I loved it so much — he was part of the family. So that said, my first instinct when asked to do a Star Wars story was to do a Boba Fett tale…but I immediately rejected that idea. Some things I still just want to be a fan of.
BCP: What prompted the decision to set your story during the original trilogy, rather than outside of the existing continuity?
MK: Again that’s the stuff I grew up with and the thing I know best so I just felt comfortable doing that. That era of Star Wars is just burned into my psyche so if I was going to do anything Star Wars related…it had to be that.
BCP: Thanks for taking the time to talk with us, Matt. We definitely can’t wait to get our grubby little paws on Rebel Heist next week.
Interview by: Craig Neilson (aka Ceej)
Article Archive: Ceej Says