The past year has been a busy one for Matt Kindt, ever since his Dark Horse Comics series “Mind MGMT” debuted to widespread praise. Beyond writing and drawing that book, he’s also working on tie-ins for both Marvel’s “Infinity” event and DC Comics’ “Forever Evil,” along with “Unity” at Valiant Entertainment and more (like joining “Suicide Squad” as the new series writer). He took some time during Comic-Con International in San Diego to talk to CBR TV about his how he learned to re-love monthly comics, how his current schedule is even possible and his role in the potential “Mind MGMT” film adaptation.
On his gradual rise to fame since the debut of his 2001 graphic novel “Pistol Whipped”: It took me like a year to do a graphic novel. I would do a book, and then a year later, I would have another book out, but a whole year’s gone by. The industry moves so fast, and people are just waiting for the next thing. As soon as my book comes out, people are like, “What’s next? When’s the next one coming out?” “Well, it just took me a year to do that one, so it’s going to be a little while before I do the next one.” I plugged away. I probably averaged a graphic novel a year since 2001, but the thing was, you just disappear for a year. A book comes out, and it’s great, and people like it, and then it’s like, “Well, what’s next?”
“Mind MGMT” was sort of a revelation for me. “Oh, monthly books is the way to do it.” I get to tell a little bit of a story every month, people are seeing it every month. If people ask, “When’s the next thing coming out?” I can just say, “Next month it’s coming out.” I sort of re-fell in love with monthly comics again after like 10 years of doing graphic novels. This is why monthlies are fun — you get to tease things out longer. I often make that analogy of when you watch a TV show every week, like “Lost” or something, when you spend like six years of your life watching this thing, you have a different relationship with that than you do if you just buy all the DVDs and then watch them all in three days. There’s an emotional attachment you can get with monthly books where people are spending years of their lives following these characters. By three, four years in, that character they feel a lot differently about, rather than a book that comes out, and you read it in two hours and you’re done. There’s not as much contact or a connection with the characters, I think.
On his increasingly busy schedule at a variety of publishers, and whether it’s a case of him being genuinely super-busy or having a lot of material in the can that happens to be coming out at the same time: The answer’s both of those things. I’m super-busy, but also “Marvel Knights: Spider-Man” has been done for a while. Marco Rudy’s doing the art on it, and it’s amazing, but it takes him a while, so we got a lead on that, so he could just put everything he had into it. That’s been done for a while, and all of the Villain issues have been done for a while. A lot of the work with writing is getting plots approved and the outlines done. Once that’s done, then I’ve thought about that already so much, what’s going to happen issue to issue, that actually sitting down and writing the script is almost like typing at that point. I already know what’s happening, I’ve just got to type it out. With the rest of the stuff that’s not done, that’s kind of where that’s at.
Somebody asked me, because “Mind MGMT” comes out every month, and then I had a new graphic novel, “Red Handed,” that came out the same month as the collection of “Mind MGMT,” “How do you do the graphic novel and…?” I didn’t. “Red Handed: I finished right before “Mind MGMT” started. That’s how it happens. It ended up all coming out at the same time. I can’t write seven monthly books, I promise you. [Laughs]
On the turning point that led to his current work at Marvel and DC Comics: I think it was “Mind MGMT.” It’s the first monthly book I’d ever done. It’s funny, because you think, “Well, all the editors at Marvel, all they do is read Marvel stuff, that’s all they care about, and the same with DC.” But that’s not true. They are fans of comics, so they’re reading everything. So they’ve read all of my books already by the time I talk to them, and I’m like, “I’d like to write a monthly.” So they’ve already known me, which is kind of awesome. “Mind MGMT” was the first thing where it’s like, “Here’s how I would do a monthly. Here’s how it’s paced, and here are the characters, and how it’s introduced and how it all works as a monthly book.” I think when editors start seeing that — I’m guessing here, no one’s ever told me this — I felt like it’s, “Oh, well, this guy can do monthly books.” It seemed like that sort of opened a lot of doors.
On the current status of the in-development “Mind MGMT” film adaptation, which was optioned by Fox earlier this year: It’s a series of conference calls where I tell them basically the beginning, the middle and the end and send them an outline and everything. I have a definite ending to the whole series, so I want to make sure that they know all of that going forward, because I don’t want them to do something with the movie that makes no sense compared to what I’m doing with the book. Who knows? It’s hurry up and wait, and then hurry up some more, and then wait some more.