Matt Kindt is a wonderful genius. He is a hero you should meet, and his work is something you should experience. Mind MGMT is his current monthly creator-owned work, published by Dark Horse Comics. It also happens to be my favorite story (of all time), and the focus of this interview.
And while I have interviewed him in the past, the following discussion took place on Day 3 of Emerald City Comicon 2014, all for our very own, Unleash The Fanboy!
Matt Kindt: The first book that was published was Pistolwhip back in 2001.
UTF: I have read that and enjoyed it. In fact, I have read almost everything that you have created. If I haven’t, shame on me. If you haven’t, shame on you. Anyway, we’re really here to talk about Mind MGMT. It’s the book I review for Unleash the Fanboy, and have been reviewing since issue nine. And I had a couple questions for you…Before Mind MGMT issue one was published, how many issues did you have completed as a buffer?
Matt Kindt: The first six issues were complete. It was one of those things where I had asked Dark Horse…I want to do thirty-six issues, what do the numbers need to be for that to continue? They told me. Going in I knew I wouldn’t know until issue three if it was selling well enough to keep going, so what I did is, created an ending. There was an issue six ending. If sales weren’t great on issue three, I could wind it up and it would look like I meant to do a limited series. I had an alternate that would sort of chop it off at issue six. It would not have been ideal. I didn’t like the idea because it felt like it was all or nothing. And I didn’t want to do it, all or nothing.
At the same time there was the reality of if it doesn’t sell I don’t want to have a canceled series that’s in the middle of a story. And at first, I simply penciled issue six, but didn’t ink it all. I waited until issue three was published, to decide if and what I should ink. Then, for issue three, they were like, “You’re fine. We are good. We are golden for the length of the series.” So there was a big, “Thank goodness,” and I went with my original plan. And with that, the alternate ending of the series in issue six doesn’t exist. No one will ever see it except on the last page of issue six – If you look close, there are some blue lines, you can just barely see, and the page is a little crooked. I put the ending page underneath the last page in issue six that got printed, as sort of an alternate…it is almost as if reality had split there, ended, and then it split the “right way” – Which is a good!
UTF: That’s a great little easter egg to look for. I did not know that, so I’m going to go look. Now, issue twenty was just published this week [March 25th, 2014]. You have sixteen issues left, right? How many issues do you like to stay ahead? In fact, what is done right now that could be published immediately?
Matt Kindt: I do everything in stages, so I’m actually…I have an outline for the whole series. Then what I do is – I write in six issue chunks. I’ll actually sit down and script all the dialogue and the panel descriptions six issues at a time. Right now I’m at the end of this six issue chunk, and so I’m about to write the next six issues. Then what I do is – Every month I’m penciling, inking, coloring, or whatever. I’m probably like one issue ahead as far as like completed book, but I’m about six months ahead on scripts.
UTF: How many covers do you have completed?
Matt Kindt: Man, those covers, they’re always hassling me about the covers since they have to be done so early for solicitation…yeah. We just finished issue twenty-five cover.
UTF: That’s a unique one because you’re not using…it’s not pen and ink on the page, right?
Matt Kindt: Yeah, my wife’s helping me on that one. She actually did like ninety percent of the work. I did about maybe thirty minutes’ worth of work on it, and she spent like three solid days trying to finish it.
UTF: It’s a great arts and craft project!
Matt Kindt: Right, right. It was great because she had done this other piece that was sort of semi-sculptural and it was really neat. Then when I saw it, I got an idea for a cover for Mind MGMT. I was like, “Let’s do this when the time is right.” I wasn’t sure which issue it was going to be, but rather what conceptually which issue it would go with…and it just happened that I was planning out the covers for the end of the series because I’m getting so close. I have a plan for the last six issues covers, so there’s only a few covers that it would work.
Then I realized that it has to be the cover that’s due this week! It was like, “Can you get this done in like two days?” She’s like, “I don’t think so.” I’m like, “Come on. Let’s do it.” She did a great job! She worked like…it ended up being like three days. Dark Horse gave us a little leeway, but we got it done in time.
UTF: With all the books you create each month, is the priority always the same? Do you always do Mind MGMT first?
Matt Kindt: Yeah, I do, only because everything else is writing only. The writing I can do…I can do that at night. I can do it out and about, if I need to go out and do it. Then with Mind MGMT, a lot of it is more labor intensive – like there’s puzzles and things I have to figure out. It’s just more complex. And then the art aspect of it means I’ve got to be at my table most of the time. I definitely make sure I get that done while I have the energy to get up and go to the studio and draw. If I’m tired at the end of the day, I don’t feel like sitting at the table and drawing. I don’t mind sitting in my La-Z-Boy and scripting a script. That seems like a little vacation!
UTF: How many hours of the day would you say you work when you’re just working on Mind MGMT?
Matt Kindt: My normal schedule…well, we have a ten-year-old daughter. She goes to school at eight, so usually I work eight to three, then go pick her up at three. I try to take off from three until eight or nine o’clock when she goes to bed. Then if I still need to work, I’ll work from then until midnight, like nine to midnight or something. Sometimes I’ll try to sneak in a couple extra hours until dinner time, and then we’ll do something fun after dinner. It depends. I try to stay ahead and keep some balance. Over the summer I was doing so much writing, I was working nights and weekends, so I’m trying to scale back a little bit so I don’t have to do that.
UTF: Last question, a two-parter I guess; Dark Horse Presents 31, you had a six-page or eight-page story in that book?
Matt Kindt: Eight pages, yeah.
UTF: Can we look forward to another one of those?
Matt Kindt: Yeah, we’ll do that again. I think it is like…I sort of take December off. Mind MGMT doesn’t come out in December, but my editor was like, “Why don’t you take a month off,” so I don’t go crazy. I was like, “No, I don’t want to.” I want something every month to come out that’s new, so I started doing those eight-page stories for Dark Horse Presents, which means that there is something Mind MGMT coming out that month, but it’s eight pages instead of twenty-four and a cover. It is a little bit of a break. I think it gives me a chance to toy with an idea – A bigger idea than like a two-page idea or a one-page inside cover. I’ve gotten my wife Sharlene to collaborate. She painted the last one. It was kind of like the first time we had worked together. It was fun to experiment with that, and it’s a nice outlet for extra stories!
UTF: Awesome. If people are interested and don’t know about it or haven’t read any of my reviews, what is your one-liner for, “What is Mind MGMT?”
Matt Kindt: “Spies with mind powers.” My favorite things put together.
UTF: I just love that. I heard you say that at the last convention I saw you at, Planet Comicon. It just blew me away because my explanation is always much longer…that, or it is short and it goes, “It’s the best book of all time!” Man, I just love that you can concisely say it is, “Spies with mind powers!”
Matt Kindt: It is hilarious to me because it doesn’t cover anything at all. It’s not even close to what it really is, but it’s fun to say.
Matt Kindt: May 21st, 2014.
UTF: Awesome. And like the past and future volumes, people can pre-order it at mattkindt.com?
Matt Kindt: Yup.
UTF: All right, so thank you very much.
Matt Kindt: Thanks.
So there you have it! A great talk with Matt about my favorite book of all time. If you are interested in my reviews of Mind MGMT issues 9 – current, please check out my collection of links, titled: The Kindt and I (image of Matt and I below).
If you would like to listen/read my contribution to the Unleash The Fanboy’s “BEST COMICS from 2013” Article (for Mind MGMT of course), check it out here: Best of Comics 2013, Mind MGMT Review (image of the Fan Art I drew, as inspired by Mind MGMT, below).
And finally, here is a link, if you would like to read the Twitter transcript of “The Making of Mind MGMT 24 Cover” (image of Mind MGMT 24 cover, below).
Oh, and if you are curious about that Lyme vs. Thanos commission he is holding in the featured image of this post, that one was for me…here it is in my hands.
BTW – If you are interested, my Twitter is @thanosrules. I spend most of my time tweeting about great books and works of art…mostly things Matt creates – like I said, great books and works of art!