Welcome back to Minding Mind MGMT, the monthly column focused on the Dark Horse series “Mind MGMT” from Matt Kindt. It’s been almost a year since the first issue hit stands, so it seems like a good time to check in with Matt and see how he’s doing.
Drew Bradley: “MIND MGMT” has been out for almost a year now. How do you feel about its current sales and buzz? Do you look to see what readers are saying about it?
Matt Kindt: I feel great about it. It’s selling well and I’m making a living just doing it. Which makes all the writing I’ve been doing for Marvel and DC sort of the cherry on top. I feel like I’m getting the best of everything right now, creatively. I do read what readers say about it – mostly via email but reviews as well — not to stroke my ego at all but to sort of gauge how much readers and reviewrs are picking up on — to see if the things I’m embedding in there are hitting their mark. Mostly they are but there’s a few Easter egg type things that are still undiscovered or people are guessing wrong on right now…which is kind of fun.
DB: You’ve said before your goal is to surpass your previous work. Do you feel like you’re on track to do so?
MK: I guess. It’s hard to say really. I never thought I’d be able to top Super Spy and then I sort of realized that each work has it’s own thing — it’s own strength and its own sort of mission – and if it completes that mission then it’s successful. 3 Story was doing something completely different than Super Spy so I don’t think one will ever beat the other. I’ve said that in the past — that I’m constantly trying to top previous self and I always start out that way but the end product ends up being what it ends up being. MIND MGMT will be the longest single story I’ve ever done, so in a way, with page count alone it’ll beat Super Spy. And I think I tried to sort of stretch the boundaries of what comics can do with Super Spy and I’m trying to do that with MIND MGMT as well but in a monthly format I think there’s even more potential there to do that.
DB: The bonus content you put online for the first issue was both unique and interesting. What was the reaction to it, and is there a chance we’ll see more content like it in the future?
MK: The reaction was great – but mostly it was “will this be in the collection?” — Online comics are great but I think for MIND MGMT at least it’s more of a get-the-word-out kind of thing that’s fun to play with. I would love to have time and design a comic that only works online…some day…some day!
DB: Your online shop features some merchandise for your various works, including a MIND MGMT pencil. Are you planning to put up any additional items?
MK: Yes — I’ll have some prints up there, I just added the official t-shirt which are all kind of “normal” promo items — but I’ve got the 600 dot connect-the-dots with double secret message in it. And there is a record in the works!
DB: You did the art for a couple issues of your friend Jeff Lemire’s “Sweet Tooth”. Have you considered having a guest artist for “MIND MGMT”?
MK: Initially that was my plan for the 2-page case files in the back of the issue — but as I got closer to the time, I realized that I don’t want to share. It’s important for me to have put every mark on the page in the comic so giving that up was something I couldn’t do. Maybe for a future project but not for the initial 36 issue planned run.
DB: Is it too early to reveal the title of the next arc?
MK: …I think it’s “The Futurist”…ha! I usually name the arc after it’s done and it needs a title for the collection!
DB: Immediately after Lyme’s confession in issue six, the Second Floor told us not to trust him. He’s also been obviously untruthful with Meru in The Futurist. How trustworthy is Lyme’s account of the Zanzibar massacre?
MK: It’s pretty trustworthy…for the most part.
DB: I thoroughly enjoyed the talking dolphins. When are they coming back? Will we see them with the gorillas you promised in issue one’s letter column?
MK: They’ll be back and so will gorillas! I’ve got an issue planned that’s dedicated to the animals of MIND MGMT!
DB: Do the Perrier twins have first names?
MK: Ha! Yes…but I don’t remember what they are — I’ll have to go find my original script…! That’s why I killed one off so there wouldn’t be any confusion as to which is which…
DB: Have any characters or scenes taken a larger role than you originally planned for them?
MK: All the characters have a final destination in the series. But how they get there sometimes takes a turn here or there. I can’t say now, not until issue 12, but there’s a character I had dying early but now they’re dying a little later…but they’re still dying!
DB: What are the ages of the main cast, and what kind of time jumps occurred between Lyme meeting Natasha and proposing to her, and between Meru being orphaned and writing her first book?
MK: You’re going to make me break out my timeline, aren’t you? Well…I won’t say now – but you’ll get a better sense of it by issue 12 — a lot of small gaps like that begin to get filled in. I don’t believe in loose ends so eventually you will know everything you want to know by the time the series is done.
DB: The field guide has been replaced by text from a book called Premeditated. It shares a name with Meru’s book, but is by and about something completely different. Does the shared name have a meaning? Will you bring the field guide back, or will this be a rotating feature?
MK: It’s a rotating feature but the Field Guide is integral and will make appearances a few more times. Premeditated…does share the title of Meru’s book – and that question gets answered by issue 12 as well…! Issue 12! It’s important!
DB: The excerpts from Premeditated imply “MIND MGMT” is related to “Revolver”, but the dates don’t seem to jive. How do the two books connect? Will we be seeing Sam or P.K. anytime soon?
MK: I can’t say…too many secrets! But I will say these are all good questions…!
DB: How long have you known a film was being discussed? Did you have any interaction with Ridley Scott or people from Fox?
MK: I knew since December that it was probably going to happen and had a few discussions with Scott Free before I decided to go with them. They really got the book and the material and I walked them through the entire series and so there’s a handful of people now that know where I’m going and how it all ends…and they still were interested…! So now I’m in a race to get the book done before the movie happens so it doesn’t spoil the comics!
DB: Do you think you’ll be involved in scripting or production at all? Do you want to be?
MK: Sure — I’m acting as a “consultant” so I’m talking to the screenwriters and explaining things that need clarifying and just basically letting them use my detailed outline of the series as a guide. Everybody is really excited about the material so I’m really optimistic that they’re going to take it and make a really crazy movie.
DB: Is there any kind of expected release date? Even though I’ll be first in line to buy a ticket, I’m hoping Scott makes the sequel to Prometheus first.
MK: Well, I want to see Bladerunner and Prometheus…and I don’t want everyone on earth hating me if MIND MGMT comes out first…! There’s no release date – with the movie stuff it’s always a little nebulous until the screenplay is finished and actors start signing on – so we’re still in the “starting the screenplay” phase.
DB: Aside from “MIND MGMT”, you’re also writing the Martian Manhunter backup story in “JLA”, an “Age of Ultron” X-Men tie-in, and an unannounced Marvel book. Do you struggle to balance your work schedule, or is it easy to stay on top of everything?
MK: It’s not too bad. I just treat it like a “real” job and plug away at it. It gets a little tricky during convention season but I end up adjusting. Started writing on planes this year for the first time…it’s cutting into my reading time…but that’s about the worst of it. I’m having so much fun — I can’t tell you.
DB: Are you still working on the prose novel “The End of the World”?
MK: The prose/graphic novel is done. But I’m going to adapt it into an epic graphic novel at some point…it just got pushed down the to-do list a little with MIND MGMT getting green-lit for the next 2 years.
DB: How do people normally react when they find out what you do for a living?
MK: They think I’m making dirty “graphic” novels…and then I have to follow it up with a long explanation. It’s part of the reason why I’ve gone back to using the term “comic books” — makes it easier when talking to the parents of my daughter’s friends.
DB: One of your other books, “3 Story”, is also being developed as a film. How far along is it?
MK: We have a really great screenplay that is being tweaked slightly and a couple of actors on board…so we’re just waiting for that last revision to take back to the studio…
DB: If you were a MIND MGMT agent, what abilities would you have?
MK: Ha! Ideally I would just have the ability to be aware of my surroundings so I don’t run a red light while daydreaming about story ideas. I’d settle for that!