BANG! has been receiving a lot of praise from comic book writers, critics, and comic book readers alike. Delivering one of the most exciting spy-action comics in quite some time. We were granted the opportunity to sit down and talk with the writer of BANG! Matt Kindt, who’s been working on this series alongside comic book illustrator Wilfredo Torres.
The duo has become a match made in heaven. While BANG! is still only two issues in, Matt and Wilfredo have delivered a comic that is masterfully written and beautifully illustrated. Making it a MUST-READ comic book for everyone! Issue #2 released just last week and it is taking us down the road of some sort of A-Team style team-up. Matt tells us what he’s leading to and how that all comes to a head in BANG! #5.
Check out the full interview with Matt Kindt below. I hope you all enjoy it as much as I enjoyed getting these questions out to Matt and receiving his answers.
For our readers who aren’t familiar with you or have a vague idea of who you are, tell us about yourself and how did you get your start in the comic book industry?
I’ve been making comics for 20 years – I’ve worked for every major publisher at this point – mostly creator-owned work. My first book, Pistolwhip, debuted in 2001 with Top Shelf. Since then I’ve done thousands of pages of comics. From Super Spy to MIND MGMT to Dept. H. as well as mainstream titles like Spider-Man, Justice Leauge, X-Men, Ninjak, Bloodshot, XO Manowar. But I’d say 90% of my work is creator-owned/independent – with Dark Horse and Boom! And more recently – Bad Idea – which is launching in May.
I would like to personally tell you that I have been enjoying the hell out of BANG!. I walked in without truly knowing what I was walking into and it has been a thrilling rollercoaster ride from the start. As a fan of espionage and spy-thriller stories, of course, that makes me a fan of James Bond and the 007 franchise and other franchises like Archer. Was the concept behind BANG! inspired by 007 and Archer? What are some of the outside mediums that inspired the concept behind this story?
I’m not a huge fan of animation…(laughs) – so I’m aware of Archer. I’ve seen a few episodes. I don’t’ know. I think there’s something about animation – it just doesn’t hold my attention the way movies and comics do. I’m not sure why. Moonraker was the first Bond movie I saw when I was a kid – at the drive-in no less. So that character is just in my DNA like Star Wars and Planet of the Apes. But honestly – I really hate pastiches or homages of Bond. He’s his own thing, you know? And I love it – but I don’t need to do Bond. That already exists.
I was offered the Bond comic back in the day – and I turned it down. I just don’t really have anything new to add to it. There are some things I like being a fan of. Bond is one. Planet of the Apes. Star Wars – properties like that – that I grew up with – I just want to continue being a fan of them. I want to read it and watch it. I don’t want to be making it. That’s just changed my relationship with the property in a way that makes it weird. Like your best friend suddenly making a move on you – it’s like…whoa whoa whoa! We’re best friends! Let’s leave it at that.
If you want to get to the root of the inspiration for BANG! you have to really go back. To Doc Savage, The Shadow – all the really old pulps. I love those tropes. The adventure hero. The spy. The detective. The gadget person. Those ideas have been around forever – so I was really just trying to figure out – how can I take those tropes and updated them…nobody gives a damn about the Shadow or Doc Savage anymore. Just a small pool of pulp nerds really. But the DNA of those ideas and those genres and tropes?
They’re alive – they just get reborn from generation to generation. Charles Bronson, Knight Rider, The A-Team – every buddy cop/detective show that’s ever been. You can trace it back to the old pulps. They’re just refreshed for us as something new. But with all of those rebirths? The thing that no one has really done – is mash them all together into one book. That’s what BANG! is…and I’m determined to make this comic earn that title!
With that being said, who are some of your personal heroes of the spy/espionage genre?
History really. I read a lot of history – primarily WWII and Cold War-era stuff. Agent Zigzag is an amazing book. I really just love the idea of spies. The idea of living a lie for a greater good – that’s kind of universal. It’s also in everything. It’s the core of what the superhero genre is. You put on a mask and go do good. Spies are the real-world version of that.
You put on a fake life – and go do some good…or bad. I really love writing about the duality of humans and how we have these compartments that we put different parts of ourselves into. If you want recommendations though? I’d say The Prisoner is probably one of my favorites. Such an amazing show – and character. The original Avengers – from the UK.
We find ourselves in a world with characters that are experiencing foretold real-world, and personal events that come in the form of novelizations, BEFORE they experience them first hand. How does that form of storytelling affect or push forward the development of these characters?
Ironically – we’ll have to wait and see. There’s more going on in this series that is going to be apparent until we get to Issue #5 and (hopefully) beyond. Those books and that future…have an interesting origin. Sci-fi is the extra element in this book – the thing that’s going to really twist the entire idea up into knots…it’s not just spies and detectives and adventurers kicking butt. There’s a wild card in this team of characters that is going to turn it all on its head.
How did you and Wilfredo Torres team up to work on this book?
We text and talk a lot about ideas and characters – especially now that we’ve got it rolling – I’ll text him an idea – and then he’ll send back some back story ideas and character traits that inspired him and we spit things back and forth…and as Wilfredo goes along – we change things on the fly as well – I really like working with and having him involved – it makes it a true collaboration – and it’s something I work to make happen – you end up getting a better final product when everyone working on the book is happy and engaged and involved…the book doesn’t happen without his input!
It helps that we grew up reading a watching the same kinds of pulpy stuff – so we’re on the same wavelength…
BANG! #2 left us with the idea of a potential team-up. What can readers expect from that if that’s in fact the direction we are heading in?
That’s definitely the direction. Right now we’ve only revealed two-fifths of the cast…every issue is going to reveal a new facet…a new wrinkle…building to Issue #5. If there’s a genre you like? Chances are it’s going to end up being represented.
What are some of the most challenging aspects of writing a comic book and translating the ideas you have in your head onto paper?
Ha! I don’t really know. I’ve been doing this so long – it’s like second-nature at this point. I *think* in comics. If there’s a tough part –? I really don’t know. I try to jam-pack as much as I can into every issue…text pages, extra hidden easter eggs…character stuff – design. I’m having so much fun…I’m not sure. What a horrible answer (laughs) – I don’t see challenges…I see opportunities – ha ha! Uhg.
I hate myself for saying that. Maybe – if I had to say something – limiting chapters to 22 or 24 pages – that can be the hard part…it’s so much easier to just write and free-wheeling graphic novel that doesn’t have artificial chapter breaks. But those 22-page chunks – that’s it’s own kind of fun challenge as well. I don’t really mind it. I love a monthly serialized format. And that’s the price you pay for it.
What’s next for Matt Kindt? Are there any new projects in development? Maybe something you can provide to us exclusively? Pretty please? Ha Ha!
Ha ha! I wish – it’s probably going to be another few weeks before something super cool and exclusive is available to talk about.