With the launch of his new imprint Flux House next month with Dark Horse, we got a chance to sit down and chat with writer and artist Matt Kindt. His works include MIND MGMT, BRZRKR, Eniac, Revolver, 3 Story, Super Spy, 2 Sisters, Pistolwhip and Dept H.
Hi Matt, we are so excited to have you here with us. We have to say congratulations to you on your new imprint Flux House.
Your Flux House imprint is launching in July; can you tell us about the origins of Flux House?
I saw Salvador Dali’s lobster phone at the museum. If you haven’t seen it, it’s exactly what you’d imagine. I was looking at that phone and I saw an artist who was constantly having ideas or “notions.” The ideas weren’t always painting. Probably always surreal. But most importantly – I saw an artist having fun. It’s ridiculous. Fun. Looks cool. That idea came from someone who’d been doing what he was doing so long that he was just having a great time making things.
That’s this. So now, imagine that the lobster phone actually had an interesting narrative attached to it. Back story. Characters you care about. And imagine that that story told in comic book form. But the book is a little odd, Bigger. Smaller. Maybe covered in hair because that story is about an evil reincarnated Egyptian cat. Or maybe the book is about spies so the cover is a paper grocery bag so it can be “disguised” on the shelf at your local comic shop. That’s Flux House. It’s a dash of the absurd and the fun – but connected to narrative that has heart and soul. Not just art for art’s sake – even though on the surface it might seem it.
You have been working with Dark Horse since 2010; what is it about Dark Horse that you enjoy working with them?
They published 3 Story: The Secret History of the Giant Man years ago – and have supported me ever since. Mike Richardson is running things and he just has this rare pure love of comics. He’s been a champion of my stuff for as long as I’ve known him. And he and all the staff at Dark Horse have supported and believed in me over the years to the point they’re trusting me to push comics as far as they can go…or at least as far as I can get them. I want to make books that you don’t just have on your shelf – but when your friends come over – that book is the one they pick up and ask “what’s this?”
For anyone unfamiliar with MIND MGMT, how would you describe it?
Short answer is “spies with mind powers.” But now imagine reading a book about that — but the book you’re reading is actually a recruiting tool that is trying to get you to become a secret agent. A book that is literally trying to tap into the abilities and thoughts you have…and exploit them. That’s kind of what it’s like. It’s a book, a story, a single issue that is always going to be more than it seems. There are hidden messages. Subliminal messages. And a fun spy/action/mind-bender of a story.
What can you tell us about MIND MGMT: BOOTLEG?
It has the worlds’ most dense 50-panel comic-book page ever created. The script for that one page is 4 typed pages long. So there’s that. It’s also genuinely a good jumping on point if you’ve never read MIND MGMT. You can start here. In fact – this series is a recruitment device designed for you to be indoctrinated into the world MIND MGMT. After that, there is the original 36 issue series and a board game. It’s a lot – but this is the best place to start. Dip your toes in…we’ll let you know if you’re right for it. (laughs)
What is the ethos of Flux House?
I wrote a letter to the entire team at Dark Horse that kind of went like this: If it’s fun, let’s do it. If we’ve always done it that way? Let’s try it a different way. If we do it that way because all the other ways are a disaster then…well, let’s do it in the way that isn’t a disaster. But however we do it – when we’re doing it – let’s not be bored. Do not be bored with the work! Let’s do things that make us nervous – that might fail – but if they don’t – will be super cool.
When you were conceiving MIND MGMT: BOOTLEG, did you always have the idea of it; being illustrated by other artists?
Definitely. I want the series to feel like maybe I didn’t approve of it. Bootleg. Like it got hijacked by some punk artists that didn’t ask me permission. Like those Mexican Spider-Man comics – that have completely different storylines. It’s Peter Parker but…something is completely different. I want old-readers of the series to be uncomfortable and a little worried and new readers to be…well, uncomfortable and a little worried as well.
How did you select the artists working on MIND MGMT: BOOTLEG?
A lot of factors went into it. First – I’m fans of all of them – and I’ve worked with them all in the past to a greater or lesser degree. So after that – it was really just introducing a new character in every issue – and casting the artist with that character/story point – so the art would complement the new character. So the art style and feel of that issue would reflect the character and their unique POV. It was not something I’d ever done before and I think it ended up being great than the sum of parts…it’s crazy in the best way.
You are a writer and an artist; what do you enjoy being more, a writer or an artist?
I don’t really separate the two. It’s all idea driven. Words and pictures working together. When I’m not drawing it’s more like playing in a band where we complement each other to create this thing where we’re playing separate parts of the same thing. And on my own – it allows me to really punish myself. 50 panel pages. Extra text on the page edges. See-through covers. Pages designed to be burned, cut, or torn. One of my favorite signings I ever did was with David Rubin when Ether came out – and he was drawing and signing and then I was drawing a little extra thing on or around his drawing and reacting to it – every one was different – and we had these little mini-conversations through art and on the fly…all while he was serving little shots of some coffee liqueur to everyone that showed up. That’s a little microcosm of how books should be made.
What has it been like collaborating with Farel Dalrymple, Jill Thompson, David Rubín, and Matt Lesniewski on MIND MGMT: Bootleg?
Like sitting at a signing where we all draw on someone’s book and David serves us coffee liqueur. (laughs) – but not much different. I know I had fun – and I hope they did – at least to my face they’ll say it. I realize my scripts for MIND MGMT are…a lot sometimes. But at the end of the day – we have a series like no other. And I’m still on speaking terms with everyone and I’m still a huge fan of each one of them. I consider that a success.
We understand there is a version of MIND MGMT: BOOTLEG that comes with a playing card; can you tell us more about this playing card?
Each issue will have a special MIND MGMT playing card. This is the 53rd card. Designed to work with any deck of standard cards. Ideally – you get all four and put them into your deck. On the face is all new art – but also new rules that will make, break, distort, and/or warp ANY card game you play. I collaborated with the designers that I worked on the MIND MGMT board game with (Jay Cormier and Sen-Foong Lim) and they wrote rules that will work with (or against) almost any game you play.
The beauty of the cards is, they’re art – you can use them as a bookmark. Or you can put them in a normal deck of cards. When you draw the card – your opponent(s) will know you have one of the 4 special cards. But they won’t know which one. Paranoia ensues. Are you going to play it? Which one is it? It’s an extra game outside the game. MIND MGMT for real.
Can you give us any teasers about future titles releasing from Flux House?
Sure. This is what I have planned for the next two years…without spoiling the titles: A “super” spy, a hulking detective, an evil (maybe) cat, a reporter stranded on a cosmic planet, 1,000 teenage superheroes, a barbarian, and a universe-hopping villain/hero.
A big thank you to Matt for chatting with us; we wish him and the rest of the team, the best of luck with Flux House and MIND MGMT: BOOTLEG.