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INTERVIEW: Matt Kindt talks the gigantic scope of BANG!, and why he’s always dying in his comics

'So much bigger than the first issue or even the first five issues.'

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Matt Kindt and Wilfredo Torres have a bonafide hit comic on their hands with Bang!, the new book from publisher Dark Horse that just saw its first issue go to a rare third printing due to high demand among readers and retailers.

BANG! is on its surface a James Bond homage — at least that’s how it comes off early in the first issue. Not to spoil anything here, but there is quickly a shift that hints at this story being much, much bigger. As more readers dive into this world via reprinting and the release of the second issue approaches (March 18!), The Beat recently had a chance to talk with Matt Kindt about the second issue and the series overall. Today we have that interview, along with some preview pages from BANG! #2.

Oh, and in other Matt Kindt news, this week also marked the launch for a Kickstarter to fund a new game based on another of his books, Mind MGMT. You can check that out here.

And now, The Beat talks BANG! with Kindt…enjoy!

 

THE BEAT: It’s tough to broach this without spoiling things — so readers be warned — but in the first act of BANG! #2, you appear as a character and are — to phrase it politely — taken off the board in what one might call a rapid and ignoble fashion. What was it like for you to first write that and then later see the scene bore out in the art?

MATT KINDT: Well, I personally think it’s really funny to die in my own comics. I feel like Hitchcock really missed the boat. He’s always just walking somewhere or getting on a bus. If I’m going to be in it? And I’m going to go out? I wanna go out with a…bang. Sorry. My previous death can be seen in issue 1 of MIND MGMT. I believe I was gut-shot and died in a bathroom stall. For the completist, I believe I was killed in Super Spy as well – a gun-fight with another competing spy.

THE BEAT: Was it different at all to inflict comic book violence upon yourself versus a fictional character, why or why not?

KINDT: I have a lot of original art – mostly what I buy is the page where I expire. I think it’s funny. But my wife, Sharlene, is absolutely not amused.

THE BEAT: The second issue of BANG! really made me appreciate the way this concept is built for longevity, in that it seems like you’ve created a story where you can play with all sorts of spy/action hero adventure tropes, not just James Bond. Is that intentional and how broad should we expect the scope of this story to be?

KINDT: It’s big. So much bigger than the first issue or even the first 5 issues. In a lot of ways this first story is the first chapter in a much larger narrative. The closest thing I can think of is something like Black Hammer. It’s going to allow me to explore the stories of all of the supporting characters. It’s not just the spy genre with Thomas Cord who we meet in issue 1. There are murder mysteries with our 70-year-old hero, Paige Turnier. A car named B.O.I. that is equipped with high-level A.I. John Shaw — a drug-addicted action hero and Queen — a wheelchair-bound billionaire benefactor/super-genius who is much more than she seems. And that’s just the first five issues. After that? We’ve got plans for so much more. A team of ex-cons with bad intentions, a secret organization bent on destroying the world, and Frederick Jason Michael – the most dangerous killer in human history.

THE BEAT: With BANG! and Folklords, you’ve got a pair of new series this year that delve more heavily into meta-fiction than even something like a past book you wrote, Ether…what has drawn your interest to exploring self-aware stories of late?

KINDT: I think everything I’ve done since MIND MGMT has been in service of involving the reader as much as possible. Rather than a kind of meta-fiction which I think can take a reader out of the story – I’m trying to do the opposite. I’m trying to get the reader involved. MIND MGMT had the subliminal text on the sides of every page and advertisements in the back of every issue that were…not really advertisements. All of that is in service of actual world-building. I want these worlds to be real. And I want them to be fun. I think as I get older, coming from a generation that saw the advent of the dark and gritty superhero, I want to have fun. I think you can have a story with heart and have it be about something but I think that journey can also be fun. There’s no reason a story can’t make you think and look at the world with a differently – but also have fun doing it.

THE BEAT: Finally, how has the reaction to BANG! been on your end (my impression is that the first issue was met with huge success), and what can you tell us about where this story will go moving forward?

KINDT: It’s been amazing. I know Wilfredo and I were blown away by the response. I happened to be at Comics Pro the week that it came out and the response directly from retailers was intense. It seemed that everyone sold out on the day of release…which is great. But also makes me think – you didn’t order enough! (laughs). Dark Horse has just gone back to press for a third printing. I want everyone to get a copy and read this book. I think with Wilfredo, we really caught lightning in a bottle with this one. He’s the absolute perfect artist for this series.

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