Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: This month will see the launch of your first-ever Kickstarter campaign, marking the return of MIND MGMT. What inspired you to return to the world of MIND MGMT?
Matt Kindt: I was working on some new art for a new, super-fancy collected edition of the entire series that Dark Horse is publishing, and I tweeted out just a little teaser image of the original art – and I got a flood of feedback from that. It had been a while and I kind of thought MIND MGMT had sort of faded into the background, but I realized that MIND MGMT might actually be the best thing I’ve ever done...and maybe I should do more (laughing)!
That feedback got me excited to go back through my notes and revisit the series and see if there were any ideas I hadn’t got to that I might be able to do now. When I finished that series, it was 37 issues, monthly for three years – and I did EVERYTHING – from lettering to coloring to the production. Everything you saw on the page – was something I did. But I was exhausted by the time I got to the end. It was so much more work than I realized, and I was burned out. I literally couldn’t do anymore if I’d wanted to. Mentally, I was just fried.
But this last year I started looking at my notes, and I was getting excited to work on this again. MIND MGMT really lends itself to some of the more “out-there” ideas that I have. Even after the series was done, I never really stopped thinking about new ideas or stories to tell. And that’s where this came from. I grew up reading and listening to these read-along records, and they’re just burned into my brain. The soundtrack and the voice-acting. My brother and I loved these – and we still quote the GI JOE: Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb record all the time.
I realized MIND MGMT would be the perfect vehicle to do a comic and read-along record. Vinly is having a resurgence, and it just seemed like the right medium to bring it all back.
Once I started this story, though, I realized that just a straight-up read-along record would be...redundant. Those are great for kids – encouraging reading and all that. But this is a more complex story. It’s aimed at an adult audience, so I really started playing with the form. Using the audio story as one piece in a larger puzzle. You listen to the story and read along just like when I was a kid...but the images in the comic paint a different story – they subvert the audio...and then you have this crazy third layer of words and captions that are subverting both the audio and the image below it. It’s really working on three levels all at the same time. I’ve never seen anything like it. And that’s really why I felt like it was worth doing. It started as inspiration from nostalgia but then morphed into this crazy kind of hybrid medium that really hasn’t been explored at all.
BD: This project takes the series in new and exciting directions, as you are creating a standalone comic book, as well as a read-along vinyl record. What can you share with us about your creative process in working with Clint McElroy, as well as your experiencing in transitioning the series to new mediums of entertainment?
MK: It was difficult. But I think that’s really the other inspiration for this project. I’ve been making comics for twenty years, and I think I was looking for a real challenge. Something that would scare me creatively every step of the way. And this was it. I really thought maybe this was too crazy to work. But then I was put in touch with Clint – and he’s a huge fan of MIND MGMT. I talked to him on the phone and was kind of dreading the idea of explaining this idea to him. I got about thirty seconds into the conversation and I was talking about the old Peter Pan book and records and he stopped me. He knew EXACTLY what I was talking about and what I was going for. There’s really no budget for this project, so I was worried. He’s a pro. He’s been acting and doing voice work as a pro...but being the fan he is – he donated his time. And he spent a LOT of time on this. He did many, many takes. And what he turned in was amazing. I actually got a little emotional...when I first heard it – he channeled everything I loved about those scratchy, old 45 records. It was magic. He refused to take a fee for working on this, so instead – I decided that we’re going to donate 10% of the profit to benefit recovery in Puerto Rico (his charity of choice) – and I couldn’t be more happy to do so. It sort of elevates this project to me. It’s about more than just having fun and entertaining. We’re going to be able to do some concrete good in the world. Which is really what the message of MIND MGMT always was. Do some good.
As for the process...I wrote a few drafts of the script and re-wrote it a few more times after that to get the timing down. There is a hard limit to how much audio you can fit on a 45 record, so I had to keep the script tight. I gave a little bit of direction to Clint in the script, and he just ran with it.
BD: What encouraged you to utilize crowdfunding in order to bring this project to life?
MK: I’m a huge fan of Kickstarter. I’m also a big board game nut which is how I really got into Kickstarter in the first place. I back a LOT of stuff. And I really like it. I think it’s a great way to connect more closely with creators and actually get projects funded that might not otherwise ever be produced. From a practical point of view, I have absolutely no idea what demand there will be for this kind of crazy project, so this was a safe way to produce it and gauge the interest. Worst case, I’m out the time and effort, but I won’t go broke printing a bunch of comics and records...!
BD: What are some of the fun backer rewards that are available to those who contribute to your campaign? Likewise, what can you share about how the proceeds from this project will be allotted?
MK: It’s my first Kickstarter, so I didn’t get too fancy. I really want to focus on delivering the coolest piece of art that I can. There will be some limited edition book plates at a higher level and a more rare gold-colored vinyl and there are levels where you can actually get a piece of the original art from the comic. If things really go crazy, I might add something super-secret, but we’ll see how it goes.
BD: I would be remiss if I did not extend my sincere congratulations on your Eisner Award nomination this year. Do you have plans for exhibiting or signing at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con?
MK: I’m skipping San Diego this year – I just couldn’t budget the time to do it – I’ll be in the thick of this Kickstarter and making sure everything goes out on deadline. But I’m super happy and honored to be nominated. It really means a lot. And I’m happy for Tyler Jenkins and being nominated along with him for Grass Kings. He’s an amazing artist, and it’s great to see so many more people finding his work. If I win...? Jeff Lemire promised to pick up my trophy and say something nice about me (laughing)!
BD: Are there any other projects on which you are working that you are able to share with our readers?
MK: I’m finishing up the second arc of Ether with David Rubin (published by Dark Horse), and I just read the last few pages of the last issue...wow. It’s heartbreaking stuff. David’s is so flexible – going from the absurd and action-packed to the really quiet emotional stuff. He’s already a legend.
I’m also launching a new series with BOOM! called Black Badge which is the follow-up series to Grass Kings with Tyler and Hilary Jenkins on art again – the series will follow a scout troop that is tasked with going on high-risk black-ops style missions. They’re scouts...but for real scouts.
BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find out more about the MIND MGMT Kickstarter campaign?
MK: Just head to the Kickstarter site!