As is often the case with creators who earn wide acclaim for their creator-owned work, Matt Kindt is suddenly everywhere. In addition to being the writer of “Marvel Knights: Spider-Man” and Valiant Comics’ upcoming “Unity” series, the “Mind MGMT” creator is also taking over DC Comics’ “Justice League of America” for a an arc to coincide with “Forever Evil,” starting with issue #8.
We spoke to him over the phone about transitioning to mainstream superhero comics and what it’s like writing about a world where the heroes, at least by all appearances, are mostly dead.
MTV Geek: Having read “Forever Evil” and how that has set up this scenario where the Justice League has apparently died, what characters are we going to be seeing in your arc?
Matt Kindt: Stargirl and Martian Manhunter are going to be the stars. That was the thing. I was really excited about “Justice League,” like, oh yeah, I’m going to get to take it over, but oh, by the way, they’re all dead. [laughs] I was like, “OK.”
But honestly, I’m going to have a lot of fun doing something with Stargirl and Manhunter, showing how they deal with the deaths, how they deal with the villains. It’s almost sort of a road-trip story with Manhunter and Stargirl. I think it’s just going to be so much fun seeing how they interact because their personalities are so different. They have to work together.
Geek: Are we going to see how those two characters slipped the noose and managed to avoid the fate of the other Justice League members?
Kindt: We will. The whole first issue is basically that, figuring out how they escaped, how they got where they did and how they end up being together. Stargirl’s going to be the star of the book. She’s integral. Her personality is key to them surviving.
Geek: Your arc is happening after the big Trinity War event and leads into Jeff Lemire taking the team to Canada. Is a limited run really what you wanted to do, or is there are a part of you that would want to do a bigger, more extended story?
Kindt: I think it’s perfect for me. I’m super-busy, so doing a long-term thing is hard for me to do. I’ve been working like a psycho, so getting small stuff like this works. From a creative standpoint, I kind of enjoy it because there’s not the pressure of trying to come up with this big, epic, year-long thing that’s going to be all-encompassing. I get six issues to tell a very specific story with about several characters who are important to me. I sort of like having that finite area to work in.
And then part of my goal was to make it impossible for Jeff to do anything, to take over.
Geek: So your plan is to sabotage Jeff Lemire.
Kindt: [Laughs] Yup.
Geek: Are we going to get any hints in this story that lets us know about how all the heroes supposedly died or where they are?
Kindt: I can’t tell you, but you’ll see explicitly, or semi-explicitly, what happened to the characters. By the first issue, a lot of those questions will be answered.
Geek: The world has been taken over by villains. What are some of the key bad guys we’ll be seeing here?
Kindt: I don’t think I can say. There’s definitely a big villain that’s going to appear around issue two or three of my run, that’s sort of the secret guy behind the scenes I wanted to put in, playing their game. I’m not going to spoil it.
But this story’s really about Stargirl working with an alien and trying to get across the country. She wants to take care of her family. It’s their struggle.
Geek: This arc on “Justice League of America” isn’t the only mainstream work you have coming up. As somebody who made your name as an independent creator, I’m curious why now you’re taking on so much of this mainstream work. Why now?
Kindt: I think part of it is, before I started “Mind MGMT” nobody really knew who I was. I’d done a graphic novel every year for eight years, but it was only when I did my own creator-owned series that I really showed up on the radar for a lot of people. When I started doing a monthly book of my own, I realized how monthly comics were. I started getting back into them and reading them. I grew up reading superhero stuff. I’ve always liked these characters. I thought it’d be fun, now as an adult, to challenge myself and write a certain kind of story, to apply me to these characters.
Part of it was just great curiosity, like, “I’ve never really thought about Harley Quinn, but I’d like to write that. I know her from the cartoons.” Applying my thought process to these characters attracted me as a creator. It’s like a fun experiment. I have a lot of friends who do superhero comics, like Jeff Lemire and Ray Fawkes, so I get to do stuff with them. We go to dinner and talk about stories.
Geek: Now that you’ve dipped your wick in the various superhero universes, is that an itch you have to scratch now? Is that going to be part of your comics career for the foreseeable future?
Kindt: There’s always been a part of me that’s wanted to do that, but I don’t see it as a full-time thing. I see it as I’m a creator-owned guy who does a story mostly because it’s going to be fun. As long as the characters are interesting, I’ll keep doing them. I guess I have the best of both worlds.