BANG! #1 is out this Wednesday, February 19th, from Dark Horse Comics, and we had the chance to speak with writer Matt Kindt about the highly anticipated series.
The series is by Kindt and artist Wilfredo Torres, with colors by Nayoung Kim and letters by Nate Piekos. BANG! has received a lot of positive buzz leading up to its release, especially after Deadline Hollywood unveiled the book’s trailer last month. The first issue has already sold out and gone to a second printing in advance of publication. It promises to be a mind-bending thriller, sure to enthrall fans of high-concept storytelling.
About the series:
A best-of-the-best secret agent with memories he couldn’t possibly possess, a mystery writer in her 60s who spends her retirement solving crimes, a man of action with mysterious drugs that keep him ahead of a constant string of targeted disasters, a seemingly omnipotent terrorist organization that might be behind it all . . .
And they’re all connected to one man: a science-fiction author with more information than seems possible, whose books may hold the key to either saving reality or destroying it.
MFR critic Grant DeArmitt praised the first issue, saying “you should absolutely add BANG! to your pull list,” and giving it a near perfect score.
Read on for our full interview with Kindt:
Monkeys Fighting Robots: Matt, thanks for taking the time to talk with us.
You got a pull quote from Keanu Reeves (the man, the myth, the legend), who called BANG! “A great #$%^ed up blend of James Bond and Tintin.” How does that happen?
Matt Kindt: Keanu loves comics and really knows art. He’s got a really good and honest eye for it. I sent him issue one…and he liked it…(laughs)
MFR: I saw that BANG! ties into another one of your books, Revolver. Do new readers need to know anything before picking up BANG! #1, or can they go in cold? And how do you handle that balance of tying your works together, rewarding old fans but making sure everything is still accessible to newbies?
MK: There is a character – usually a villain I use a lot – he’s in almost every book I’ve ever done. But there’s no real continuity. You don’t need to read one book to understand another. It’s more like how Tarantino’s movies all take place in the same “universe” but for me – it’s reversed. I have one character that takes place in all universes. BANG! works completely on its own – the overlap with other books is more of an Easter egg for super-fans.
MFR: What works inspired BANG!, other than James Bond (and possibly Tintin)?
MK: Ha! Well. Philip K. Dick was a big influence on everything I’ve done but also take the moral dilemmas in Graham Greene’s books and mix it with Agatha Christie, The 60s Emma Peele Avengers, McGyver, A-Team, Knight Rider, and a dash of Charles Bronson – shake that all up and this is what comes out. I really wanted to do something that was straight forward action and ended up doing something that was straight-up action with a really crazy twist to it. Nothing is every really straight-forward by the time I get done with it…I tried. I really did. I just can’t do straight-forward. But this is my attempt. (laughs)
MFR: This first issue is packed with action, and there are a good handful of pages with little to no dialogue. How do you and Wilfredo collaborate on those mostly visual scenes? Since you’re also an artist, are you able to better script them, or does Wilfredo have the freedom to go nuts and handle them however he sees fit?
MK: I script them – and Wilfredo tweaks ‘em – adds panels – moves things around. And sometimes comes up with ideas for different staging – I really feel like, especially with the action – my script is a suggestion – a starting off point. I have specific ideas for details – but it’s no fun collaborating if you don’t collaborate. It’s always a bit of a learning curve when writing for an artist you haven’t worked with before – but we’re developing a short hand now – I know what he likes to do and the deeper we get into it – the more I try to write to his strengths and give him some pages that will make him laugh – or at least get him excited to draw. He ends up adding so much more detail than I script – and I tell him – he’s doing it to himself. It’s not my fault! You can tell on the page though – he loves to draw so I try to stay out of his way.
MFR: How autobiographical of a character is Phillip Verve? Or – if not autobiographical – is he inspired by anyone in particular?
MK: He came from real-life. But I won’t talk about it. Everybody has an arch-enemy at some point in their life…and he sprung from that. So yeah – he is in every universe – including ours. For me, he’s a good reminder to treat everyone well. Be kind. Don’t have enemies. I don’t have any enemies now (that I know of) but Verve serves as a reminder – let bygones be bygones. Forgive people. It’s the most powerful thing you can do.
MFR: There’s a giant mystery behind this series. Without giving anything away, where’s the best place in issue one to look for clues?
MK: Inside front cover and the inside back cover.
Thanks again to Matt Kindt for taking the time to answer our questions, and to David Hyde from Superfan Promotions for facilitating this interview. Make sure to pick up BANG! #1 when it hits your local comic shop this Wednesday, February 19th.
Read what people are saying about BANG!:
“What Knives Out did for whodunits Bang! does for 007-style spy adventures by flipping sexist and culturally condescending tropes on their head.”—DEADLINE HOLLYWOOD
“I will literally read anything by Matt Kindt or Wilfredo Torres. Put them together and it’s magic. Skip dinner and buy this book”—Mark Millar
“I f$%^ing love this comic! it’s literally everything I want out of one of my favorite creators!! Congrats to the entire team. This is how you make comics!!—Brian Michael Bendis
“BANG is a fun, twisty spy thriller with a great meta-twist.”—Jay Faerber
“I love Matt Kindt and I love Wilfredo Torres, so it’s no surprise that I loved BANG! It’s like the weirdo, mind-bending James Bond story I didn’t know I wanted.”—Jeff Lemire
“Thanks to Kindt and Torres we finally have our Idris Elba – James Bond, and it’s exactly as cool as you imagined.”—Jeff Parker
“Imagine James Bond being abducted by David Lynch and forced into a maze that shifts with every step forward. The ground is unsteady. The walls of reality move. This is the world of Bang!, a spy thriller expertly conducted by Kindt and Torres, a mystery box that truly starts off with a… Well. You know.” —Van Jensen