Bang! #1 comes out February 19th, 2020 from publisher Dark Horse. Written by Matt Kindt with art from Wilfredo Torres, colors by Nayoung Kim, and letters by Nate Piekos, Bang! is an innovative genre-bender rooted heavily in pulp fiction. At its heart, Bang! is a story about stories and with stellar art from Torres, it is a can’t miss #1! We caught up with the very busy Matt Kindt for a short interview.
Comic Watch: How long has Bang! been a project you’ve been kicking around?
Matt Kindt: I had to go back and look at my files to see what the earliest dated Bang! file was dated – and it looks like 2016. But it has been through a lot of incarnations. Originally the title was always there but it was just going to be a straight-up action/revenge story – all action. Shooting, explosions, car chase and revenge served hot. Then you flip the book over and read the other half and it’s the story of a guy dealing with the loss of a loved one caused by the violence in the other half of the book that you just read. A 2-story flip book that you could read in any order – but the order you read the stories in would change your feeling about the book entirely. So I started there and then I had been working independently on another idea – a sort of shared-universe idea with detectives and spies and action heroes. And eventually I abandoned the flip-book idea and decided to use the title for my messed-up shared-universe story instead. It seemed to fit this book and in a lot of ways took on more meaning than it otherwise had before. We’re purposefully using the logo and the title in a very active narrative way in the book. A kind of shot across the bow of expectations. Seven pages in you kind of get what we’re going for.
CW: The heavy reliance on pulp archetypes you use in this story gives it a sense of the uncanny. Many people today have no experience with pulps but that style of storytelling seems to stick with us. What’s the draw of pulps for you?
MK: I love genre. All genre. I think growing up and reading comics – you end up kind of developing a taste for it – and when you go outside of comics superheroes don’t really exist. Or didn’t when I was growing up. So I gravitated toward the next best thing – sci-fi, barbarians, spies, mysteries. It has everything that comics have and more. All of that DNA is shared. From Doc Savage and the Shadow and even earlier – Sherlock Holmes. You can draw a line from those characters to Bond and Knight Rider and Miss Marple and Murder She Wrote. It’s all connected and depending on the generation you grew up in – different characters resonate more than others for you. My idea was to set this in modern day and sort of mash all of those buttons – from all generations – to make something that resonates whether you know who Doc Savage is, or you grew up watching Murder, She Wrote and Magnum, P.I. So taking all of that and then saying “what if they all existed in the same world” was an easy step. And then placing all of those characters next to each other seemed logical.
I’m also pooling resources with Wilfredo on art as well. He’s had some great ideas for the outfits and how the tech works. Visually he’s really taking the ideas and transforming them into a crazy new kind of genre feel – something that seems familiar but is absolutely not what it seems. It’s one thing to have the crazy ideas, but Wilfredo has been figuring out the practical aspects and how the stuff works. Our action-hero is taking these crazy drugs and Wilfredo spent a lot of time figuring out how they would work, how does he take them? What does that look like? And Dr. Queen – has some insane gadgets that had to be designed from the ground up. He’s creating a whole new pulpy visual language for these characters to operate in.
CW: What is your favorite pulp influence?
MK: That’s tough. My favorite is probably Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler. I love the dark pulp crime and the era. But I grew up in the late 70s and early 80s so I count my non-book influences as well – Knight Rider, The A-Team, McGyver, Moonlighting. Throw in a ton of sci-fi. All of Phlip K. Dick’s work, Asimov, and Arthur C. Clarke. Those were all big touchstones. The world-building of Herbert’s Dune as well.
CW: In the build up to Bang! you mentioned your love of GI Joes and how the play-creation of stories plays into this project. Who was your most treasured GI Joe? (It was Dial Tone for me!
MK: Storm Shadow. He was one of the first to have those super-poseable joints…(laughs)
CW: What should readers expect from Bang! moving forward?
MK: A lot of new characters. Thomas Cord is the anchor of the series and we’re really going to explore what’s wrong…er…going on with him. But there are a handful of really great new characters that you’re going to meet over these first 5 issues. And an insane issue 5 that will turn everything on its head. Wilfredo and I have a lot of plans. This first series is really just the tip of the iceberg.
And there you have it, folks! Be sure to check out Bang! #1 from Dark Horse Comics on February 19th where ever you purchase comics and keep an eye on Comic Watch for more news, interviews, previews and reviews!
A Quick Interview with Matt Kindt!
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