Last week, we took a look at Think Tank Season #1. In celebration of today’s release of Think Tank #12, we caught up with Top Cow President/COO Matt Hawkins about the latest issue, time management, and of course the genetic viruses in his science thriller.
Plus, Matt talks Minotaur Press and what we can expect from Top Cow on Free Comic Book Day!
FOG!: Hi Matt – thanks for joining us today to talk about the end of Think Tank Season 1. Care to tell is what to expect in Think Tank #12?
Matt Hawkins: The 12th issue is the finale of the first long story arc that kicked off with issue 1. All of the lingering threads are sort of resolved. David faces death his mortality and realizes that there’s not really much he can do to stop the geopolitical forces in motion. The looming confrontation between China and the US kicks off and the collusive nature of it is frightening in its repercussions. That and the virus is out!
David is in a lot of trouble in this issue. In fact, the latest arc, Outbreak, is very dangerous for a lot of the characters. Are targeted genetic viruses possible or even probable in the near future?
They’re viable now. The completion of the Human Genome Project opened up a pandora’s box of possibilities both good and bad.
Had you expected to go this far with the series? This was initially a shorter run, am I correct?
Yes was originally planned as a 4 issue mini series. Reaction to it was stronger than I expected so we kept it going. A book about a research scientist trying to fight the system isn’t your typical comic book, so I wasn’t sure we’d find an audience.
I really enjoyed the back matter to the books, with the “Science Class” topics that were more of an incentive to do your own research than a glossary of scientific and political terms. Was this to show the research you put in, to inspire readers, or a bit of both?
Both. A lot of it was stuff I discovered while doing these books. I always tell people to write what you want to know, not what you know. Writing what you know gets boring. I love the research it’s actually my favorite part. So when I find stuff I find interesting I want to share it.
Think Tank fell under the radar for me, but after reading your book, I felt a strong connection to comic stories that I like to read. I grew up on G.I. Joe—immediately the connection between the tech and the personal stories in top level secret organizations was appealing to me.
It fell under most people’s radar. Even though we were able to finish through 12 the sales were still somewhat slow in coming. I’m able to convert a few people at shows I go to, but for a book like this to succeed it needs the readers who do enjoy it helping sell it to other people or they go away.
What other books or movies inspire the world of Think Tank, or are you more inspired by theoretical science and military applications?
Most of my inspiration comes from science journals. Having my science background, it gives me an ability to read at least some of these journals and that reading gives me tons of inspiration for ideas.
I’ve heard you call Think Tank a science thriller. I love that. Is this the first time you’ve applied your physics degree to writing comics, or does that knowledge naturally seep it’s way into your writing and world view?
It seeps into everything, ask my boys, heh. I have a mildly nihilistic outlook on the world so science doesn’t give much comfort to that…but helps explain stuff!
Is there anything you’d care to tell us about Top Cow’s Minotaur Press imprint? What makes the Minotaur books different?
Top Cow has always been an art driven imprint. We’ve established Minotaur as a story-driven brand with projects like Echoes and Think Tank. I’m doing a new project through Minotaur called Wildfire that comes out in June and we’re publishing another book called Shotgun Wedding in April.
You’ve mentioned that digital sales trump print sales for the book, and also this seems the right time for a Season 2 relaunch. Will Rashan Ekedal be returning for the one-shot and Season 2 art?
Yes Rahsan is doing the Think Tank Fun with PTSD one shot that comes out in March and will be returning for our Season 2 launch.
Print sales are still greater than digital sales, but for Top Cow print sales Think Tank is one of the lower selling books but the highest selling digital book…so go figure.
Finally, as President and COO of Top Cow, how do you have time to write both Think Tank and Aphrodite IX? What can we expect this year from the ‘Cow?
It’s all about time management just move from project to project or putting out various fires, heh. I believe in the 80/20 Pareto Principle.
Outside of the stuff I’ve already mentioned I’m insanely excited about Marc Silvestri’s new project Rise of the Magi. He first pitched this to me in 2008 and it’s finally coming out as part of Free Comic Book Day this year. Good stuff.