Matt Hawkins currently holds the position of President/Chief Operating Officer at Top Cow Productions, the company behind comic book series like The Darkness, Witchblade and Cyber Force. Working alongside Chief Executive Officer and renowned penciller Marc Silvestri, his role covers not only comics, but the video games and TV series inspired by them. You’d think that would be enough to fill his working day, but he also finds the time to put pen to paper to script comic series like Lady Pendragon, the forthcoming relaunch of Aphrodite IX and the current, whip-smart science thriller, Think Tank. On top of all that, he’s even found a few minutes to answer our questions…
What’s your earliest memory of coming into contact with the world of comics?
I didn't collect comics before I started working in the industry so my first exposure to comics were the 1992 Image Comics launch titles.
Is there one person you would say is responsible more than anyone else for helping you get your foot in the industry door?
Rob Liefeld hired me in April of 1993 and gave me a job in marketing initially that I did at Extreme Studios. I worked for Rob until 1997 when I went into self-publishing with Lady Pendragon and some other books. I started at Top Cow in mid 1998.
Why comics and not plumbing or brain surgery?
Seemed like a fun field. I didn't like what I was doing and people in comics seemed (from the outside) to be "living the dream".
What musical delights help you get your head in the right place to start creating?
Daft Punk. I listen to their music for Think Tank. For Lady Pendragon and Aphrodite IX I listen to the Conan The Barbarian soundtrack.
What artists inspire your work?
Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Robert Heinlein.
Which piece of your own published work are you most proud?
Think Tank Volume 1 trade paperback. It's the first time I have had a book come out exactly the way I wanted it to.
What’s been your biggest challenge so far in comics?
Pretending that I cared about super-heroes. I finally gave that up and came clean with my general dislike of the genre.
What are you currently working on, and why should we be excited to see the final product?
Think Tank and Aphrodite IX are my main focus right now. People know what Think Tank is all about but Aphrodite IX I think will catch people off guard. Working with Stjepan Šejić is pretty awesome.
Where do you see the industry in 10 years?
Hopefully more diverse and stronger than ever. I don't know how to answer questions like this.
You meet someone unfamiliar with the world of comics - what book would you place in their hands to convince them of the medium's worth and potentially convert them to the cause?
It would depend on their age, gender and what I knew about them. A 12 year old kid I'd give Bone. A 30 year old woman I'd give Strangers In Paradise.
Three recommendations in books/movies/music/TV that you can't get enough of at this moment in time?
Game Of Thrones is great. The Sarum novel is absolutely fascinating and I really dug Looper.
You’re evacuating the planet Earth ahead of its imminent destruction and you only have a chance to grab three comics and/or graphic novels before you leave. What would they be and why?
Which three comic characters would you most like to go for a beer with (and why)?
What would you most want to be remembered for?
At this point Think Tank, ask me next year and it might be different. I care about the books I do and I put a lot into them. Hopefully people read them.
Kirby – king of comics?
I had the pleasure of meeting him and Roz in the early days of Image and unfortunately at the time did not know who he was. That meeting today would have been very different.
Think Tank #6 is released this Wednesday, 27th April.