In the "Rotworld" story running through Animal Man and Swamp Thing this fall, the Rot has already taken over the DCU in the future and it's too late to stop the decay that results.
But in Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E., the title character will get involved in the fight against the Rot in a story that will involved Franky's arch-nemesis, Victor Frankenstein.
Matt Kindt took over Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E. earlier this year when Jeff Lemire moved to Justice League Dark. Both writers came to DC after years creating indie comics as both writer and artist. Now Kindt and Lemire will work together on "Rotworld."
Newsarama talked with Kindt to find out more about the challenge of Victor Frankenstein, how the Frankenstein title ties into "Rotworld" and what else readers can expect as the title heads into next year.
Newsarama: Matt, this book has been described as a "monster book" in the past, but you're injecting so much character development with all the weirdness that it feels very different from what would be considered a monster book. Has that been your goal? Is there a certain vision you can describe for this book?
Matt Kindt: Yeah, I'm not really sure what a "monster book" should be. It honestly wasn't one of my favorite kinds of books growing up. I never really got those kinds of things. So in a way I initially approached with the idea of making a monster book that would get me interested. In some ways this was made a little easier because of what Jeff had done already — which already made it something I liked. So I was conscious of picking up the ball where he left it and carrying it forward but then also getting to some things that interest me a little more like the idea of who Frankenstein is, where'd he come from? And then how is that going to affect his future and the relationships he makes (mostly with Nina).With all of that said, I am getting a kick out of the unique challenge of having Frank fight a different beast/creature/weirdness in every issue. I like the idea that while Frank, in any other book would be considered the "monster" — in his own book he's the most normal thing in it.
And finally, gadgets. If I can't get a good S.H.A.D.E. gadget into each issue, I'm not satisfied! That's really been my secret joy — I actually have made myself laugh out loud as I've been writing, and usually walk through the house to find my wife so I can tell her what the new gadget and acronym are that I made up. I really think I derive more joy from that then I should, but I can't help it. I love a good gadget and that more than anything lets me tap into my inner Jack Kirby.
Nrama: Now that issue #0 revealed Frankenstien's origin, what does that mean for the book going forward?
Kindt: Well, it's introduced Frank's archenemy. I felt like he needed to have something like that. An ultimate foil that he'd always be struggling with. So that every time Frank starts to feel normal, or like he's fitting in, or like maybe a relationship with Nina just might work out, Victor is going to come back and remind him, "hey, remember? You're made from pieces of crazy people and murderers" — and another battle ensues!
Nrama: What do you think makes him an ideal arch-nemesis for this point in Frankenstein's story?
Kindt: Nina was doing such a good job of improving Frank's self-image and the idea that maybe he isn't a monster that of course, we can't let that happen! Victor will always be there to remind Frank where he came from. He's like the worst dad ever.
Nrama: And now Victor's part of your "Rotworld" tie-in story. Why did you think it made sense for Frankenstein to get involved with "Rotworld?"
Kindt: Well, for a real world explanation, Jeff and Scott and I are friends outside of comics, so we thought it would be fun to work together. They came up with the "Rotworld" stuff, and I kept telling Jeff that "Rotworld" is no big deal. Frank is totally immune to all of that, so go ahead and wreck the world and Frank will be the last one standing and be king of the universe!So...that's kind of what's happening — sort of!
Nrama: While your #12 gave a little set-up for the Rotworld tie-ins, for readers who might be jumping on just for these issues (or came on board with #0), can you describe the premise for the tie-in issues? How does Frankenstein get involved in "Rotworld?"
Kindt: Frank's sort of on the fringe of the DCU already — even more so than Animal Man and Swamp Thing — so he gets the dirty cross-the-world style mission that everybody else is too busy, too scared, or too dead to do.
In a way, they are going to utilize him as part of their team — everyone has their strengths, so they're going to get him to use his strength (stubbornness) to get some secret plans together that will help (spoiler) save the day at the very end.
Nrama: Fans have really come to love the supporting cast in this title. Will they be there for "Rotworld" and into the future of the title?
Kindt: I've been trying to isolate different characters to give them some more room to breathe as I've gone forward with the series, so we could really get to know each member of the team a little better. In Rotworld we're going to get a lot of Velcoro and some more Nina. The team will always be there but before I bring them all back together I'm trying to spotlight each member separately so we can see why they're each so cool.
Nrama: It looks there's a whole army involved in this fight. How does that affect the dynamic of the title during the event?
Kindt: It gets super-gross! Alberto's monsters are so disgusting (and awesome)! There's a monster in issue 14 that is so funny, gross, and sad — I can't wait for people to read it. The only hint I'll give is that he lives under the Golden Gate Bridge...
Nrama: What interests you as a writer about the creator/creation conflict?
Kindt: Well, mainly that theme is just so rich with potential. You can get into so much. Father, son relationships. Human/God relationships. The idea of owing your existence to someone else is such a big thing ("is there a god"), but it can also be a non-issue ("I love my parents"), so the challenge is to tackle it in a way that is engaging, dramatic, and show how a monster with sword deals with those kinds of issues.
Nrama: You've certainly impressed fans with your ability to pick right up with Frankenstein's unique voice and the weirdness of S.H.A.D.E. Was that the result of the practice you got from your Men of War story, or did you have to work to find that? And how would you describe his voice?
Kindt: I definitely had to work on it. The biggest trick was figuring out that he doesn't use any contractions in his speech. Once you get that down, the rest is kind of easy.I love the idea that he's such a big brute but he's also got this crazy side of him that loves poetry and can also be well-spoken. Sometimes he just chooses to grunt and punch rather than talk.
The moment I finally wrapped my head around his character is when I realized he was basically Conan, who went and got his masters degree. That's a dangerous combination.
Nrama: Much of your work in the comics industry has been as a writer/artist, and usually on graphic novels. How has it been writing a monthly book for the last few months — and writing for another artist?
Kindt: In short, it's been super easy! I don't have to draw anything! I just get to make it up and let Alberto worry about the rest! Honestly, it was a little strange at first — I would just sit down and try to type up the scripts and it would take a long time.
Then I realized what was wrong. I always thumbnail my stories before I draw/script them and I wasn't doing that step with Frankenstein.
So around issue #12, I started thumbnailing/sketching out the entire issue and then typing up a script based on the thumbnails. Now, no one sees those thumbnails but me but I find that comics is such a visual story-telling medium that I really think in visuals/panels/pages when I write so I have to do that step whether any one sees it or not.
Nrama: You mentioned Alberto Ponticelli, but DC announced that he's moving over to draw Dial H beginning in December. Is he still drawing your issue #15 as solicitations indicate? What has he brought to the comic (and the "Rotworld" issues in particular)? And what does his departure mean for the future of the Frankenstein series?
Kindt: He's still drawing #15 — and #16 I think.
Nrama: Wow, he's fast too.
Kindt: Alberto is so great and so quick. I'm actually amazed when his pencils come in so soon after I've turned in the script — and they're so detailed. He puts everything into it and more. It's been great collaborating with him and having him make my crude monster descriptions into something completely disgusting and awesome.As for new artist — still waiting to hear, but they'll have big shoes to fill.
Nrama: Can you describe what 2013 will bring to the Frankenstein title?
Kindt: Well, Frank is going to be roped back into SHADE (after he tries to leave) and I'm going to pair him up with each of the team members individually so we can get more of their back story and get to really love them all before I kill someone off — that's what writers love to do!
Nrama: Do you have any other projects coming out in the next few months that you want to tell fans about?
Kindt: I'm continuing my monthly Mind MGMT series — currently on issue #5 and the first story arc is about to wrap up. I've already started in on issues #6 through #12, and it's going to be even crazier. On this book I'm doing everything — writing, penciling, inking, lettering, coloring, design, so it's keeping me pretty busy.
Nrama: Anything else you want to tell fans about what's coming in Frankenstein Agent of S.H.A.D.E.?
Kindt: Buy the book! Even if you don't like monsters, you'll grow to love 'em!
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