Skip to main content

Matt Hawkins Interview: 'Dante,' 'Golgotha,' and What's Next for Top Cow


Matt Hawkins is one the busiest men in comics. Among his many duties, Hawkins is the President/ Chief Operating Officer of Top Cow Productions and a passionate writer and creator himself. Having published over a thousand comics in his 20 years at Image/Top Cow hasn't diminished his desire to continue to make great stories. 

I was lucky enough to interview Matt earlier this year as his one-shot, Dante, was about to debut and discussed working with artist Darick Robertson, what keeps him going, and what more we can expect from him and Top Cow. Also, be sure to check out his latest venture, a Kickstarter campaign for Golgotha, a comic co-written with Postal scribe Bryan Hill and artists Yuki Saeki and Bryan Valenza. See the promo video after the interview. 



Matt, you often write about characters that find motivation in the “ends justify the means” credo whether it’s robbing a megachurch to give to charity, the harboring of criminals to retain power and anonymity in a small town in Wyoming, or in the case of the one-shot ‘Dante,’ a man provides for his family as a cold-blooded assassin. What is it about your characters’ dichotomy that you find most interesting?

I’ve never actually realized this, so first off, great question! I like characters with depth, especially villains. I really hate villains that are one-note bad guys. To me, every villain thinks they’re a hero in their own narcissistic twisted logic. I think heroes with flaws and bad habits also make them more interesting. People generally are not polarized good and evil, so playing with all those shades in the middle is fun. It has better emotional resonance and is fodder for great conflict. I’ve done some things in my life that I’m not proud of. I sometimes have a hard time rectifying to myself that the good person I think I am committed such an act. I’ve never killed anyone, but everyone pushes their own morality at times. I think, to sum up, the answer to the question is I find these characters more interesting and that makes them fun to write.

The supernatural aspect of the book is centered in Chinese black magic called “Gu.” It’s the first I’ve heard of it so how did you come across it and what about it made it the perfect vehicle for this story?

That came from the original outline creator/writer Jason Ning. I’d never heard of it prior to writing this either. It works in the story because it is so foreign and no one knows what it is. I think that makes it scarier and more mysterious. 


You’ve co-written books in the past. What was it like writing with Jason Ning and how do maintain a singular voice in a comic?

Jason wrote an original one-page outline a couple years ago and I was hired to write the comic. I did several drafts and eventually submitted one and he did a minor dialogue tweak pass on it. I think I spoke to him once. I worked through Cryptozoic Entertainment for that one. They’re the ones that hired me.

Darick Robertson seemed like a perfect fit for ‘Dante.’ What is it about his style that lends itself to grittier storytelling like yours?

Darick is a madman of amazing skill and talent. It was a pleasure to work with him on this. Clean and pretty linework works well for super-hero stories, but Darick’s work has a rawness to it. An edge that makes is exciting and kind of scary in a good way. I’m hoping to work with him again real soon.

The comic book industry can be a tough business. How do you keep the passion alive for a medium that is so often undervalued?

I have an incredible amount of freedom to essentially write whatever I want. That’s pretty awesome. Especially when it all gets published too! That freedom has a responsibility though so I have to vett what I do carefully. I have to keep the company alive and thriving! I genuinely love what I’m doing and work hard to keep building readership. It’s never easy, but no one ever said it would be.

Top Cow seems to march to its own drumbeat. It’s been able to fly above the fray, avoiding major reboots, unnecessarily huge crossovers, and a reliance on superheroes. What can we expect in 2017?

We’ve got some major reboots, huge cross-overs, and a new super-hero line...just kidding =p We’re continuing Postal, Think Tank, have a new Samaritan series all from the Eden’s Fall line. In the Sejic Sunstone world, we’re launching a new title called Swing by me, Jenni Cheung and Linda Sejic. In the Top Cow Universe, we’ve got new Magdalena, Tom Judge and one other that we’ll be announcing at ECCC.


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Golgotha,” is a new Kickstarter project from Top Cow Productions and writers Matt Hawkins and Bryan Hill, and artists Yuki Saeki and Bryan Valenza. Check out this promotional video and consider donating to this exciting sci-fi epic.



Popular posts from this blog

PREVIEW: 'Tet' #4 by Paul Allor and Paul Tucker

We've seen Eugene's story. But during his last day's in Vietnam, he finally learns how Ha survived the war. She's always been much stronger than him; and much stronger than he's given her credit for. With all their secrets gone, Ha and Eugene must decide how to move forward.

REVIEW: 'Slots' #1 by Dan Panosian

Created, written, and drawn by Dan Panosian, 'Slots' #1 is his baby and he has a story to tell at his own damn pace. This beautifully illustrated story is centered squarely on former boxer Stanley Dance and his attempt to find redemption despite being someone without many redeeming qualities.


SLOTS #1 
Writer: Dan Panosian Artist: Dan Panosian Publisher: Image Comics Release Date: October 4, 2017 Cover Price: $3.99
Score: ★★★★☆ (4/5)
'Slots' is more of a character study than a rip-roaring crime caper but Panosian's protagonist is a charming cad, full of confidence, capable of swindling you out of a restaurant bill with a devilish grin on his face. He's headed back to Vegas to fulfill a favor he owes. He returns to his old haunts where everyone knows him and knows he must be playing some kind of angle. 'Slots' succeeds because Stanley is so magnetic even when he's a jerk he's interesting. So following him around town meeting up with old friends is…

REVIEW: 'Cyber Force' #3 by Bryan Hill, Matt Hawkins, and Atilio Rojo

The story of Aphrodite is the focus of 'Cyber Force' #3. This compelling chapter continues to build the new world of Top Cow's reimagined original title. Corporate greed leads to murder and coercion until one doctor's obsession results in a powerful revelation.


CYBER FORCE #3 
Writer: Matt Hawkins, Bryan Hill Artist: Atilio Rojo Letterer: Troy Peteri Editor: Elena Salcedo Publisher: Image Comics Release Date: May 30, 2018 Cover Price: $3.99
Score: ★★★★1/2 (4.5/5)
Marc Silvestri released 'Cyber Force' twenty-six years ago and this second reboot of the former flagship series rests in the hands of writers Bryan Hill and Matt Hawkins. It was only a matter of time before we'd get the whereabouts of the sentient android Aphrodite. Hill and Hawkins dedicate this issue to her story, and it's probably the best in the series so far. We get very little Carin and Morgan in order to give what is essentially an unnerving scientific horror story. 
Cyber Data is the or…

REVIEW: 'Cyber Force' #2 by Matt Hawkins, Bryan Hill, and Atilio Rojo

As Carin becomes accustomed to her new abilities, Stryker is determined to keep her out of the line of fire. He knows these "gifts" come at a price. Meanwhile, The Accuser recruits a dangerous ally.


CYBER FORCE #2  
Writer: Matt Hawkins, Bryan Hill Artist: Atilio Rojo Letterer: Troy Peteri Edited by Elena Salcedo Publisher: Image Comics Release Date: April 25, 2018 Cover Price: $3.99
Score: ★★★★☆ (4/5)
Matt Hawkins and Bryan Hill set the foundation in issue one with the explosive and destructive arrival of The Accuser. In her wake was the shattered body of Stryker, who along with his paraplegic daughter, get an extraordinary chance to become not only whole again but enhanced. Carin has taken to her powerful working legs with enthusiasm and joy. Stryker not so much because he knows they're being used by C.O.I.It's an uneasy arrangement but origin stories are rarely simple and carefree. Whether one's powers are considered a gift or a curse, there is a price to pay i…

WONDER WOMAN OF THE DAY: Fitness Model Gia Macool Embodies the Amazon Princess

The closest we'll ever get, probably, to superheroes in real life is through the great work of cosplayers. You see them at every pop culture convention from the very basic to extremely elaborate costume design. However, you don't have to be a cosplayer to enjoy dressing up as your favorite superhero from time to time. Take fitness model and entrepreneur Gia Macool for example. An accomplished fitness competitor and model, Macool is also a big fan of DC Comics' Wonder Woman. She shows her love of the iconic Amazon Princess in her fitness wear, meal prep accessories and even a full blown photo shoot in a Wonder Woman costume. 

For decades comics have featured very muscular superheroes, male and female, epitomizing the human form at its strongest. So when bodybuilders and fitness pros decide to suit up as these costumed heroes, they are the embodiment of those fictional characters in the flesh. Macool looks like she stepped out of the pages of a Wonder Woman comic with a suit …