Matt Hawkins is a busy man. In addition serving as President and CCO of Top Cow Productions, he's also recently returned to writing full-time with the ongoing "Think Tank" and relaunched "Aphrodite IX." He took time out of his busy schedule to visit the all-new CBR Speakeasy and chat about his move back to the writing side of comics, Top Cow's plans for "The Darkness," Ron Marz returning to "Witchblade," publishing titles based on the Honor Harrington novel series, working with Colleen Doran on the upcoming "Control" and more.
On moving back to writing after being on the business side of comics: "Think Tank" was something I just wanted to do. It was sort of a passion project. "Aphrodite IX" started out when I looked at it and realized I'm the cheapest writer I have because I don't pay myself. There's a lot of writers in comics, but there's only a handful that actually have the ability to increase sales. So if I'm going to have to pay someone to write it or write it myself and it's going to sell the same numbers, it makes economic sense to write it myself.
On Top Cow's plans for "The Darkness:: We've been developing the film off and on for 12 years. You know how these things go, everyone makes their movie announcements -- "Oh, I've got my movie done." That only really works every few times. I was talking to somebody recently and even with the fewer projects that are being developed, one in about 20 gets made. It used to be one in 100 or something like that. But we've been developing and if we see the third video game go or the film get made, I think we'll do something new with it. At some point, there are franchises where I think they get tired. Is that a terrible thing to say? I think they need a break, so we're going to be doing something different. We've taken a break with "The Darkness" before and we've killed the character a couple of times and brought him back. It's not like it's an unheard of thing for that title. But we're going to end it and there are no immediate plans [to bring it back]. If we do bring it back, it'll be at least 2 years.
On the future of "Witchblade" and bringing back writer Ron Marz: It was one of those things where I started looking at it and Tim's run was coming to an end. He's more of a creator-owned guy, but he liked the character and said he'd do X amount of issues for us. I was looking at who we were going to hire to take the book over. We looked at issue #170 -- we like round numbers for new teams -- I started looking around, I flirted briefly with the idea of writing it myself or getting Silvestri to write it, but I realized I don't have time, he doesn't have time. We knew we were going to get a female artist, Laura Braga to draw the book, which is the first time we've had a female artist on the book in about 7 years. Ron is known for being a gender-friendly writer. I think the idea with that title -- it's been stereotyped as being a T&A type book, even though I don't think it's been that way since the first two or three years of the title. I think Ron is good doing the supernatural stuff and good character stuff, and that's what we want to focus on.
On Top Cow's SDCC announcement of a new licensed comic based on David Weber's Honor Harrington novels: It's a series of novels that I had honestly not heard of. It was picked up by a group to make a film out of, they're actually making the film and it comes out in 2015. They have scripts and they're developing and they're doing all kinds of crazy stuff. There are all these novels, they've sold like 200 million books. It's one of these hyper sci-fi space opera military books. I was talking to them and they said, "Our primary audience are these older military guys." There's this hardcore audience to this book and they wanted to do a graphic novel or series of comics to give it a youthful demeanor. I look at our core audience at 18-39 and they're looking at 50s, so I think we can deliver the book to a slightly younger demographic.
It's kind of "Battlestar Galactica"/"Star Trek"/"Star Wars" -- all that stuff -- and it's set up in a really crazy world. It's all humans -- there are some aliens, but mostly it's that humans have colonized the world and humans are still fighting each other from the different places they've got. … It's a female lead. She has short hair and she's tall. Even in the books, they say she's "not a traditionally beautiful woman." She's the captain of a ship in the Royal Manticoran Navy. The ship she flies is called HMS Fearless. … There's a lot of parallels to Earth's history.
On Colleen Doran's "Control": We were originally calling it "The Clock," but we changed it because we found out Warren Ellis was doing a book called "The Clock." It's in the vein of "Think Tank," so it's in that world -- what I call Science Thriller. It's sort of a eugenics conspiracy thriller dealing with a Monsanto type corporation and a cabal of people like in the "X-Files," who put together a way to thin the herd. They do it in an interesting way. The lead character is a geneticist out of Georgetown who's the foremost researcher on cancer in the world. He gets involved in this unwittingly and has to save the world.