Matt Frank is a writer and artist currently working @ IDW Publishing. Matt is currently the artist for GODZILLA: RULERS OF EARTH. Today I spoke with Matt about his love for the King of all Monsters and past and present projects.
Hello Matt! Thank you for taking the time for this interview.
Michael Garone: Who or what inspired you to become an artist?
Matt Frank: One of the driving forces of my love for Godzilla, and comics, was the Dark Horse series from my youth. I recall reading them in earnest on the playground after school, waiting for my father to pick me up. Good times. They were always exceedingly well drawn, and the vividness of the art was a great inspiration. Artists in particular who inspired me are Ricardo Delgado, Arthur Adams and William Stout.
MG: First job as a comic book artist?
MF: That would be the Ray Harryhausen Presents series for Blue Water Productions! I started with covers for Back To Mysterious Island, and even got a one shot out of Clash of the Titans: Cyclops!
MG: First Godzilla film you ever watched?
MF: Hmmm...I'd seen Godzilla films peppered about television, but the first one I recall seeing, end-to-end, was Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster, as that was also the first one I owned. Still a favorite to this day.
MG: Favorite Transformers character and why?
MF: Hoo boy. Well, I'm partial to ol' Grimlock, and I loves me some Beast Wars characters for their nuance and incredible voice acting, but aesthetically it's Deszaras...Dezaras? Deathsaurus? Kaiju Chicken Decepticon from Transformers: Victory. He's such a classically Japanese villain that I can't help but love him. His whole motivation for challenging Star Saber to battle was purely so he would be acknowledged as the strongest swordsman in the galaxy.
MG: Who is the one character you have written stories about or drawn that you connected with the most?
MF: That's a good one...well, Godzilla has been the most fun to draw, personally. I'm finding a lot of connection with our character, Lucy, from Rulers of Earth, even though we haven't gotten to do much with her. Still, she's very lovable, at least in our heads!
MG: What was your favorite story arc (involved or not) for IDW’s Godzilla? Is there more than one?
MF: In concept? Gangsters and Goliaths. In execution? Half Century War.
MG: What was your favorite story arc (involved or not) for IDW’s Transformers? Is there more than one?
MF: I am absolutely LOVING the More Than Meets The Eye storyline. One of the best comics I've read in years.
MG: Who of all the characters you have ever drawn is your favorite? Of all the versions of Godzilla you have drawn (Heisei, Millennium) which is your favorite and why?
MF: Godzilla, of course! I'm partial to the later versions of the character, but the classic versions present interesting challenges on how to adapt to my own style. The later versions are the versions I really grew up with, so that's where a lot of the appeal of the Heisei version is for me.
MG: What in your view makes Godzilla more popular than any other monster out there?
MF: I think it's really attributed to his staying power as an icon. The series of decisions that came together to make continuous Godzilla films really kept him in the public eye and moved the franchise forward. His movies also had the advantage of not being bound to the same formula over and over again. Many of the classic Godzilla films really are products of their time, and take full advantage of pop culture genres prevalent in their years and decades surrounding them. You have Godzilla-meets-spy-thriller with Ghidrah: The Three Headed Monster. Godzilla-meets-island-adventure with Sea Monster and Son of Godzilla. There's Godzilla-meets-digital-cyberpunk pervading the 90's. With all of these outside influences, you have a really robust series of flicks.
MG: In Godzilla Rulers of Earth it’s stated by Chris Mowry that you have access to all of Toho’s characters. What are you allowed to talk about as to what is to be expected in the first story arc.
MF: The first story arc is technically the first 8 issues, but it's broken up into major chapters, depending on how you look at it. There's a great battle with Destoroyah coming in issue 4, as shown by the covers. Not to mention some really amazing cameos coming up in the later issues. At the moment, issue 5 is looking to be my personal favorite...and I'm not even drawing it! Jeff Zornow really knows his monsters, and everyone should be stoked for the battles coming. I don't really want to go into much more detail because it'd give away just so much of the coolness factor!
MG: Godzilla Gangsters and Goliaths was in a separate universe from all other IDW Godzilla stories? Rulers is a direct sequel to Kingdom of Monsters correct?
MF: Yup and yup.
MG: Will anything from the Legends storylines come into play in this new series?
MF: There will be influences but no direct connections.
MG: Are you allowed to create your own kaiju in Rulers of Earth? If so, any new monsters you can elaborate on?
MF: We can't really make new monsters, but why would we with SO many classics to utilize?!
MG: Any creatures showing up in G: ROTE from your Kaiju Combat Game?
MF: Maybe I'll throw some in as easter eggs!
MG: How much freedom do you have with the Godzilla license? Do you have to get permission from Toho if you want to kill a monster and are you limited by Kaiju appearances in each story?
MF: We already have a "no monster killing" policy from Toho, but yes, we have to run everything by them. They can run a tight ship...but they HAVE to. (Thanks a lot, Tristar!) We're not limited to appearances but we try to make sure that the monsters make SENSE in the story before throwing them in.
MG: What are your expectations for the Godzilla 2014 film?
MF: It's hard to be cynical at this point. There's so much positive energy around the film that I can't help but be excited. I really want a good film. That's all. Something coherent and well-paced with good characters and a solid plot.
MG: Do you have any current or future projects you can talk about?
MF: My big current projects are RULERS OF EARTH and COLOSSAL KAIJU COMBAT. Beyond that? I'm working with Jeremy Robinson (author of Project Nemesis) on another book right now...and there's definitely other stuff coming down the pipe, but nothing I can mention right now!
Godzilla: Rulers of Earth is now slated for a 12 issue run. Great job by Chris Mowry, Matt Frank and the whole IDW team for making great Godzilla stories!
Godzilla: Rulers of Earth issue 4 is out now. Issue 5 hits newsstands October 23rd! Be sure to check it out and support a great series!
For more on Godzilla: Rulers of Earth go to the OFFICIAL Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/GodzillaRulersOfEarth
If you are interested in Matt’s COLOSSAL KAIJU COMBAT game please go here: http://sunstone.co/games/kaiju-combat/
For all your IDW updates please check out idwpublishing.com.