Matt Gagnon Archives - Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources

‘Adapt, innovate, execute’: Matt Gagnon on BOOM!’s 2012 and 2013

Matt Gagnon

Although I’ve known him for a few years from frequent drop-ins at the BOOM! Studios booth on the convention circuit, I haven’t ever had the opportunity to interview Matt Gagnon, the company’s editor-in-chief. So I jumped at the chance to talk to him for ROBOT 6′s anniversary.

Matt Gagnon joined BOOM! in 2008 to edit its Farscape comics after working as buyer and purchasing manager for Hollywood’s Meltdown Comics. He moved up fairly quickly, becoming managing editor, then editor-in-chief when Mark Waid was named chief creative officer in 2010. This past year saw the launch of BOOM!’s ultra-popular Adventure Time comic book, as well as several other kids’ series as a part of the KaBOOM! line. The publisher also announced a new Hellraiser series and put out several original series, like Higher Earth, Freelancers (which Gagnon co-created) and last week’s Deathmatch, just to name a few.

My thanks to Matt for his time, as well to BOOM!’s Filip Sablik, who helped set it all up.

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Talking Comics with Tim | Matt Gagnon

Adventure Time

In an ideal world, all comic book editor-in-chiefs should experience working at a comic book store. Such is the case with current BOOM! Studios EIC Matt Gagnon, who spent a spell as buyer and purchasing manager for Hollywood’s Meltdown Comics. Gagnon recently took some time to discuss BOOM!’s transition away from the Disney properties and toward KaBOOM! books like Peanuts and Adventure Time, as well as creator-owned works such as Roger Langridge’s Snarked. The bulk of this interview took place well before Newsarama’s report that Mark Waid’s Irredeemable and Incorruptible were both drawing to a close this May, but Gagnon and I spoke of it briefly after the news broke. I will be curious to see what big news BOOM! will have in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, enjoy this interview. Me? I wish I was a young writer, so that I could get Gagnon to send me a Mark Waid script.

Tim O’Shea: What were your priorities when you took over the EIC role, and how successfully did you achieve what you set out to accomplish with the BOOM! line?

Matt Gagnon: I was—and continue to be—focused on maintaining the level of execution that the fans expect of us and we expect of ourselves. Before I became EIC I had already spent two years as Managing Editor, building a style and a system of how we make comics and fulfill the promises of what we solicit. Not to oversimplify our principals, but at its core we’re all about publishing great comics and shipping them on time. This July will be my 2 year anniversary as EIC and I feel like we’ve only been getting better and better.

Back in 2008 when I came to the company, one of my first goals was to make sure the trains were running on time. We’ve been very consistent since then and I’m extremely proud of the reputation we’ve garnered. It’s a testament to the insanely talented team we have here at BOOM! and the dedicated network of talent we have involved in our comics. We’ve been recognized by Diamond and our retail partners for two years in a row with the Best Publisher Award (under 4%).

Anybody who knows me knows that I have high expectations of myself and my team. I want to maximize every opportunity that we have. I don’t just want to do Planet of the Apes comics; I want to do the best Planet of the Apes comics, you know? The same goes for Hellraiser, 28 Days Later, Adventure Time, or anything else that we publish.

Creatively, I’ve always had a vision for our line and I’m proud of all that we’re accomplishing. We continue to achieve our goals every day, every time we send another issue to print that we’re proud of. But there’s always more to be done and bigger goals that we’re working toward. You can never rest on your laurels.

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BOOM! Studios offers late artist’s work for free

As JK noted a few days ago, Dutch artist Mick Oosterveer died last weekend in a motorcycle accident at the age of 50. Oosterveer was well known in Europe for his daily strip Nicky Saxx, but he had also collaborated with Mark Waid on a number of comics for the U.S. market, including two four-issue series, The Unknown and The Unknown: The Devil Made Flesh, about a detective who has a brain tumor and only six months to live.

In honor of Oosterveer, BOOM! Studios has made both collected editions available for free via comiXology (click the links above to go to the download pages). If this is your first time on comiXology, you will have to create an account, but it’s painless, and once you download the comics, you can read them on pretty much any device you own. Both comics also are available via the iPad app. There’s no mention of how long they will be available for free.

BOOM! Editor-in-Chief Matt Gagnon has also penned a nice appreciation of Oosterveer.

(Via Johanna Draper Carlson, who gave The Unknown a good review when it first came out.)

Update: BOOM! sent out a notice this morning noting that the comics are also available for free on iVerse, Graphicly and mydigitalcomics.

Comics in the classroom: A visit from BOOM! Studios

Chris Schweizer is a professor of Sequential Art at the Atlanta branch of the Savannah College of Art and Design as well as the creator of Crogan’s Vengeance and Crogan’s March, so when Matt Gagnon and Ian Brill of BOOM! Studios came for a visit, he took the opportunity to sketch them along with his class. This is just a small piece of it; click to see the full drawing.

Also, congratulations are in order: Chris recently received a SCAD Presidential Fellowship, which includes a grant for a personal project; his will be an annotated sketchbook collecting his character designs, research drawings, thumbnails, and other preliminary work.


Talking Comics with Tim: Daryl Gregory

Dracula: The Company of Monsters

Dracula: The Company of Monsters

Back when I interviewed novelist Daryl Gregory in February for my pop culture blog (TalkingwithTim) I found myself thinking: “I bet it’s not long before Gregory’s writing comics”. But to find out a few months later that he was teaming with one of my favorite comics writer, Kurt Busiek, still took me by surprise (in a positive way, promise). On August 25 (next Wednesday), BOOM! Studios will release the first issue of Busiek and Gregory’s Dracula: The Company Of Monsters #1. Back on August 9, CBR offered a preview of the first issue. As described there, the concept of the ongoing series is “A powerful, predatory corporation acquires a valuable asset…Dracula! They think they own him, but no one can own the Son of the Dragon. There’s a monster in their midst that puts Hannibal Lecter to shame–and he plans to gain his freedom in blood. It’s bloodsuckers vs. bloodsucker, as Busiek brings an incredibly modern spin to the Dracula mythos.” In addition to the preview, once you’ve read this interview with Gregory, be sure to enjoy CBR’s July 29 interview with Busiek about the project. All combined, with this info you’ll hopefully find a number of reasons to be on the lookout for the first issue next Wednesday.

Tim O’Shea: Did BOOM or Busiek contact you to join the project?

Daryl Gregory: Matt Gagnon from BOOM! contacted me. Chris Roberson, a friend of mine and a fantastic writer who’s doing a book for them (DUST TO DUST, the officially sanctioned prequel to DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRONIC SHEEP), basically forced my first novel into Matt’s hands. Kurt had pitched them his idea for Dracula but didn’t have room on his schedule to write it, and fortunately, something in Matt’s head went “ding!” When he asked me if I’d like to co-write a comic with Kurt Busiek, I thought about it for perhaps 2 nanoseconds. I’ve been a fan of Kurt’s since THUNDERBOLTS, and MARVELS was a huge influence on me.

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Talking Comics with Tim: Phil Hester

The Anchor

The Anchor

Writer Phil Hester is clearly enthused about his new creator-owned collaboration with artist Brian Churilla on BOOM’s The Anchor. Not all creators are game to discuss the mechanics of the craft, and I was pleased when Hester was game. In addition to mechanics, we get to discuss the series ([Pre-Order at Your Local Comic Shop by August 25, 2009 {Today}; Diamond order code: AUG090716] set to launch in October).  As detailed at the BOOM! site: “THE ANCHOR. Holy warrior, unholy war. Freak of nature, beast of burden, hulking outcast, medieval prize fighter, Viking raider… God’s leg-breaker. One thousand years ago a hulking outcast sought refuge in the crumbling ruins of an ancient monastery and offered in return the one thing he had to give – his fists. Transformed into an immortal warrior monk standing at the gates of Hell itself to keep our world free from its invading armies, The Anchor is mysteriously tricked into centuries of slumber. But today, this holy warrior rises to battle all the unholy monsters unleashed during his slumber.” Be sure to also check out this preview of issue 1.

Tim O’Shea: What attracted you to working with BOOM! on this project, as opposed to pitching it to other companies?

Phil Hester: In all honesty, we pitched it a lot of places at once, and though other publishers made us offers BOOM! was the only place that saw our pitch and said “yes” without reservations. Also, they have a good reputation with retailers and fans, and among pros they’re known as a publisher that will hustle their collective ass off to get your book in front of eyes.

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