article by Damm
Mat Nastos has been making an impact since he started in comics, and in January he hopes to do it again. The Elfquest legend has been recruited by Marat Mychaels to pen the Blindside Kickstarter Project and couldn’t be happier. The writer/director, self-publisher of Cadre through his own Nifty Comics back in 1996, Elfsong and his involvement in over 75 films make him a great choice for the job. Not only does he have the chops but the passion, and when working on a Creator-Owned baby funded by fans like Mychaels’ Blindside, passion is the name of the game.
Blindside, for those who may not know, is an ex-secret agent for the Orion Sector who is forced to wear briefly the Medusa Helmet – a weapon made for a villain Ronald Quinn who subsequently frames him for the murder of the inventor of the helmet. As time progresses we see the helmet has given him the ability to see through objects, night vision, enhanced reflexes and some invulnerability. Now he needs to clear his name. And blow things up. And Shoot stuff in the name of Justice. Now whether this is still the origin time will tell but Mat Nastos has had some great ideas before. I asked him some questions on another topic and he replied very graciously (stay tuned for more on this) then inevetibly, fan to fan Blindside came up. So I asked him some questions. He answered again. Cool.
1. Tell us about Blindside, who he is and where he came from, for the readers who are unfamiliar – why bring him back do you think today’s readers may find him more appealing and/or marketable today than 15 years ago?
MN -Blindside was created by Marat Mychaels about 15 years ago, back when he was one of the key artists with Extreme Studios at Image Comics. This is me totally speaking for Marat here, but he was inspired by all of the hardcore, street level action superheroes that our generation grew up loving — Daredevil, Spider-man, Deadpool, Deathstroke, even Nightwing. Characters full of action, highly acrobatic and ready to kick some ass.
The character appeared in his own comic from Image back in the late 90s and then went on to make a few appearances here and there. Unfortunately for those of us who were fans of Blindside, Marat was called away to work on other books and his creator owned project was left behind.
The funny thing is, to this day, I hear people talking about their love for that single issue of Blindside that Image put out. I hear it from fans and other professionals alike! It’s crazy how much love there still is for this character who only appeared in a couple of comics. That everlasting love is a testament for the incredibly iconic design Marat came up with for Blindside, along with some pretty killed action sequences in Blindside #1. When I mention to people that I’m writing a new Blindside series for Marat, almost every single one brings up his cool design and the amazing action sequence that was the tent-pole piece in the comic.
As to why we’re bringing him back after 15 years and why people will find him more appealing? That’s simple: hardcore action. Marat and I have very similar tastes in comics and movies, which was something that clicked between us when we met. We both love John Woo movies, Tango & Cash, Michael Bay and Quentin Tarantino films. And, as we talked, we agreed that one of the things that was missing from modern comics was action and excitement.
Let’s face it, for the past 10 years or so, talking head comics and photo-realistic art has dominated the industry. And, that stuff is great. However, along the way, as the art became more and more realistic, comics started to look like very pretty, very boring movies. No longer did we see over-the-top action.
After finishing up a run on Deadpool Corps for Marvel, Marat mentioned to me that he was going to bring Blindside back and that the wanted to make it a testosterone-filled comic made for guys like us. That’s all I needed to hear — I was in.
That’s what Blindside is going to be: a comic with a lot of balls and no excuses, and I think fans are going to dig it.
2. Tell us why Blindside has such a dear place for you and how you got involved with Blindside Kickstarter project. Did the desire to do it “your way” make Kickstarter the preferable way of approaching it?
This is really more of a question for Marat to answer. I can go over why I wanted to be involved.
What it comes down to is that I am a fan of the character, a fan of Marat’s spectacular artwork and a fan of hardcore action. This book brings three things I love together and mashes them all up. I had already written (and directed) a couple of high action films for the SyFy Channel and this was a great excuse for me to do the same thing with comics.
As for Kickstart, I know that Marat is dedicated 5+ months of his life to get Blindside drawn. He’s not taking any other gigs and isn’t taking a dime from Kickstarter for himself. This is an all-in bet for his career. As well as being an amazing artist, Marat is also a pretty smart cat. To compete with the big boys of comics, he knew he had to hire the best people around to help do the jobs he can’t do himself — things like high end coloring and lettering. He also knew he would need to have covers done by some of the absolute best artists around — guys like J Scott Campbell, Rob Liefeld, Ethan Van Sciver and a couple of others that haven’t been announced yet. And to get those guys, to give Blindside the best possible chance to succeed, Marat knew he was going to need to pay for them.
That’s what Kickstarter does for a project like this: helps to give it a fighting chance in an incredibly tough industry.
3. Will Image (original publisher) pick this book up once it reaches full production from fan support or will the book be self-published?
Nothing has been signed yet, but I do know that Marat will approach Image about publishing once he gets the first couple of issues drawn and colored. Before that point, there’s really not much need to get a publisher lined up. I, for one, would love to see Blindside return to the company that originally published his adventures. What would be cooler than that after 15 years away? It’d also be a nice push to have Blindside taking part of the Image 20 year anniversary next year. Marat was there with Image at the beginning and it’d be awesome to see him as still a part of it 20 years later.
I also wanted to say that Marat and I are both completely dedicated to Blindside. We’re both giving it 110% and we’re going to have all 4 issues completed before the first issue is solicited in October (we’re aiming for a January 2012 release to coincide with the start of the Image 20th Anniversary). You just don’t hear about that kind of dedication to a project — when was the last time even a Marvel or DC book had every issue finished before solicitation? Never as far as I know!
4.Will there be familiar villains and supporting cast or only all new characters?
Blindside is going to pick up two years after the original issue. You’re going to see some familiar faces in terms of the supporting cast, but we’re loading it to the gills with new bad guys for Blindside to face. One of the villains Marat designed is easily one of the coolest, most bad-ass characters I’ve ever seen in a comic, film or video game. I don’t want to give too much away, so I’ll just say this: chainsaw katana.
The cool thing about the new series is that it will be completely accessible for new readers — you won’t have to have read any of Blindside’s original appearances in either the original Blindside #1 or Asylum. Everything you need to know is right there in the first issue, along with some of the most intense action I’ve ever seen in a comic book. If you are an old school Blindside fan, tho, there will be a ton of extra things for you to pick up on.
As I mentioned above, there are going to be some killer variant covers by some of the hottest artists around — Van Sciver, Liefeld and Campbell are just the tip of the iceberg!
This thing is going to blow people away.
For anyone interested, Marat has made a digital copy of the original Blindside #1 comic available for free on his website. Just jump over to http://www.maratmychaels.com/BSorigin.pdf and check it out. While you are there, you can check out more of the new Blindside artwork. There is also a pretty active Blindside fan page on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Blindside-the-comic-book-fan-page/106564779428090
If you’re on Twitter, you can follow Marat at @MaratMychaels or my at @NiftyMat for constant updates, sneak peeks at art and more.
Check out Blindside in 2012 because we’re bringing it!