Kyle Starks and Matt Kindt aren’t just Fortnite buddies, they’re also the comic book authors behind some beloved series. Starks has brought us titles like Old Head and I Hate This Place, Kindt has given us Fear Case and Mind MGMT amongst tons of other titles between the two. Starks and Kindt sat down to chat about their latest endeavors being released from Dark Horse Comics. Starks’ Where Monsters Lie out now and Kindt’s Hairball coming this April. We’ll let them get into the details of what you can expect to find within the pages.

Kyle Starks: We’re doing a Fango creator on Creator Monster interview. Between me and esteemed famous big deal writer Matt Kindt, who’s dope and awesome. You guys know of his work. Matt, we were explicitly told, because we might be idiots, we were told specifically to make sure we talk about our new books, which is why we’re here. So you can go first about your new book from Dark Horse called Hairball.

Matt Kindt: Yes, Dark Horse and my imprint, Flux House. I have to mention that as well if I’m going to plug things. But yeah, Hairball is the new book that I wrote, Tyler Jenkins is doing the art, and Hillary Jenkins is painting. It’s a limited series about an evil cat. I keep saying it’s an evil cat, but I’ve been told that offends cat owners, I used to be a cat owner, and it never would’ve offended me because one of my cats was 50% good and 50% evil. So this cat in this story seems evil, but I will say that it’s sort of a story of redemption for this cat and the owner.

KS: I’ll come in hot takes style, and I’ll say, I think maybe all cats are evil. I think that might be canonical for a cat. And they’re all just either restraining it, or they have so little interest in us that they just don’t have to bother acting upon those evil intentions.

MK: I was thinking about that this morning. I thought about why I like cats of all animals. I have adult-onset allergies, which is why all animals are sort of death to me now. And I think maybe that’s where this book came from. But I was thinking this morning about why I like cats the most. I travel a lot. Cats are the one animal where you could just put a bowl of food out, and then they could take care of themselves, you know? Turn the faucet on, and drip the faucet. Then they have water if their bowl runs out, but they take care of themselves, which is what I like.

KS: Yeah, this is so true. When I was young, I drank a lot. I was a professional drinker for many years, and I was definitely a cat person then. I had a cat. I’d come home, and it’d be like, “Hey, you’re drunk again.” I’d say, “Yeah, it’s good to see you. Good to see you’re still here.” He was like, “Good to see you again.” And then we’d kind of go our separate ways. But now I’m older, and I’m one hundred percent a dog person because I need constant acknowledgment and people saying something, thinking I’m great. I’m desperate for it now. So as an older man, one hundred percent a dog person. But I do agree, that’s the great thing about cats, they require less babying. And I think the argument is like it’s a well-earned affection. Like dogs, they just do it. How can you trust someone so willing to just blindly love anything? Cats, you have to earn it. But they also, I’m told, in some comics might kill you. Theoretically. Hairball coming out from Flux House and Dark Horse.


MK: So I hear you are writing a horror book.

KS: I also wrote a horror book for Dark Horse called Where Monsters Lie with art by Piotr Kowalski, who’s amazing, and who drew The Witcher and Bloodborne series. He’s great at monster stuff. Where Monsters Lie is about a gated community for slasher monsters, sort of where they go between their little killing sprees. So it’s full of all of your favorite archetypes of slashers and how a survivor, a Final Girl type sort of, and now secret agent shows up when they find the location of this gated community to do bloody revenge. It’s a lot of fun. Piotr brings it, man. He brought the noise on it.

MK: That’s good. I realize I didn’t talk about the plot of my book at all.

KS: I was trying.

MK: I know. Should I talk about it?

KS: You want to do it now?

MK: Hairball starts out with this girl who has this cat that she begs her parents for. But the parents end up hating this cat because the cat is chewing through wires, and then at the end of the first issue, the father is allergic to cats, and he’s drinking his coffee in maybe the grossest scene I’ve ever written. He drinks his coffee, and when he gets to the bottom of it, there’s a hairball at the bottom of his coffee mug.


KS: That’s gritty. Am I wrong? Is this your first horror foray?

MK: I think of it as my first one because when I started writing it, it was the first time I was conscious I was writing kind of a horror comic. But Fear Case came out before this.

KS: I’ve always done comedy action ostensibly, and I think a lot of people’s questions whenever someone does a pivot is always like, “Well, why the pivot? Why pivot?” And I know the first answer, probably for both of us, is like, “We want to write everything.” Right? We want to do all the genres because we love telling stories, and we love the challenge. Horror and comedy are so similar. They use the same tools, it’s pacing, and it’s environment, and it’s set-up, and it’s payoffs. They both very specifically are built to evoke a reaction. Part of knowing what hopefully makes people happy is also knowing what makes them feel awful.

So the reason why I mentioned all that is because the hairball at the bottom of the mug. That’s a lot of what horror writing is. What do you hate the most? You know what I mean? What creeps you out the most? Well, that’s what I’m putting into this book. Certainly, for Where Monster’s Lie, it was more of me wanting to have fun with it. But I think that’s before, I was like why did this happen? “Oh, because that frightens me, and it grosses me out. And hopefully, it grosses other people out too.”


MK: Yeah, yeah. I wrote a scene in Hairball that grossed me out while I was writing it. Then when Tyler drew it, it wasn’t quite as bad because my imagination was so much worse. And then he just made it look nicer. But it’s like the cat biting into this girl’s arm, and then these little hair-like worms crawl out.

KS: Ew.

MK: And then they go up, and then they whisper into your ear, and it’s terrible.

KS: Gritty.

MK: But it’s not so bad in the comic. It was worse in my head.

KS: I got Piotr Kowalski early. On page two, someone gets their eye poked out with a knitting needle. And when I saw that, it was so gross, I went to see if I had written it. And I did write it, which makes it worse. I had no idea how visibly upsetting seeing an eyeball on a knitting needle would be.

MK: That’s classic comic books, though. Needles and eyes.

KS: Yeah, I did not think that through. He definitely took a lot of the gross stuff and elevated it because he’s so good at that. There’s a bit, as a cartoonist like me, you’ll appreciate, where a character is hitting another character with a claw hammer. So they’re swinging their arm, their head is turned in the foreground, and the blood’s coming out. So you see the path because Piotr’s so good that he also put like a row of teeth that follow the action line coming out their mouth? And I did not write that. But visually, it’s so good. It’s such good storytelling.

MK: Yeah, that’s fun. You know what’s funny? It’s like your writing is always funny to me. And even Where Monsters Lie, even when you’re doing serious there’s still…

KS: Yeah. I’m trapped.

MK: There’s some humor in it. No, no. But it’s good, though. Don’t ever lose that. I think that’s one of my favorite things you do.

KS: Yeah, I think I’m stuck with it now. I think the curse is for me, because even when I write something serious like Where Monsters Lie, it becomes not serious. I want people to be invested in these characters. I want people to spend time with these characters for the next X issues.


MK: This is one of the questions I wanted to ask you that I thought was fun. In your book, Where Monsters Lie, it’s a gated community for-

KS: Master villains.

MK: Right. So if you got dropped off there and had to spend the night in one of the houses, which house are you going to stay in?

KS: So they are all murderers. They kill co-eds, and they’re sort of what horror fans would call “The Shape”, which is a Michael Meyers Jason type. Not him, obviously. Not 100% sure he has a house and doesn’t just sort of roam around the backyards. 100% not the murder cannibal hillbilly family, for sure. Absolutely not. Definitely not the girl with the murder dummy. Absolutely not. And I don’t know if I can curse on this, but a 1000% you’re not going to Fuckmaster’s House, A 1000% not him.

So I think probably the answer is… I mean, I know the answer. The answer is Wyatt’s house because Wyatt was the patriarch of a murder-family, but they all sort of aged out. So it’s just him now, and he’s sort of the groundskeeper sort of utility guy for the place. I think he’s alright without his murder family. I think he’s just a kind of nice guy who murdered a bunch of people and would probably murder again. It’s either him or Richard the Clown, which seems like a bad choice because he is a murder clown. But I think Richard’s probably mostly okay. I think he just looks forward to the killing. But I think he’d be alright for a night, probably.


MK: I like the characters because they’re sort of analogs of things I’ve seen before, but not quite. They’re a little off. They’re a little different. And then you have the one that does the puzzles. What’s the puzzle one?

KS: Professor Puzzlemen. Not Puzzleman. Puzzlemen.

MK: I think I’d stay at his place. I think he’d have fun-

KS: No way!

MK: He’d have fun games. You would be up all night playing some kind of game.

KS: You missed the part where all his puzzles are now out of space. You don’t want to go to his place. I’m glad you mentioned that. I want to make what seem like very unique niche ideas and make them super familiar. Right? It’s the gated community for horror movie bad guys is like, “I want to see that. I want to read that. That sounds great.”

But I also don’t want to feel like you’d only like this if you’re a horror fan. You know what I mean? I want to make things that anyone could enjoy, but you’ll probably enjoy it more if you like the thing. So yeah, there are these very familiar archetypes because that’s the story I want to consume. But I also wanted to make it clearly not those characters. They’re clearly not those characters. Because I don’t have an interest in those characters. That’s someone else’s job. I want to make my own version of those characters that feel very familiar. So when you are reading this, there’s sort of a built-in iconography, or you know what this is, and you know what that is. I think it adds to the storytelling.

MK: Yeah, good job.


KS: Thanks. Here’s one of my questions for you. If you were in a horror movie, Matt, which character would you be? And here are your options. Your options are the Final Girl, the First One Dead, he Monster itself or whoever has set the entire terrible series of events in place in the first place?

MK: Yeah, I think I would be the Final Girl who actually set it all off.

KS: I can see that.

MK: I’m more of a Gru-type character, right? Where it’s like at the end of the thing, I’m the last one standing, and I look around, and I’m like, “Did I err?”

KS: Yeah. You accidentally summoned the devil, but then also you bested the devil in the end. I can see that. You’re very clever. And I think that you have a real survival instinct. For what it’s worth, I would 1000% be the first person dead in any horror movie because I would be the character that throws open the back door and yells, “See? There’s nothing out here.” And then immediately, I’m sliced in half by a giant praying mantis or something. I have no doubts about that. I’m like, “You guys are being foolish.” And this would be the time Frankenstein’s Monster would be real.

Where Monsters Lie is out February 1st. Find Kyle Starks on social media and check out his comics Old Head and I Hate This Place from Skybound. You can also stay updated via his official website. Hairball hits comic shelves this April, in the meantime you can check out, Fear Case and keep up with Matt Kindt on his website and social media.

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