Matt Hawkins: Think Tank & Science Comics 101 [Interview]
February 3, 2017
February 3, 2017
MATT HAWKINS: I was going to UCLA working on my MS in Physics when I met Rob Liefeld and was hired at Extreme Studios. I finished my degree, but was two years into working at Extreme, which had become a way of life. My dad was an engineer and an Air Force officer. I grew up on military bases and was exposed to a lot of planes, missiles, and military scientists. I always had a love for science and was good at math, so physics made sense. People into science who are bad at math become biologists :P I stayed in comics because I grew to love it, and it scratched a creative itch I didn't know I had.
IC: Every new arc of THINK TANK features a big shift in the status quo and what Dr. David Loren is getting up to. What are you looking forward to tackling in the new series?
HAWKINS: Well, spoilers, but in the fourth volume of THINK TANK David tried to kill himself, so this fifth volume deals with the aftermath of that. We're easing off a bit from the hard depression stuff and having David confront his father. He hasn't talked to his father in 10 years, but on David's paperwork his father is the only next of kin, so when he tried to kill himself the protocol was to reach out.
His dad shows up and he tells David that he has an eight-year old sister. This floors David and he doesn't know how to react to that. He also is trying to get Mirra Sway back, but she won't have it, so there's that relationship tension. The geopolitical story deals with Russia, NATO, and Turkey, the tech story is about mind-controlling animals and using them as suicide bombers...all doable with today's technology.
IC: THINK TANK often deals with applied science of the military variety. What was it about this kind of science in particular that struck you as fertile storytelling ground?
HAWKINS: There are comics that feature scientists (Tony Stark, Reed Richards), but it was never really about the actual science, and these guys were moguls, too. Most scientists I know are cogs in a giant machine. Most are not wealthy or don't have their own giant corporations. I know several science prodigies who are in think tanks. One of my college roommates has a sandbox in his office that he sits in and runs his hands through the sand to give him ideas. Some of these people are clinically crazy, but they come up with good ideas that DARPA and the various military industrial companies profit from. There's also a lot of anger in this community because most of them don't want to develop weapons or work for the military, but that's where all the funding comes from. It's a great backdrop for drama.
IC: What's the most exciting part of creating THINK TANK?
HAWKINS: I love doing the research and working with Rahsan Ekedal to develop the stories. We have a geopolitical story, a tech story, and a relationship/character story that runs through each volume. Navigating David Loren's life is complicated, but fun in his carefree way of looking at it. He knows what he does kills people. He was recruited at a young age to work with the best equipment and like minds...and didn't know that he was signing a life commitment at age 14.
SCIENCE COMICS 101, courtesy of Matt Hawkins
SCIENCE MAGAZINES 201
THINK TANK #1 is available for preorder now and debuts 3/1.