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Matt Kindt on the "Intangible Ideas" of MIND MGMT: Bootleg and his new imprint, Flux House

A conversation with Matt Kindt all about his new comic and what he's hoping for from his new imprint

Image credit: Matt Kindt

A decade after the first issue hit comic book shelves, writer Matt Kindt has returned us to his paranoid and prescient world of MIND MGMT. The long-awaited sequel is titled Bootleg, and it will not only be the next chapter in a popular story, but the first publication via Kindt’s new Dark Horse imprint, Flux House.

After the release of the first issue, which is written by Kindt and drawn and colored by Farel Dalrymple, PopVerse got to hear from the writer about what’s been going on in the universe of MIND MGMT, how the new series changes things, and how the legacy of the original series has affected its future.

Read on to find out more, but be warned. Spoilers for MIND MGMT: Bootleg #1 follow.

Main cover of Mind MGMT Bootleg by Farel Dalrymple
Dark Horse - Farel Dalrymple | Image credit: Dark Horse - Farel Dalrymple

Grant DeArmitt: Matt, catch us up before we begin. What's the state of the world at the beginning of MIND MGMT: Bootleg #1?

Matt Kindt: All is right with the world. Things are calm. Level. It’s been a few years since the last issue of MIND MGMT. In fact – you could read this new series as if you spent a session with the Eraser and you lost all memory of what happened before. Maybe the entire world has forgotten everything that happened in those 36 issues. Maybe things aren’t right. And things aren’t calm. But how can we know for sure when a MIND MGMT agent with the ability to make you forget any and everything is presenting you the state of the world?

We meet Kito Kessy in this issue, and we learn eventually that Kito has "advanced pattern recognition." What kinds of powers does that translate to? Can you provide us with examples of what he could do?

He should definitely be making all of your investments. And he has a pretty good idea of what the weather is going to be like. But he can also see a MUCH bigger picture. Scanning the news and monitoring global events… he can start to see the patterns that history makes as it doesn’t so much repeat itself but mirrors and rhymes with itself. And something bad is coming. Something that looks like an innocuous meme but is actually a contagious idea that’s spreading as fast as you can click the link.

The Eraser returns in this issue to tell Kito that she's set out to recreate MIND MGMT. Why is she doing this?

To make the world a better place. She has the talent. The kids have the ability. She wants to keep the world from folding in on itself and dying. I think. I mean, she might not be fully trustworthy – it’s hard to really know someone that can surgically (metaphorically anyway) remove your memories. If you can’t trust your own memories – then what can you trust?

When Kito joins MIND MGMT, the Eraser tells him that "...the danger isn't the lies that humanity believes. The danger is that people will stop believing truth exists." Can you expand on that? What do you mean by that quote?

Farel Dalrymple cover of Mind MGMT Bootleg, featuring a woman and birds
Dark Horse - Daniel Brereton | Image credit: Dark Horse - Daniel Brereton

What it means is that this series is trying to tackle some intangible ideas but in a way that is very tangible. There are a couple of enemy agents in Issue #2 and #3 that wear trash as a disguise – arranged in just such a way that you can’t really see them – you’re distracted by the colorful packaging and logos and art and design. You’re distracted, so much so, that you don’t see them until it’s too late. So I guess that’s what that quote means. And probably what the entire series means as well.

We find out in Issue #1 that Kito Kessy is one of the 'Zanzibar Four,' four children that survived Henry Lyme's destruction of Zanzibar in the first arc of MIND MGMT. Did you always have the idea that there were these three survivors besides Meru, or is that a recent addition? And if so, why did you add them?

First…spoiler! (laughs) But yeah – it was always part of the world and the plan. It’s a story I wasn’t sure if I would get to. And when I finished the original series I was exhausted – burned out really. So I needed a little distance before returning. Some stories you just don’t get to because of time and place. Or focus – the original series was about Meru and her journey. So of course we focus on her. These new kids, well, this is about the ones you don’t hear about. The ones that aren’t the 'star' of the show.

What can you tell us about the other members of the Zanzibar Four? Kito is one, and we already know Meru is another. Who are the other two?

One of them is immortal-ish – which we’ve seen before – but she has the ability to heal herself (mind-over-body) unconsciously. So she does it whether she wants to or not. And the Fourth? Is Denny – inspired by a friend of mine. So a lot of his story is pulled from reality – but I can’t really tell you which is which. This is the danger/perk of hanging out with me. I’m always listening and asking questions. I want to hear about experiences not my own, because it’s fascinating, and as a by-product – there’s always a story in there somewhere. Some truth or some glimpse at why we do what we do.

Interior pages of a child speaking to an adult wearing glasses
Dark Horse - Farel Dalrymple | Image credit: Dark Horse - Farel Dalrymple

As I mentioned, we do find out that Meru Marlowe is alive and fighting, though we assume she's hiding. Without spoiling anything, what's Meru been up to?

I don’t recall.

Stepping away from the story for a moment, we'd be remiss if we didn't talk about artist Farel Dalrymple. What does Farel bring to the world of MIND MGMT?

Oh wow. I’ve been a fan of his for SO long. I have a page of art he did about a squirrel from years ago – that I gave to my daughter when she was younger – my daughter who inspired the 'animal kid' character in MIND MGMT who can communicate with animals. Anyway – I’ve always loved his stuff so having the opportunity to work with him and getting him to draw the Animal Kid just seemed like it was meant to be. It had to be. His paint and ink – inspiring – and I’m literally professionally jealous of what he does. I aspire to his level.

Since the last issue of MIND MGMT came out, there's been a board game based on the comic that came to (and wildly succeeded on) Kickstarter. What do you think of the game? Did it influence Bootleg?

A bit. Each polybagged issue contains a playing card that you can incorporate into any card game you ever play. So there’s that direct link. But really, I think MIND MGMT for me has always been a game I’m playing with readers. It’s a cooperative game with hidden meanings and extra things layered in subliminally, so the game is really a natural progression of the story in so many ways.

Photo of an open wooden box featuring a sticker that reads Mind MGMT
Matt Kindt | Image credit: Matt Kindt

Last question: MIND MGMT: Bootleg is the first of your new imprint Flux House. What do you want the future of Flux House to be? What kind of stories, artists, and ideas do you hope come out of it?

I’m trying to put books into the world that get people excited to read books. Comic books, hardcover books, books covered in fur or books that come in a bag with a playing card, and books about spies that are disguised as trash on the book shelf. Books that inspire curiosity about the world around us but also open eyes to how amazing and unique the medium of comic books is. I want people to feel the excitement I felt when I was 12 years old, coming home from the grocery store with a small stack of comics and staring at the colorful spines of the books…and just as excited about the potential that was stapled into them as I was about the actual stories themselves.

Speaking of kickstarter projects, Scott Snyder's students are launching a kickstarter anthology. Read all about it in Popverse's interview with Scott Snyder Presents Tales from the Cloakroom’s editors Aubrey Lyn Jeppson and C.K. Lawson about their upcoming Kickstarter.

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About the Author
Grant DeArmitt avatar

Grant DeArmitt

Contributing writer

Grant DeArmitt (he/him) likes horror, comics, and the unholy pairing of the two. He has written for Nightmare on Film Street and Newsarama, despite their better judgement. He lives in Brooklyn with his partner, Kelsey, and corgi, Legs.