Monday, September 30, 2013

Interview: Matt Hollingsworth

This past weekend I went to the Dublin International Comics Expo (or D.I.C.E. for short) and was lucky enough to chat to some of my favourite comic creators. I had originally filmed the interviews, with a screen shot below as proof, but due to some dumb equipment problems the footage is unusable. Luckily I was able to salvage the audio and have transcribed our conversations for you to read!

First up is the one and only Matt Hollingsworth. He is an Eisner award winning colourist and was nominated this year again, this time for his exceptional work on everyone's favourite comic book: Hawkeye.


Aaron: First let me say, you were robbed for the Eisner, sir.

Matt: Ah, no, I love Fiona Staples' work so it's OK. If I lost to someone who's work I don't like then I'd be upset but I'm a huge fan of Saga so it's OK with me.

A: Saga seems to be one of those few comics that is universally loved at the moment, everyone seems to have great things to say about it.

M: It deserves all of it.

A: You're one of the first colourists who really brought my attention to colouring in comic books. Beforehand I didn't really understand the importance of it until I saw your work on Hawkeye and the completely different things you do with David Aja and what you do with the other artists who come in. Is it the artist's work that will influence what you do or the tone of the story when they come in?

M: Um, both. So with Javier Pullido and his stuff, the girl Hawkguy goes to Los Angeles and it's not New York. The location changes and it's brighter colours, it's more sunny, it's less grey. Plus he gave me notes saying that he wanted this to be brighter and different to the regular stuff. Normally it's not very saturated, let's say. It's not exactly grey but the colours are toned down.

A: I notice nobody likes to say "flat" when it refers to colours. It's seems to be a dirty word if you refer to their flatness.

M: I don't see why. I colour Hawkeye totally flat. It's a graphic approach. I'm just using the colours and designing the layout based on that; flat colour choices. With the storytelling it felt like the choice so I don't have a big problem with calling it "flat".

Art by David Aja. Colours by Matt Hollingsworth

A: Do writers ever talk about colour choices? I know sometimes they'll request something specific of the art but do they make many notes about the colour in their scripts?

M: With the writers not so much it's just the type of day, night time, morning, "this is a dream sequence", stuff like that. If the writer doesn't put the time of day in the script I'll usually email them and ask them if I can't tell by the art, which I usually can't. I'll say "what time is it? where are we?" you know? The script should say "Page 1. Daytime. New York".

A: Is there anyone out there at the moment that you'd think; "oh, I wish I was working on their book right now"?

M: Do you mean like I'd have their work?

A: I mean that they're working on a story and you'd think; "oh, it would be fun to work on that story right now".

M: Oh yeah, there is always some stuff like that you would see. Recently I've been reading, just the other night actually, I've been reading Becky Cloonan's self published - she calls them mini-comics but they don't seem very mini to me, they're about 20 pages - and they're black and white. They'd be fun to colour. There are colourists who I like their work. I like Jordie Bellaire's stuff and Dave Stewart like everybody else. I look at his stuff with Sean Murphy and it's great. There are guys who I see and I admire but I don't think "man, I wish I got that job" I have enough work as just me.

A: And the artists who colour their own work, I'm sure there is no; "Come on! Give us a job here, guys! Don't keep it all to yourself".

M: No, no. There are some guys like Francesco Francavilla, he should colour his own stuff because he's got a specific vision.

A: Vibrant.

M: Yeah, and it works. If I had done his stuff I wouldn't have done the same thing he did, it would have been totally different and I think what he did totally works.

Art and colours by Francesco Francavilla

A: I want to wrap things up with a short sequence of quick-fire questions. They're as dumb as you can imagine them to be, with a great example in the first question which is: What is your favourite cheese?

M: Kajmak

A: I'm gonna have to Google it.

M: It's like something in between butter and cheese that you'd put on something called cevapi in Croatia. Cevapi is this kind of mince meat kinda sausage and with the buttery cheese... it's entirely healthy.

A: It sounds amazing.

M: It's vegan. Not!

A: Who is the best twerker in comics?

M: Twerker... that's sticking your ass in the air?

A: Yeah it is!

M: ... Declan Shalvey. Although maybe Ben. Ben McCool.

A: Do you have a favourite sports team?

M: I don't really like sports very much, so no.

A: I feel like that's going to be a common answer with comic book people.

M: Yeah.

A: Fuck / Marry / Kill - Trades / Digital / Single issues.

M: Oh... huh... I'd fuck single issues. Marry trades. Kill digital.

A: Kill digital? Oooo, controversial.

M: I read comics digitally but you made me make a choice.

A: That's very true, it's the nature of the game. Next question: Ryan Gosling?

M: ... ah, I'd fuck him. And then I'd kill him and marry him!

A: I like that order as well. Kill him and then marry him. What's the last movie that you actually saw in the cinema?

M: The last one I remember is Despicable Me 2 with my son who had a great time.

A: Who would win in a fist fight between Frank Miller and Alan Moore?

M: Probably Frank because he's angrier. But then maybe, maybe Alan might be angry... ah, I guess it depends on how drunk Frank is.

A: If you could play any comic book character in a movie who would you play?

M: Alan Moore.

A: And finally, tell us all the comics that you have out at the moment that people should buy.

M: Well... Hawkeye, Wake, and Wolverine. Those are the three I'm doing at the moment, so those.

A: So buy them folks or he'll send Alan Moore after you.

M: Support us. Please! I have rent to pay.