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Writer Matt Hawkins discusses Top Cow’s Wildfire
It is ripped from today’s headlines: GMOs, genetically modified organisms. And now it is the subject of Wildfire.
A documentary on PBS? No, rather a comic book from Top Cow publisher and author Matt Hawkins and artist Linda Sejic.
Dynamic Forces caught up with Matt at a local greasy spoon and got all the 411 just for you.
Dynamic Forces: Americans seem to be caught up in a never-ending battle to eat the right thing, the healthy thing. What is the origin of Wildfire’s plot?
Matt Hawkins: Wildfire started with my desire to learn more about GMOs (genetically modified organisms). I knew the basics, but I really wanted to dig in and find out everything I could about it and see if there were some interesting fictional areas I could explore. It started with reading about accelerated plant growth and the ideas for a disaster story came to me pretty quickly.
DF: Matt, tell us about the world in this new book, without spoilers if possible.
Matt Hawkins: It’s about a research group working on accelerated plant growth. It gets out unchecked into the environment and voila catastrophe.
DF: I once worked for a state Department of Agriculture and there is constant monitoring, testing, etc. of genetically modified food. What goes wrong here?
Matt Hawkins: One of the big concerns is about the long term effects of changing the genetics on the environment or how stuff tested in the lab may not be as advertised in the field.
DF: Who is Dan Miller?
Matt Hawkins: Dan Miller is a late 20’s, early 30’s graduate student studying to get his PhD in Plant Biochemistry at his university working on accelerated plant growth and well known in this small scientific circle as an original thinker.
DF: Are there any perceivable “big-bads” in the comic book tradition, or is this more a government/covert whodunit?
Matt Hawkins: The catalyst for the destruction is a combination of rushed research and overly zealous activism.
DF: What makes Wildfire such a different type of “disaster” story?
Matt Hawkins: Well, it’s rooted in reality and told from a science POV, kind of like the virus film Contagion.
DF: So, do you still have an obsession to study gen-moded foods? (laughs)
Matt Hawkins: Nope, think I filled that. It’s an interesting thing to look into, I was surprised at how much both sides lie about their respective positions.
DF: What do you hope readers will take away from issue #1? Is this a public service message?
Matt Hawkins: Nope. I hope people just like the characters and enjoy the stories and settings.
DF: Tell us about working with artist Linda Sejic. Why is she right for this book?
Matt Hawkins: Linda had done some other work for us and I really liked how expressive her characters were. She had more than the few character faces I see from so many artists. Her layouts are absolutely cinematic.
DF: What else is in the writer’s quiver of Matt Hawkins?
Matt Hawkins: Finished Aphrodite IX/Cyber Force, working on a new project with Rahsan Ekedal and another project with Colleen Doran.
Dynamic Forces wants to thank Matt Hawkins for taking time out of a very busy schedule to answer our questions.
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