Driving A Think Tank Through WonderCon

Evic Oropilla wrote from WonderCon. He’s a bit of a fan of Think Tank. So when he bumped into the creators at the show, this happened;

Think Tank is a science-thriller comic written by Matt Hawkins and drawn by Rahsan Ekedal. The story and art immediately grabs you from the start and leads you through the complicated life of David Loren, P.H.D. the main protagonist. Think Tank is a smart read and a refreshing change of pace story from the typical superhero comic.

I had a chance to quickly interview the creative team of Think Tank at WonderCon to get some background information about Think Tank and also to see what Matt and Rahsan has planned for the future!

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What inspired you to write Think Tank?

Matt Hawkins: I’ve been working on Think Tank for a long time. I started working on Think Tank years and years before it was developed… I really like science and I wanted to try to give science to people in ways that’s entertaining. I always thought that the sciences are not properly represented in the U.S. and is culturally for academia. So for me, it’s one of those things if I can help educate and entertain people at the same time then it kinda serves my dual objective. When I first started doing it I was developing it as a film pitch before I ever decided to do it as a comic because I didn’t know if it would actually sell as a comic. That is the reason why it was done in black and white. When Rahsan was doing Echoes I got to meet him and brought him in and he developed all the characters and helped me develop the rest of the storyline. For me this is the area of my expertise, I know Physics, I am a Physics major.

Where did you get the inspiration for the design of David?

Rahsan Ekedal: Matt said make him look a little bit like Val Kilmer in Real Genius and then I’d say I based him a little bit off Matt. People say it looks like me, it must be subconscious. Honestly I didn’t have any single big inspiration for his design other than Matt’s description and script because he is a pretty collage character. He is a big slacker, he plays video games all day and never does his laundry or shaves, never does his hair so he kinda just evolved naturally off the page for me.

MH: Slacker genius.

RE: Yeah slacker genius.

Can you explain the idea on the development of David’s character after issue 4?

RE: We’re are revealing the depth of the character as we go along. David is more complex and has more heart than he lets on and that is a big part of the story going forward.

MH: I think the thing with David that is interesting is that we kinda have evolved him and written him as a douchebag and he is not. That part was not by design, that’s probably my own personality flaws coming through but it is interesting to have a character that’s not likeable be likeable.

RE: There is a push and pull between the things he says and the things he does and the expressions that he has on his face. He is a complex guy I think he becomes debatable because people can tell that there is more to him than just being a smartass.

MH: The great thing about the character is that he is so complex that people who read it read all this extra stuff that is not really in there.

RE: Which is great because the best comic book characters are templates in a way and people sort of project their own motivation onto them.

MH: People say you are doing House, you are doing Real Genius, you are doing MacGyver, you doing this, you are doing Tony Stark, I‘m like not really. So I took all of those things and put them on a map and he is somewhere different. The reason is I think he is a more complex vulnerable guy. Tony Stark is an asshole, he is just a true asshole and I love him for it, but he is a billionaire asshole and he gots the whole world, beautiful women and most of the time that is just not realistic. Tony Stark is basically Richard Branson as a superhero, that is what he is.

RE: David is more like a kid, who has been taken advantage of and manipulated since he was 14, so he is genius but he has never had a real life or real relationship…

MH: He has the Michael Jackson complex.

RE: In his alternate universe.

MH: I have always kinda in my head, I’ve written him as if he was kinda like a child actor. Where he is growing up and they are all kinda f#@%ed-upped or people that make a lot of money when they are really young and it f#@%s them up. I just think that he is a f#@%ed up guy who cares but he doesn’t want anybody to know he cares.

The mind games between the General and David is so well done. How did you come up with the storyline?

MH: Part of that was that I’d actually written the General being a man and he (Rahsan) drew her as a woman and I kinda just rolled with it and now I can’t imagine that character not being a woman because I’ve woven it in the storyline where David underestimates her because she is a woman. It’s really played well because he is a bit of a misogynist, which people tell me I am so it sort of plays to my ownself and…

RE: Not really though.

MH: A little bit, just a little bit (laughter from the group). For us it was trying to do a compelling character story. For David and for the General it is just this giant chess match, it really is brains over brawn… It is interesting because you don’t normally see a protagonist like that, normally it’s either the secondary character that’s the add on to see a character whose sort of more brain over brawn that’s the main character because even MacGyver he’s kinda a Merc, kinda a buff guy, he still kicks ass, this is a different thing.

What do fans have to look forward to in Think Tank?

RE:  So much there’s a lot we are coming up with.

MH: The second arc is about genetically targeted weapons. It’s the idea that you can identify from the Human Genome Project specific characteristics in DNA that target specific subsets of people in the world… That opens a bunch of ethical questions; racism, stereotypes and various things around the world. It is one of those fascinating things, genocide obviously is not an easy target. The fact we have our protagonist who is this darkly humorous sarcastic guy delving into this world and he has his own agenda that he is working on. That’s the second arc which is five through eight and starting with nine we deal with the ramifications from what happened in the second arc and I don’t want to give too much away, but a Pandora’s box kinda thing, then the third arc we deal with that “genie being out of the bottle”.

Rahsan sells all his art at www.theinteriorpages.com and issue seven of Think Tank is in the works and will be out next month. Matt is also working on Aphrodite IX with Stephen Sejac (launching on Free Comic Book Day) and working on a project called Control with Colleen Doran which is a four issue miniseries in the vain of Think Tank.

If you haven’t started reading Think Tank yet do yourself a favor and treat your brain and eyes! Matt does such a good job researching what technologies and sciences are out there to use in the story and Rahsan does an equally superb job illustrating the story that Matt weaves. Think Tank is scheduled to go to twelve issues (according to Matt) with the possibility of being extended even farther so if you are a fan make sure to let Top Cow know you want more!

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