Matthew Rosenberg – What’s the Furthest Place from here?

Today on the show Jeff is joined with Matthew Rosenberg, writer of What’s The Furthest Place From here out now from Image Comics!

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Interview scheduled by Jeffery Haas

Theme music by Ardus and Damn The Cow

Announcer: Nathaniel Perry

Matthew Rosenberg – Interview


Jeff Haas: Hello listeners, a spoiler country today in the show with a fantastic writer, Mr. Matthew Rosenberg. How’s it going, sir?

Matthew Rosenberg: Thanks for having me.

Jeff Haas: It’s my pleasure. I’m a big fan of yours. I’m glad you’re able to stop.

Matthew Rosenberg: Yeah. Yeah. It’s I’ve been meaning to do this for a long time, so I’m happy that it’s finally come together.

Jeff Haas: It just, that’s just been up the anticipation of the, of this interview, didn’t it?

Matthew Rosenberg: Yeah, I think so. I feel like this is like the, you know, we were so nervous and now we have all this energy to release. It’s going to be maybe the best interview.

Jeff Haas: It should be, it’s be the combination of every interview you’ve ever done in

Matthew Rosenberg: your entire list.

I hope so. So,

Jeff Haas: well, one question I always like to ask the people come on the show. I like to know when their passion for what they’re working on started. So when did you fall in love with comic books, which was your first comp books that you’ve read?

Matthew Rosenberg: Sure. Yeah. So I I have an older brother and he was a comic book fan when we were little, little kids.

And you know, like all good older brothers who told me, don’t touch my stuff. You’re not allowed to read these, [00:01:00] don’t go near them. And like all good younger brothers that made me desperate to read them and touch them. And so anytime he would go out, I would sneak in and, and look at his comics. And yeah, I mean, I basically learned, learned to read on, on like reading.

You know, Claremont X-Men and burn fantastic four, and just look at those issues at random, just grabbing one. Cause I liked the cover and you know, just sort of obsessing over it and trying to figure out what was going on and trying to. You know, trying to try to get immersed in that world when I had never really read stuff on my own at all.

But I actually I, I have a weird, I feel like so many people when I hear them talk about this, they’re like, oh, you know, I used to go to the seven 11 or the you know, whatever the, the supermarket and grab comics. I actually grew up. There was a conflict shop on my block growing up in New York. So like for me, once I was fully hooked it was the easiest thing to, to stay addicted to because it was on my way home from school, it was across the street from my [00:02:00] house.

It was basically the only place that was allowed to go when I was very little, because my mom could watch me from the window across the street, in the conflict store. So, you know, as far back as I can remember, comments have been, you know, a huge passion of mine.

Jeff Haas: It is, it is amazing how complex duke inter the bloodstream.

Isn’t it? I mean, it does, once you get hooked, it is like, literary crap.

Matthew Rosenberg: Yeah. Yeah, for sure. It is. It it’s such a great, you know, we always talk about, I think in common, we sending a lot of, a lot of people who work in comics, sort of talk about the sort of barriers to entry. Everyone’s trying to break down and everyone’s trying to get around, but, but to me, like once you get past the like overwhelming daunting nature of comics of like how many there are, you know, where do you start and what should I read and what do I like once you get past that, I’m always just so in love with, you know, seeing people walk into a comic shop for the first time and just.

Being [00:03:00] immersed in that world and being blown away by it and knowing that they’re just going to be fans for, for years and years or their whole lives. It is really a cool thing to watch. Yeah. You know, I never really

Jeff Haas: bought the excuse of people have, which is like, I don’t know when to jump in or it’s too hard to.

Can we think about it. I mean, through the sixties and seventies, early eighties, there wasn’t a lot of renumbering. I mean, the comic books, every reader that time pier was jumping into actually comics 500 Batman, 400, you know what I mean? And, and they had, no, they didn’t have the internet to research all this.

I mean, it’s doable.

Matthew Rosenberg: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I think, you know, for me, like I started to read online, you know, the death of Jean Gray and I was a little kid and it was like, I have no idea who anyone was. I had no idea what was going on. But you know, a, a well-made comic, like you stick with it for, for 40 pages, give it 60 pages.

And like you’re up to speed. You’re, it’s definitely a medium that, that, you know, you can hit the ground running and really catch up. That’s always fun. And then, you know, [00:04:00] it has the fun thing. I think it’s a certain personality type that really likes to like look forwards and backwards. And that’s really conducive to, to like, especially superhero comics, because you can sort of jump into Spiderman at issue 800, but then while you’re getting excited about what’s happening in the story, like look back and try and figure out where he’s been.

And he is. You know, I think for a lot of people that seems daunting, but it’s sort of one of the, you know, it’s not a, it’s not a bug, it’s a feature like it’s, it’s really one of those things that I think is amazing about comics. And I think if people would just, you know, have that explain to them, okay.

Experience it. It’s something that I think a lot of people would really fall in love with.

Jeff Haas: Yeah. And I agree. I agree with you a hundred percent. I mean, the nice thing about it being calm, because that is, it means a common book. It’s not like you’re jumping on page 900 of war and peace where it’s like extremely exceedingly complicated.

It’s like, you know, once you instantly, if you like the characters, they, they, they look interesting. They look cool. The stories kind of. You can, you know, the, the fear, the figure out the rest, the, the, [00:05:00] you know, what’s going on around it. Isn’t that hard. You just kind of have to kind of want to do.

Matthew Rosenberg: Yeah. I mean, especially today, I mean, like, you know, when I was a kid, it was, you know, no internet not a lot of, you know, like not a ton of places to, I mean, I was lucky to have a comic shop, but basically like you were digging through boxes, looking for back issues to fill in holes in the story.

And now it’s. Between Comixology and trade paperbacks that are always in France and Wikipedia. And just asking people on Twitter, like, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s not, it’s not a hard thing to, to immerse yourself in it. If you want to do it.

Jeff Haas: How do you feel about the move in comics? At least the seeming I’m trying to count books of moving towards digital, such as subs, subs, stack, and other digital only, or primary services.

Do you think that’s a a good trend? I’m less than positive trend.

Matthew Rosenberg: I, my feeling is always anything we can be doing to make [00:06:00] comics more accessible to people and getting people, reading them. Personally, like I am a physical media person. I, I love a comic, like a physical paper comic more than anything.

Like, you know, I get, you know, for work, I have to get, you know, they’ll say like, oh, you have to catch up on these issues or read these for research. And they’ll send me PDFs. And I, you know, hop on the subway and go to the comic shop with a list of PDFs that they just emailed me. And by the physical books, because I, I like holding them.

I like having. But that’s not going to be true for everybody. And I think there are people who are very much not, you know, people who don’t have access to a comic shop to find a comic shop, you know, or are don’t feel comfortable in a comic shop. Don’t feel comfortable going in, find that’ll daunting.

And I think things like calmness, ology and, and sub stack are really interesting because they’re, they’re trying to reach new people. And I think that’s something. You know, comics is a very small industry. It’s very, it’s very niche. And any time someone is reaching out to try and bring [00:07:00] new people into the fold, I think we really have to sort of applaud it and celebrate it.

I don’t ever see, you know, I know people are always worried about like, well, if everybody reads it, digitally comic shops are going to go away. And that’s just not a reality. Like not, everyone’s going to read it digitally. The culture is very much in economy. Digital comics have been around for a decade now, and comma shops are doing better than they’ve ever done.

Like you just can’t make that argument. But what you are seeing is people who wouldn’t ever set foot in a comic shop will never buy a physical book reading stuff. And I think that’s awesome. And I, you know, it goes to stuff like, you know, there’s always been web comics, but like web tunes is reaching more people and aggregating stuff really well and places like that.

And top of us and. They’re just all sorts of platforms to try and get comics into people’s hands in new ways. And I, I just think that’s, you know, something that we should all be sort of celebrating and doing. I agree

Jeff Haas: completely. I do say think if you do digital, you miss the other part of the, of the obsession about the box and bagging organizing [00:08:00] boarding of your complex in a very careful.

And like I said, somewhat obsessive compulsive.

Matthew Rosenberg: I mean, it’s definitely a. There’s definitely a personality that is going to be drawn to the single issue. Comic. I’ve actually hit a point in my life where like, I’m, I’m a trade paperback guy. And whether it’s the most, your guy, I still buy single issues all the time, but come Halloween.

They’re just all on my front step in a box for kids to take, because I’m just like, this would just be, I mean, I already have, you know, just long boxes and long boxes. And I just, you know, at this point in my life, I’m like, I love it. And you know, there’s books, I will never ever get, you know, runs I’ll never, ever part with, but for me, the simplicity of the trade paperback is, is where I’m at in my life.

I think I’m just, maybe that’s just laziness. Well, well, I

Jeff Haas: realize I’m getting old because what was once a very fantastic long box collection. Has been shifted to a short box [00:09:00] collection, icon books. I can no longer as, as I’ve realized almost in my, I pulled my back once it many time lifting up the long boxes in

Matthew Rosenberg: the closet, we’re going to comic book store a bunch of years ago.

And we’d get the shipments and. And put them in long boxes and carry them up the stairs. And I remember like my second week of doing that, I was like, I’m never going to buy a long box again. Like, I’m just like, yeah. It means two trips up the stairs with a short box. But yeah, I just will never, ever do this to myself.

It’s not physically worth it. Yeah. A hundred percent. I

Jeff Haas: enjoyed that. The sight of all my calm books, all in one box, you know, like I have a a huge freelancer collection. I have every Greenlandic combo going back to the 1960 ish. Number one. And I love seeing them all this one long box, but at least two, at least hundred 65 of them in one box.

I think there’s only 365 per box, but my, my, my back was like, Nope, you’re not going to have them in like four or five short boxes for now.

Matthew Rosenberg: One.[00:10:00]

Jeff Haas: Yes indeed. Well, now you’re writing a fantastic are going to be writing a fantastic image comic book called what’s the first place from here, which is from image con books. And you’re, you’re known a lot of your work is, has been known in Marvel. And also recently in DC, you’re doing the other joker presents a puzzle box, which we could discuss to later what led to the movement to publish this through.

Matthew Rosenberg: Yeah. You know, I started doing crater on books. That’s how I got my start. I did a book called we can never go home. And a book called fork is walking old bank at a company called black mask. But I love very dearly and, and gave me my start and I’ve always loved doing my own stuff and just getting to do that.

But I’m also like just a huge superhero fan. So, you know, when, when those calls started coming, I jumped at the chance to do it. But I, I sort of get a point a couple of years ago. I, I, I think it’s really important in life to sort of, I, I don’t know that it’s important, but it’s important for me to sort of set [00:11:00] career goals and, and I’ve always tried to do that.

And I. You know, when I started making comics, I was like, I want to, you know, I want to finish a comment. It was my first and then I want to get a publisher to publish it. And I want to finish a series and have a trade paper bag. And then, you know, the next one was like, well, I want to do something for Marvel or DC.

And then as soon as I did select for Marvel, I was like, well, I wanted, it’s like for DC. And you know, it got to the point where I, I, I got to the point on my list where I was like, well, I, you know, I’d like to be exclusive at Marvel. I’d really like to. Be in the room and helping shape the universe. And then I hit a point where, you know, for me, it was, I’d like to write certain characters.

And those characters for me were like the X-Men Hawkeye, the Punisher star wars. And I just had a point a couple years ago where I was writing all those books and work on those. I was like, okay, I need to re focus and sort of reassess what I want to be doing and what the next step is. [00:12:00] And, and a big thing for me.

I’m making my own stuff and getting the chance to do that. And so, my buddy Tyler boss, who I made four kids with no bank with, we we’ve been quietly working on a suit on a follow-up book, not sequel, but a follow-up and you know, the. In 20, 19 20 in 2018, we were like, let’s just do it. Like, let’s just jump in.

And a lot of stuff happened in between lifestyle, world stuff, work stuff, but it’s sort of been a focus of mine for the past three years to like, get this book off the ground and, and really launch into it and give it the time and attention to me. And so, yeah, I’m really excited that it’s fine.

Coming out and in November, it’s going to be,

Jeff Haas: so how does your mindset, as in writing, does it shift at all when you’re writing from auto in the big two, a franchise character versus writing your own project, does your approach of it or approach towards a

Matthew Rosenberg: change? Yeah, you know, it’s funny when I, when I [00:13:00] started working in comics, I used to read when I first started trying to make comics and breakdown, I, I used to read interviews with creators all the time.

And they’d get asked that question sometimes. And they’d always be like, oh, writing your own stuff versus writing big two stuff is, is like a totally different skill set. It’s a totally different thing. And at the time I was always like, what a pretentious answer, what a truly have, not just say, it’s just writing, like you get off of it.

And then I did it and was like, oh no, it’s a totally different thing. The people who do the thing now understand it much better than the guy. Read the thing, but yeah, I mean, it’s, it’s such a weird, I don’t know how to describe it without it feeling reductive in some way, but like the best analogy I can say is like making superhero comics is like, you.

You get in a car and someone tells you where you’re [00:14:00] supposed to go and you have a map and there’s a few options on the map and you can navigate it in different ways and you can go over whatever speed you want to go. And you can do all these things and stop where you want along the way. But. You’re going to end up someplace you’re you’re on a destination and getting to do your own stuff is like getting in a car and just driving it’s there’s no, there’s no roadmap.

There’s no destination. And it’s completely up to you where you end up. And like, that feels reductive in some way to say about superior promise. And I don’t mean it to be because I actually love the destination and I love the trip and I love seeing what you can do in those, in those confines and in those bands.

So I don’t mean it in a, in a, in a in a, some kind of diminishing way, but it’s just, it’s just, that feels like it’s just a very different thing in creatively. Like how your brain has to handle it and approach it. I can’t, you know, in a book like what’s the first place from here, [00:15:00] we literally can do whatever we want.

Like there’s no, we don’t answer to anyone and we can, you know, we decided our first issue was going to be 64 pages because we wrote the first issue to be 20 something pages. And we were like, no, it should be bigger than it was 40 pages. So then it was 60 pages, the name, which was like, why is the book take so long?

And you’re like, the first issue is 60 pages. And they were like, okay, you know, they’re incredibly supportive. But also like, it’s our thing. And, you know, we were just like, yeah, the next issue is black and white or the next issue takes place in space. Like, they’d be like, all right, if that’s what you want to do.

And that’s like, Both freeing and terrifying at the same time, but like a good, terrifying, I

Jeff Haas: can’t imagine which verb, which type of writing is causes more pressure, writing a character that everyone has their own ideas on or writing something totally new and trying to catch people into your ideas.

Matthew Rosenberg: Yeah.

I mean, it’s, that’s the thing. It’s exactly right. It’s like there are people with long loving relationships of superhero [00:16:00] characters. You have a lot of stuff to live up to, and a lot of great runs and a lot of creators who’ve come before you who’ve really shaped these things. And a lot of fan expectations that are really intense and intimidating, but that’s also the fun of it.

And then when you make your own thing, like, like you said, it’s is you have to win people over in a, in a funny way. Like it’s not entirely true actually with the way fandom works, but like, for the most part, if you write captain America, people will pick up the. They like captain America there, they want to have a captain America story.

And obviously the people who buy a creator on book one or two, but they have nothing. They have nothing to go on. And so you really have to earn every step of it with them. You, you can’t rely on people on the shorthand of people being like they get who cap is like, they know he’s a good guy and they they’re rooting for him.

And you, you literally have to explain that all to the audience in your own stuff. And it’s, it’s a weird thing to go back to [00:17:00] after three, four years. In the big two minds, making, making super stuff that it’s, you know, it’s weird to have to be like, yeah, I have to explain everything about this to my audience.

And actually it’s something that I thought a lot about when making what’s the first place from here, because we chose not to explain all things. We want the book to feel. Mysterious. And we want people to sort of discover the world and the characters as we do. But that was a stylistic choice. That’s not that may or may not.

I off we’ll say when it comes out. Well, well, I definitely wanna

Jeff Haas: ask you about how you approach that, but before we get that far, I want to orient our listeners a little bit. So can you give our listeners the pitch? What’s the furthest place from here, so they can kind of orient to what

Matthew Rosenberg: we’re discussing.

Sure. Yeah. So it is an ongoing series from image coming out in November and basically the world has ended at some point. And now what we’re left with are gangs of children. There’s only children left and they live in the [00:18:00] ruins of the world and they they’ve sort of. Try to rebuild society as best as they understood what it was, but it’s been long enough that they don’t really have a good understanding.

And our story follows a gang of kids who called themselves the academy who live in a record store and they sort of worship the records. Is there their deities. And one of them said, who’s sort of this starry-eyed dreamer of the group. She goes missing into the wastelands and they have to decide if they’re going to.

Risk everything to go find her, excuse me. They have to decide if they’re going to risk everything to go find her, or enjoy the safety of their record store home. And that’s sort of what it is. It’s a big, it’s a mystery as to where she went and what happened. And it’s it’s got some creepy horror elements that come into play and it’s got sort of a scifi world a little bit, but also like it’s this big fantasy token as.

Joseph Campbell as adventure [00:19:00] into the world. This big fantasy story about, you know, watering out into the wastelands of the worlds and leaving the country. Of your home. Now, when, when you

Jeff Haas: say ongoing, do you mean ongoing? Let’s say like the walking dead was ongoing or are we talking ongoing? Like, like the Sam man was Sunday five issues.

Like, is there an end point that you see in mind and how far you’re going to go? Are we talking literally open-ended

Matthew Rosenberg: ongoing. So, yeah. I don’t, I don’t really do well. And if I don’t know where a story is going, I don’t really, that’s always a problem for me. And like sometimes in big two comics, that sort of what you have to do.

But in my own stuff, I always know what that, I always pretty much know what the last issue of the book is before I start reading the first issue. So there’s a definite end. There’s a definite story contained in these pages of, of where these kids go and what they experience and how it shapes them. How long it takes us to get there.

We’ll see, you know, I think we used to say as a joke, me and Tyler would be like, well, it depends on if people buy it. So far the [00:20:00] reaction, I mean, we haven’t, it’s not out for two months, but the reaction has been so strong that we feel. I’m pretty confident that, you know, we’re not going to be homeless if we just for awhile, but really I think it’s, you know, we never want to overstay our welcome and we never want to do more than we need to.

You know, we did this book work is walking to back together and it was a huge hit and it was a huge hit for our publisher black mask. And they were like, you know, you can keep going for sure. The numbers are great. A book is very powerful. And we were just like, no, as you five as the end of the story. So w we structured this differently to be not issued by, of as the end of the story where that end takes place is up in the air.

But so basically we’re, we’re hunting for the, the middle and we’re going to find out, and it’s going to be some combination of if people are reading it and if people are liking it, and if we’re inspired to keep going, or if we get sick of it, or we get the intolerant excited about some new ICM. We will bring that ending and when, when we’re ready to, and when the audience is [00:21:00] ready to, but I, you know, I can say right now, it’s not going to go walk into have numbers, truly a miraculous run on a book.

But yeah, I don’t know. You know, I could definitely tell stories in this world for four years. I could definitely, we could definitely wrap it up. 12 issues. We don’t know. So, so as

Jeff Haas: the reader be careful, this is going to end in a minute

Matthew Rosenberg: or could go. Yeah, exactly. You’re going to get is the ending we’ve always wanted, but when you get it, it’s going to be up to us.

Jeff Haas: From, from the part luckily I was able to reason the preview. There seems to be a little bit of a Lord of the flies S aspect of the story. Would you agree that it’s basically what happens when you kind of cut out the older echelon of an old, you know, older

Matthew Rosenberg: group of society? Yeah, definitely. I mean, we’re, you know, I think we, we try really hard to.

We really wear our influences on our sleeves and a lot of ways and stuff like Lord of the flies. And, [00:22:00] you know, I think, I think there’s a lot of stuff, but you know, the old punks PlayStation movies of the eighties and, and the warriors and the rye, and just sort of also, you know, mad max sort of all sorts of stuff is, is sort of all mixed into that and a little bit, but yeah, I mean, It is definitely, I mean, we can talk about, you know, the metaphor of the book in some ways, sort of about, you know, a generation of kids who kind of raised themselves.

And, you know, I, I sort of felt like I was a part of that and in a lot of ways, and growing up in New York city and just like learning as much as I could from the other kids around me and, and the world, you know, the world around me as I did from any thing else, That’s, you know, that’s the metaphorical level, that’s the subjective level on that textual level.

Yeah. I mean, it’s, these kids are, are trying to make society themselves again, and they don’t necessarily know how to do it except through kind of brute force and [00:23:00] intimidation and like shady deals and we bartering and there, there are certain rules that are in place in the world. Predate the kids and they don’t quite understand them.

And there are certain things happening, but they don’t quite know what they are and they don’t necessarily question. So it is interesting. And I think that the Lord of the flies, the Lord of flies analogy is interesting because Lord of the flies, and it’s the only, we’ve talked about Laura flies, this is something where you take kids and you strip away society from them and you watch them sort of fall apart.

These are kids who never had society and are trying to rebuild it. So it’s really coming out of a sort of similar theme from a different angle. When you’re talking about the analogy.

Jeff Haas: Kids in, in, in the real world having to raise themselves. I remember, and I think a lot of kids think this way and I may be wrong if I am correct me,

Matthew Rosenberg: that

Jeff Haas: we think, or what we think when, when I was a kid, we thought that if I was in charge of the [00:24:00] society or we could.

Our generation could start society. It would always be made better. We would do a better job as the adults. Do the children in this book view this as an opportunity or is it, is it a, do they see it as the danger potential that it, you know, that

Matthew Rosenberg: it is? Yeah. I mean, I don’t, they don’t necessarily see either because there’s nothing to compare to for them.

They don’t have frame of reference for society. They don’t have an understanding. A full understanding of what was to be like, could we improve on that? How would we change it? They have, you know, little remanence and elements of what was, and they’re, they’re building it like a puzzle. So like they’re not, I mean, it’s an interesting question of like, you know, how are they different from kids growing up?

Who think if I, if I ruled the world, how will. Make it better because they do rule the world here. They’re all that’s lab. And so there is no, how would I make it better? [00:25:00] It’s this is the reality of it, which I think is, you know, sort of, sort of a key, you know, you sort of touched upon a key feature of the book, a key theme of the book, which is that like, there, there is no theoretical to them.

There’s no, there’s no wishful thinking and there’s no There’s nothing to sort of rage against and rebel against them and counter program to their, their, the world. And so it’s up to them and if the world sucks in a lot of ways, it’s their world that Sox, you know,

Jeff Haas: because the world is dominated by.

Does this imply that there’s an expiration date of life that it’s, once adulthood occurs, does life and for them.

Matthew Rosenberg: So when, when you hit a certain age you’re banned from the society you’re sent off into the wasteland, which is an area where there’s nothing. Nobody [00:26:00] comes back. And it’s basically the kids think of that sentence.

They, they, they don’t, you know, different, different groups of the kids have different, different reasons for thinking it’s a good idea or for doing it or, or believing in it. But basically they, there are no adults around because they get rid of them when they show up. And I, you know, some of it is going to be explained in the book.

Some of it is not, some of it is whatever, but I think a big thing of it is that like, they definitely Harbor resentment. They definitely know that there were adults and they definitely know that the world is ruined now. And it was probably the adults fault. And so there is a deputy. Fear and resentment of the idea of adults coming back and they won’t let themselves turn into that.

And so that’s, that’s a big thing in the book of like, you know, do you let yourself turn into this thing that you hate? W you know, will you [00:27:00] become it, will you, will you accept your fate and not become the thing you hate when it’s time? And I think,

Jeff Haas: well, the thing that I found that very fascinating about.

Is that, like I said, most of us live our lives with unknown expiration date. Right. We can be 70, 80, 60, 50, whatever. But in this world, 18 or adulthood seems to be the day occlusive being kicked out. How does it change the mindset of these individuals to know that they have a definite

Matthew Rosenberg: end point? It’s interesting because it’s, it’s very, there are different.

We, we will start to get into this in some ways, there are different, the different groups. Think of different things. And, and so there are there are some of the gangs believe in a kind of afterlife and, and a world where you exist as an adults. Even though they’ve never seen it and don’t know anything about it, some of them, you know, they’ve sort of developed a, a faith, if you would like [00:28:00] they, they have a belief that, that thing.

Progress. Our group are pretty nihilistic and they basically exist to live and party. And when their time comes, they grit their teeth. They wander out into the wasteland. And from there, you know, it’s sort of labors why they’re different from a lot of the other groups of kids because they, they don’t have a future.

They don’t see a future for them. And they don’t believe in something after 18. And so that’s sort of a big contrast and a big flashing point in the story of who, who they are versus who some of the other kids are and what they believe. But yeah, I mean, I think, I think in a lot of ways, the idea, the ideas there, of, of, of how, how you spend your life versus what you have to do in life.

I mean, that’s the other thing is like they have to survive. They will take care of each other. They don’t have a lot of time to do. Certain [00:29:00] things and be like, you know, there’s no retirement age for them. It’s, you’re struggling to survive until it’s time to go. And, and that’s, that’s a big thing for them.

Help shape their kind of nihilistic view of their lives and the world. And one thing

Jeff Haas: I think I really like about what you’re doing here with the series is the importance of music in the series. There’s actually, and I, and I was looking, doing some research on you and I found a really interesting quote that you gave in 2007.

To alternative press. If you don’t mind, I’m just gonna read it real quick because it connects to, to music. He said to me, music is crucial when I write and not just because I spend a dozen hours a day alone, staring at a computer monitor. I go crazy without stimulation of some kind comics by its very nature, the silence static, medium, but asks a lot of his readers.

It asks them to see movement where there is none to feel the passage of time. Where there is none and here sounds where there are none. And in doing that and asking for voluntary since since, [00:30:00] since that seizure where I’m not sure I haven’t pronounced that from the reader, it’s so important that we have a sense of what they should be sensing.

So, and, and that, that was a fantastic quote about how music and. The, the story and you very purposefully and specifically have music connected to this series. Can you kind of go into that a

Matthew Rosenberg: little bit? Yeah. You know, I think on a lot of ways, I mean, I think, you know, everything I said four years ago, You know, a lot of times, if I read a quote back from me, I’m like, oh, well, that was crazy.

When I said that I’ll stand by. The you know, I, I think, I think both mediums, I think both comics and music are interesting because they ask a lot of the audience. They only, they only hit certain senses and they’re complimentary to each other, like a soundtrack to a comic makes sense to me and yeah.

A visual visual storytelling component to a, to an album makes sense to me. They, they really go together well. And I think, you know, I think it goes beyond that. I think there’s sort of the [00:31:00] collector culture and you know, the nature of being a comic collector and record collector and the culture of record stores and comic shops.

And we, you know, I could talk about that all day, but I think that there’s something really powerful about the idea of music. You know, in, in, in relationship to comics and the way I created in the way I experienced it. But also I think in, in how formulative they are for, especially for young people, I think comics and music are like really defining things of where you there.

There’s some of the first instances where you spend money and assert your taste and, and. You know, get into, you can really become, start to figure out what you’re into when and who, what, what you want to be and what you want to be like. And it’s, you know, do you want to go read you know, romance, Monga?

Do you want to read superhero comics? Do you want to read, you know, crime stories? You know, what do you want to read on the same thing? Like, are you going to listen to. You know, dance music. Are you going to listen [00:32:00] to hip hop or, you know, some hardcore, like whatever you’re into. And so I, I love those connections and I sort of try and, you know, synthesize that.

And there’s a lot of shorthand in my work for that stuff. But in this story, we had a great opportunity, I think, to a lot of the gangs of kids live in, in buildings that, that were other things. So they’re kids who live in a bank and they, they sort of fancy themselves as a kind of bankers, they trade and they bargain with.

They collect things and hoard what they determined to be wealth and there’s kids who live in a police station and they run around and try and enforce rules. And the kids who live in a record store just have records. And it’s, it’s not something that is useful in a post apocalyptic world without record players.

And there’s something really beautiful about that. And I think there’s something really beautiful about dedicating your life and your existence to something that, that is so important to you. But may not mean anything to anyone [00:33:00] else. And that’s really, you know, a big part of the story. And then from there, you know, we, I, I’ve done a lot of books where we had soundtracks where I’d be like, here’s a playlist and you can listen to this.

This is, you know what I think the characters are listening to, or this is what I was listening to when I made it or like this, I think just works well as, you know, while you read along to it we wanted to go a step further on this. So we actually. I reached out to a lot of, a lot of the bands that are playing now that I love, and that are huge inspiration and influence on me.

And I asked them if they would record songs that that would serve as the sort of soundtrack to the, to the book. So we have, you know, when the book comes out in November, there’s actually a deluxe version. That, you know, the first issue has a deluxe version that comes with a seven inch that features Blake Schwarzenbach did a song.

He’s a front man for two of my favorite bands of all time Jawbreaker and Justin was ill and he’s just an amazing lyricist and amazing songwriter. And he recorded a solo song. And [00:34:00] then Joyce Manor, who’ve been one of my favorite bands for the last bunch of years, last eight or 10 years, maybe.

They’re just a great poppy melodic band. And they were both really kind to record songs. And so we have this limitation seven months and we’re going to do one every month, but like they’re fun. Cause they’re sort of, you know, the, the book is about records in some ways and people who would carry these records with them and love these records.

And so we’re doing records like actual artifacts, but they also serve at the soundtrack. Very tactile, textural self-indulgent thing to do, but it, it, it just seemed like, yeah, let’s try it. Let’s go for it. It’s been a, it’s been a true nightmare to put together, but people have thought it was pretty cool so far.

And hopefully everyone who wants a record can get one. They probably can’t. But you know, supply chain problems. It’s not my fault. Yeah. So yeah, I mean, I’m, I’m really excited about that to just have an actual score and an actual. [00:35:00] Record, you can put on and listen to you while you read the book will be really cool.

And I, I hope it flavors the experience. You know, I’m excited about working with bands in this way, where they’re going to be bringing something else, artistically to a project. And it was just me and Tyler’s, I’m like, I hope people do listen to the records while they read it and, and really get a different experience than what we necessarily intended.

I think that’s a really cool collaborative thing that. So

Jeff Haas: in the creation of that, the soundtrack. Okay, awesome. You obviously, you know, there’s someone writing Larry, so the song is the combo being written. How does that, how do you guys choreograph that is the combo created first and you hand the conflict to them and they write the soundtrack to it.

Are they writing concurrently with you writing the story and you kind of connect with each other? And is there any time where. There was any conflict between what is written in the lyrics. What is really in the comm book and does one have precedent over the other?

Matthew Rosenberg: So, the, the soundtrack is actually the songs are [00:36:00] cover songs.

So they’re picking songs that are from an era that makes sense in the book, the bands are all picking songs and covering them. So they’re songs that the kids could be listening to. They’re not, you know, not those versions. But yeah, we send all the bands, the books to read and check out and then they’re sort of picking stuff they want to do.

And sometimes, you know, some of them, I’m like, that’s a weird choice. That’s not what I would have gone with. And, and that’s exciting to me. And sometimes I’m like, oh, that’s great. The, the seven inch for number three it feels so like the first issue very much feels. Tailored to the book, the second issue, the seven inch I’m really excited about.

And it’s very cool. And we’re going to be talking about it really soon, but the third one, I was like, oh, this is. This is the, the soundtrack. Like they nailed it. Like, this was what I was thinking when I was writing. Like, one of the songs that was covered is like a band I was listening to while I was writing the book and I was like, wow, that’s kind of, that’s awesome.

Yeah. Really intimidating and awesome. So there’s no [00:37:00] conflict. I think, you know, in some ways like, that’s the fun of it is not, I’m not running it like a.

Like a director of a film where I’m like, this is what I want the score to sound like, and this is what I want this to look like. It’s, it’s much more collaborative and that’s really fun. And, and so the bands are getting to do songs that they love and that mean a lots of them. And they’re putting what they think, you know, the book should sound like out there.

And I think that’s really cool to have a lot of different people interpreting that is really fun

Jeff Haas: or the songs that are chosen. Are they. Chosen for any, for approximate run land to coincide with the approximate reading of the section of, of the comic book or was that not a consideration?

Matthew Rosenberg: No, no. I mean, I think it’s really the band’s choices and they really are just doing what they think, what, what strikes them and what inspires them and stuff.[00:38:00]

You know, it’s a, seven-inch, there’s only two songs on them. So like the books are kind of long. You’d have to re you know, I, if it was like a normal Marvel DC superhero book, and it was 20 pages, 22 pages, like gay can maybe burn through that. And in a good seven, eight minutes, if you really read that. But this is, you know, our first issue, 64 pages.

Our second issue is 48 pages. That’s 110 pages and four songs. Is

Jeff Haas: this trend going to continue? Like, ultra sized issues?

Matthew Rosenberg: No. The issues are going to be as long as we need them to be. That’s sort of our rule where you’re trying to make the book exactly as we want to make it and not be confined by.

You know, cost or, or anything. So like, you know, if we do a 20 P I mean, we’re never going to make a like six pages, won’t be like, give us four bucks. It’s six pages. But you know, we’re doing weird things and we’re like, we’re playing with pacing and we’re playing with mood and we’re playing with tone and, and really trying to push ourselves to like, [00:39:00] not be.

Into just the, sort of the rigid structure that I think a lot of people are used to in comics. A lot of the stuff that both means either really love, really avoid that as much as we can. So we’re trying to push things and play with them. And so the issue is just they’re long because they worked long issue three as long also, but actually as reporters short issue for us, I mean, it’s longer than like a big two superhero comic, but it’s.

48 pages as much order. So, you know, it’s, it’s whatever we feel like we need the book to be. Yeah.

Jeff Haas: You know, I, I really wish Comixology and whatnot could find a way to include the soundtrack during the reading of the comic book when you read it

Matthew Rosenberg: digitally. Yeah. That would be cool. We sort of played with that idea and worked with it and not necessarily

We, we talked about, you know, getting the streaming for the thing or putting download codes in the book. We ended up not doing that for a few reasons. One we’re we want the records to feel [00:40:00] cool and, and like something special, like you, you really bought a deluxe thing and you really have it.

And like, obviously the physical record does that and there’s a variant cover and stuff. And those come with a digital download code the physical records, but we wanted the people who got the deluxe ones to feel like they got something special. We want to do incentivize people to go to the store and buy something.

You know, by a biophysical thing, I mean, we, we started working on this one. COVID hit and comic shops were closing and, you know, things were going to lock down. And we were like, when th when we come back with this book, we want to be giving people a reason to go into a comic shop and handle a bunch of money.

And so the records felt important. But also at the end of the day, like one we’re donating all the money from the records of charity. So we wanted to make sure that people bought them. We wanted to make sure I’m not worried that people aren’t going to buy them. I think demand is actually going to far outstrip supply, but we wanted to make sure because of the charity fundraiser that people are buying them, but also.

When the record is done, I’m not trying to be a record label. Like I put all this together myself. I’m not trying to hold all on these bands, songs and their recordings. We’re giving them all back [00:41:00] to the bands when they’re done. So like having them stream somewhere, like that’s not helpful to the bands because it’s their artwork too.

And they should have the opportunity to monetize it. So we made sure. You know, we get our seven inch and then we turn around and go, thank you your back and make it, they’re going to put them up. I’m sure bands are going to put them up online and they’ll be on YouTube and Spotify and iTunes and on their albums.

And then you can put it together yourself. But if you want to save yourself the legwork yeah. You have to get the, get the deluxe edition. And

Jeff Haas: you mentioned. Because the story itself is very much a post apocalyptic type story and coming out of COVID, which kind of felt in some ways, like an apocalypse event, not because of the, not just now the deaths, but I mean, I’m sure most of us do have the experience at some point early, kind of early on in the COVID time when you’re leaving the house.

And there’s literally no one out, no one on the roads. No, one’s in the stores. I mean, it just kind of feels empty. Did the. [00:42:00] Did that help inspire the creation of the study? Was there ever, was there an impact from that in your writing?

Matthew Rosenberg: Yeah, I mean, we had a lot of the book. We had a bunch of the books done before COVID hit.

And then we had a real panic moment of being like, are we making post-apocalyptic art in the post apocalypse? Is that something anybody wants to experience? Mad max is a fun movie to go to an air conditioned theater and get, get a popcorn and a soda and watch, I don’t know that madman while you’re hunting for water and trying to survive in the desert.

Right. So, yeah, I mean, it was a real panic, but you know, ultimately all along our book is about is our book is it’s dark in places and it’s, it’s sad, but it’s also about. People coming together through hardship and people persevering and creating forging the world in the future that you want to see.[00:43:00]

And I think, you know, a lot of the inspiration for the world in the book was, was climate change stuff. And just realizing that, you know, little kids growing up today are not going to be facing the same world that I grew up facing or that, you know, my parents grew up facing. They’re going to be facing, you know, depending on.

You know, what projections you you’re, you’re seeing and trusting like somewhere between like crazy weather happening all the time and mass bam and, and displacement not to get too dark. And so, you know, that was a big inspiration for the book and a lot of ways of like, what does it look like to be a kid in that?

What does it look like to be facing that future? It’s me examining it for, you know, my family and the people I love and you know, the rest of my life, but also it’s about, we wanted to tell an uplifting story about like the things you can do and, and, and [00:44:00] the things that matter, even in the darkest moments.

And so COVID just reinforced a lot of those ideas for us of like the idea of, of friendship and community and, and, and caring about other people and, and looking out for other people. And. Doing what you can to survive and the greater good and, and all these things were already in the, in the DNA of the book.

But we also had a bunch of characters who like thought there was a plague and wore gas masks all the time. And we took those guys out because that was not a fun. That was not a fun issue. So yeah, I mean, it’s influenced them in all sorts of ways. Well, like I

Jeff Haas: said, and I really liked not only how you describe it here, but you described it in your, on your webpage as being a story of survival and the story about our loved ones.

How are you using that to ground the story and going back to what kind, what we discussed earlier about being a new combo, trying to get readers. How does, how do you, how has it also being used as a way to get readers to gravity? [00:45:00]

Matthew Rosenberg: Towards it. Yeah. You know, I think there’s an interesting thing in the book and you know, some of that I won’t get into here because some of that spoilers, but like, the kids consider each other a family and it’s, they’re a found family.

And so I don’t distinguish, I think that the people you love and rate and who, who helped raise you, whether they’re your peers or your biological family, or. You know, people you find along the way, whatever they are, that’s your family. I think, I think we’re in an age where, you know, I think we’re starting to really understand that family is defined by more than just biology and, and blood.

And so when, when I said it’s about your loved ones it’s about found families and it’s about, about community and, and that, that to them as their loving. And I think when you ask, how is, how is building a book from scratch and how is building a new world sort of informing that and whatever. I mean, I think the challenge for us is making [00:46:00] people care about them, making people care about our characters and, and their bonds.

And I think the way, you know, just in a storytelling technique, like, one of the simplest easiest ways to care about to get people to care about. Is to show that other people care about them and show why people care about them. And so that’s something we try and do that, that, like, we have a big cast, there’s a, there’s a lot of kids, but there, you know, there’s really strong ones and there’s really, you know, there’s leaders in there who are inspiring and there’s but they’re vulnerable and there’s really funny ones who are also very sweet.

You know, there’s, there’s all sorts of different combinations of characters and, and these traits that I think people will identify with or see people they care about and identify with, and hopefully it will speak to them and they’ll have an attachment to these kids and this world and, and want to see them survive.

I mean, if we’ve done our job, that’s what, that’s what happens. They want to find, they want to see our [00:47:00] kids survive and, and find happiness and find safety. And so. That that’s the story. And, and, and so the family there is, is sort of, you know, it’s, it’s built into what it is by design, but it’s also, it’s what it has to be.

It’s it’s, if you’re going to have characters who love each other and, and you want people to love them, Yeah. Having them be a family just makes sense in a lot of ways.

Jeff Haas: Well, I mean, I I’m, I had the great pleasure of being able to read your, the preview comment that you sent me in. I don’t think it’s a fantastic series.

The RS fantastic. As well. And the artist is Tyler boss,

Matthew Rosenberg: correct? Yes, Tyler boss. He wrote it and I mean, he drew it. It’s not red. It the, I forgot what I did. I mean, you know, we work on everything together except I don’t work on the art. So we worked on the story a lot, but he drew it and, and, and, and colored colors at there’s actually a version [00:48:00] where he lettered the first issue.

And then I yelled at him and was like, we’re going to hire a letter or because of your time. And you’re not as good at it as a professional letter. He’s not bad letter, but I was like, we can get a better letter. And he was like, I don’t know. I like my letters. And then my buddy Hassan Hassan LOA is a great letter and has such a good understanding of age that I was like costly.

Letter four pages of this, so I can show Tyler. And he was like, yeah, of course. And so we sent it to him inside. It was like, oh, oh, that looks so much better. So there are people actually who have seen Tyler’s lettered version. And I, you know, I think if you weren’t sort of studying it, you wouldn’t necessarily know it’s a subtle thing.

Maybe you wouldn’t necessarily know, but Haas really adds so much to the book. And so, yeah, it’s the. It’s R R weird little thing. Can I convince you to

Jeff Haas: release a version of the comic book where it is a letter so we can compare the two?

Matthew Rosenberg: That is a good, terrible idea. We actually rewrote it a bunch.

I rewrote a whole [00:49:00] bunch of it. We, we sold a couple years ago. We were doing New York comic con and I always try and do like, especially in New York, which is my hometown show, like a charity. Component to it. And so we made preview copies of the book, which are part of the first issue, but like actually kind of there’s different stuff in there.

And we sold those and gave all the money to charity and That’s Tyler’s lettering and that book. And if people dig those out you know, we sold a couple hundred of those when, when this comes out and people dig it, dig it out, they’ll see that like characters, names have changed and jokes that moved and like there’s whole explanations for things in there.

And there’s a lot of pages that are rearranged and move. Like we really have been tinkering with this for a long time. So, no, we will not be putting out Tyler’s lettered version, but if you’re really desperate to see it, you can definitely track one down on the BAMS.

Jeff Haas: All I’m saying is director’s cut is his own saying that’s fair.

Matthew Rosenberg: Usually when you want a director’s pet, you want it to be better. This would be [00:50:00] worse written book. It has some typos. Yeah, so it’s a, it’s a anti director’s cut. That’s true. That’s true. Maybe we’ll do, maybe we’ll really try and sell people a worse version of a book like, Hey, this is, this is not as good as the book you already bought checking.

Jeff Haas: It it’d be a brand new marketing technique. In my opinion.

Matthew Rosenberg: I like it. It might go well, if it goes well, I’ll give you. Oh, that’d be great.

Jeff Haas: And, and thank you right there. Thank you, Jeff, for giving me this really horrible

Matthew Rosenberg: idea. Now we’re all rich. Yes.

Jeff Haas: So when when can our listeners find the first issue and will it be monthly bimonthly or is there going to be like, I know sometimes it image they do like saga do like a six month, take a break six months again, or is this gonna be

Matthew Rosenberg: consistent every month?

Okay. So first issue comes out in November. So, you know, if the book sounds interesting to you you know, it would help us out and probably help you out and definitely help your local comic shop out if you’ve called them and asked them [00:51:00] or stopped in and asked them to pick up the first issue of what’s the brightest place from here or subscribe.

I can still do that easily. If you want the version with the record, you should definitely call your common Chubb because those are disappearing very quickly. And you can just say the deluxe version and yeah, it’s it’s a monthly book. What we’re doing after the first art, where we have a plan.

We have not talked to image about that plan. So I can’t say what it is. I’m sure it’s what we will end up doing, because image are awesome and super supportive and it’s a good plan, but I have to tell them before I tell you but at least for the time being, it’ll be coming out every month and we will explain what’s happening.

To the readers when we got there. All right.

Jeff Haas: Sounds fantastic. And I wanted someone. Thank you, Mr. Rosenberg for spending the time with me. It was fantastic talking with you and I think your series sounds fantastic

Matthew Rosenberg: as well. Thanks so much for having me. This was super fun.

Jeff Haas: All right. Thank you so much. I hope you have a great night.

And when [00:52:00] you’re ready to come on to talk to write for another project, come on and talk about it.

Matthew Rosenberg: I would love to that sounds awesome. All right. Have a good night. Bye.

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