Ep. 28 Matt Hawkins - Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained39m | Jun 7, 2022
On Episode 28 of the Get Overit Podcast, we sit down with Matt Hawkins, president and COO of Top Cow Productions, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary as one of the biggest players in the comic book industry this year.
“Top Cow was founded in 1992 by Mark Silvestri, one of six artists who all left Marvel comics together to form a company called Image Comics. It was Rob Liefeld, Todd McFarlane, Mark Silvestri, Jim Lee, Eric Larson, and Jim Valentino,” Matt says. “They all left together and created a new company, basically to fight for creator rights. They wanted to own their own content and they wanted to own and control the characters and their creations.”
Matt has been at Top Cow for almost 25 years, and in the industry for a total of 29 years, though that wasn’t necessarily the path he saw himself on at the start. He wasn’t a fan of comic books growing up, and he credits his ability to write with playing Dungeons & Dragons. His academic path led toward a master’s degree in Physics from UCLA.
His work in the comic book industry—he has written over 600 books—is steeped richly in research, which he revels in. “I do a deep dive. And in many cases, the research I do on projects takes years. I did a book called The Clock, a few years ago, which was about the weaponization of cancer. And I spent four or five years researching it, interviewed several immuno-therapists and actually brought a couple people on board that would edit me and make sure it was authentic. And in the back of books like that, which I do heavy research, I include what I call a science class, which explains the research and where they can go to see that this is actually legitimate. The idea of the weaponization of cancer might seem absurd, but it's very plausible, probable, and it could have already happened. And I explain all that and show how it works.”
Matt has had to imagine many different types of lives and scenarios for audiences of mixed interests and behaviors over his career. “The most successful book I'm writing right now is about an ethically non-monogamous couple. A romance book written for women. That book is published in 27 languages, 57 countries around the world. It's my most successful book, read primarily by middle-aged women.”
Why does Matt encourage other dreamers to look for opportunities to veer off course? “Nothing ventured, nothing gained,” he says. “Most people don't take advantage of opportunities that present themselves. I honestly got lucky. I got a lucky opportunity…And then I fought hard and honed my skills. And I've been doing this for 30 years. And you're right. I don't see me doing anything else. And I really love what I do. For me, my work is a joy.”