On this edition of Let’s Talk Comics! we talk to Matt Schorr, the mastermind behind the return of the greatest Whale in literary history, Moby Dick! First things first, I reviewed Moby Dick- Back from the Deep ahead of this interview so let’s DIVE into that before we chat to Matt!
Just to let you all know, I love the sea and all the weirdo creatures that live in its murky murky depths, ESPECIALLY and not limited to the colossal squid, the Megladon and giant whales. So I was pretty much inclined to love Moby Dick no matter what, but couple that with a really charming art style and dynamite storyline line and it is safe to say I am hooked! (Yep the puns are happening)
So our story takes place a White Sands Beach, where is seems a giant angry whale isn’t the only thing making waves. We meet the Mayor, his daughter, the Sherif and a local fisherman. It is very clear from the get go that the Sherif is not the Mayor’s biggest fan! The narrative is carried along by the narration of the Mayor’s daughter, Katherine. Who seems like a really nice kid, we are introduced to themes of political unrest within White Sands but the Mayor is kind to those he speaks to and tries to be a good dad to Katherine. I liked him straight away! There are clear parallels to be drawn between the physical unrest coupled with the physical destruction Moby causes Vs the sociopolitical unrest that is running rampant through the town and its citizens.
The first time we see Moby Dick in the full is straight up AMAZING, I am not going to show you the whole panel BUT WOAH. It is a huge and immensely striking image, Moby Dick looks like a demon being that’s been spat out of hell looking to cause chaos! The beach scenes really give me Jaws vibes and the simple yet highly stylistic art style make really strong use of the panels and the spaces between the panels. Some scenes are rich and detailed however some are striking and sparse. The overall design delivers a unique look that really suits the narrative.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading through Moby Dick, Matt has created a really wonderful reimagining and I look forward to seeing how the story progresses and seeing what further chaos Moby Dick is going to reign down on White Sands Beach!
How long has your love affair with writing been going on?
- Probably since childhood. I knew at an early age I wanted to write, and even then I wrote about monsters. In fact, there’s a picture in one of my parents’ old photo albums that shows me writing a story about giant sharks while we were on vacation at the beach.
What was it about the story of Moby Dick that inspired you to bring him back?
- It was, of all things, a YouTube video. I happened upon one of those badly edited mashup videos that showed Captain Ahab finally getting revenge on the white whale by traveling through time and getting a modern day aircraft carrier to launch a torpedo at him. The whole thing was absurd — which is why it hooked me so easily — but the final image of Ahab letting out a triumphant scream stuck with me. What if Ahab actually killed the whale? What if he chased it for centuries, never dying until he finally did it? The whole thing grew from that.
What is a typical day for you?
- I work in communications, so I do that until 5 pm Monday through Friday. Then, the rest of my evening is pretty much dominated by my 2-year-old son. He’s learning more and more words — that’s both exciting and scary — and we’re in the early stages of potty training. He also loves dinosaurs and Dory, so I’ve watched The Land Before Time and Finding Nemo more often than I can count.
Who would you say would win in a fight between Megladon and Colosall Squid?
- I have to go with the Colossal Squid.
How did you combat any bouts of writers block?
- I usually read other books.
What difficulties did you encounter whilst creating Moby?
- Time. Between work and fatherhood, finding time to just sit and write can be darn near impossible.
How did you find the process of funding via Kickstarter?
- Stressful. Like, really stressful. Everyone who’d done it warned me, and I did as much research as possible beforehand. Still, like so many things, you really don’t know what it’s like until you do it. Even with all the research, I’m still learning about the process, and even though I’ve already reached my initial goal with plenty of time to spare, I’m still stressed over successfully accomplishing everything I promised.
What, other then Moby Dick other works of literature inspired you as a writer?
- Bubba Ho-Tep by Joe R. Lansdale. It’s the story of an elderly Elvis Presley in a forgotten Texas rest home battling against an Egyptian, soul-sucking mummy dressed as a cowboy. The concept is laughably bizarre, and yet Lansdale still delivers one of the most heroic and touching stories I’ve ever read. (Certainly the most heroic Elvis story.)
Tell us all about your Halloween traditions?!
- Decorations, costumes and movies! Each year, we add something new to our yard. This year, that will be a life-sized horse skeleton that just happened to be my wife’s birthday present and a giant spider built from PVC pipes. We’re big Hocus Pocus fans, so she’ll be dressed as Sarah Sanderson and I’ll be Billy the Zombie. And speaking of Hocus Pocus, we have a list of horror and Halloween-themed films we watch, ranging from Bride of Frankenstein to Halloweentown to The Monster Squad.
If it is not a secret, what will you be dressing as this year?
- The plan is Billy the Zombie from Hocus Pocus … but I’d love to find a way to also be an evil Circus Master.
What tricks/ techniques would you suggest to budding writers?
- Read other stories. Comic books, novels, short stories, it doesn’t matter. Read and read a lot.
What piece of advise would you give to anyone looking to start out in the comics industry?
- Be prepared for people to hate your work. I’ve been accused of everything from un-originality to attempting to corrupt the youth of America. Full disclosure, though, even after all these years, I’m still not good at this.
Which character from popular fiction would you like to reimagine and why?
- I’d love to take a shot at Robin Hood.
If you were cursed by a sea with and turned into a sea creature which would you hope to be and why? (no Moby allowed!)
- The Kraken. As long as I avoid Medusa, I’d be invincible!
It has been awesome to get to know Matt and to read Moby Dick, I can’t recommend this title highly enough. It is full to the brim with charm and full of characters I am eager to get to know!
You can keep up to date with Matt here:
Clicking the banner below will take you over to the Moby Dick: Back from the Deep Kickstarter page!