Exclusive Interview: Andy Burns Talks Liberator With Matt Miner

liberator_issue1cover-timseeleyThe fine folks at Black Mask Studios are putting out some fairly unique comics right now. Last week we talked to Adam Egypt Mortimer about Ballistic (check it out here), and this week, we’re chatting with Matt Miner, the writer behind Liberator, a vigilante series thats victims are animals. It’s an interesting twist on the whole concept, but whether you’re an animal lover or not, it’s a strong story that resonates and clearly means something to its author. Matt Miner was kind enough to answer some questions about the new series via email.

Andy Burns: For everyone just discovering Liberator, could you tell them a little bit about the story?

Matt Miner: Liberator is a gritty vigilante adventure with heroes who, instead of beating up guys in tights, are taking on real-world issues of dog fighters and animal abusers.  The story is inspired by real-life people who do this kind of stuff: they pull on masks in the middle of the night, save animals and make abusers’ lives a living hell.

Andy Burns: I know this is a very personal tale for you as, along with you’re writing, you’re a dog rescuer – tell me us a little bit about that side of your life. How did you wind up becoming a dog rescuer?

Matt Miner: I was active in the aboveground (legal) animal rights movement for years and once we moved to our current neighborhood in Queens there were animals right in front of us all the time that needed help immediately.  Dogs and cats running the street as strays, dogs thrown out to fend for themselves after losing fights, bait dogs dumped, you name it – it’s horrible shit and so my wife and I are pretty active in helping whoever we can out here.

liberator_05Andy Burns: You’re working with Javier Sanchez Aranda – how has that collaboration been so far?

Matt Miner: It’s been great!  Javier really gets the concept and brings about another level of the storytelling that’s just incredible for me to witness.  He takes my dumb ideas and makes them work! I’d never be able to pull this story off in a traditional prose format – Javier’s artistic skills have brought this book to life and Joaquin Pereyra’s colors provide a deep moody landscape for our heroes.  It’s a great team!

Andy Burns: How did you wind up working with Black Mask Studios on Liberator?

Matt Miner: Well I already had the pitch pages ready to go and I’d been looking around for a publisher who’d be the right fit.  At the same time, a twitter acquaintance pointed me to the Occupy Comics Kickstarter project, which I’d never heard of, and that’s where I learned about Black Mask Studios – just my luck I saw that one of the principals of the company was Steve Niles and I was already kind of twitter pals with him, so I asked if I could bend his ear for five minutes.  After chatting with him he decided to let me pitch the project and now here we are!

Andy Burns: I was reading your web site, where you mention that some were skeptical that this subject matter would work as a comic, but it really does. Were you always confident that the story belonged in comics? Did you ever question it yourself?

Matt Miner: I always knew that this would make a great comic book concept! I’d seen videos of the real men and women who do the kinds of actions you’re reading about in Liberator and I always thought they were like superheroes but for animals and I just knew it would make a great story for the funnybooks.  I hoped other people, folks like you and me who’ve been reading about Batman their whole lives, would like the concept of masked vigilantes working for animals – and it seems it’s really resonated with a lot of folks.  I’m stoked!

Andy Burns: Along with Liberator, what else are you working on?

Matt Miner: Well I had a story published in the current issue of Occupy Comics (#2) and I’m working on putting together another creator owned property right now but it’s too early to talk about that. I’m also working on more Liberator stories because I really want to do another series after this one’s done!

Andy Burns: Finally, is there anything you’re reading, watching or listening to that Biff Bam Pop fans should check out?

Matt Miner: I read and watch all the same nerdy stuff as everyone else I think – I’m excited for Breaking Bad to come back and bummed that it’s over, sad to see the last season of Dexter too.  Comics I’ve been loving include Saga (of course) The Massive, Batman, and oh – Ballistic #1 from Adam Egypt Mortimer and Darick Robertson just dropped today and it’s OH MY GOD SO GOOD.  So people should definitely check that one out!

Thanks to Matt Miner for taking the time to talk to Biff Bam Pop! You can find out more about Liberator and purchase copies at Black Mask Studios here

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