Real Interviews: Matt Wilson

Nerdcenaries: Greetings Matt Wilson of Copernicus Jones, the Comics Alliance sponsored podcast War Rocket Ajax as well as internet projects such as The Content Farm and The ISS!
Matt Wilson: Hi, Luke. Thanks for asking me to do this.
N: No problem. I’m always happy to make easy content with these interviews.
MW: You are a true Internet Journalist.
N: When I end up producing two articles a day plus organizing the work everyone else does along with looking for work it is the little things in life. If you had to compare yourself with one Poke’Mon from the original, who would you choose. As in – who is your spirit Poke’Mon?
MW: I’ll admit something to you, Luke. Unlike my War Rocket Ajax co-host Chris Sims, I am no expert in Pokemon. Charizard, I guess? That one was pretty neat.
N: Haha, gosh Matt. Failing already. If Sims reads this he might start looking for a new partner.
MW: I’m his non-Pokemon watching, non-brony counterpoint. I balance him out. We’re like the Andre 3000 and Big Boi of comics podcasting
N: Haha. Well, how did you get your start in this wild internet territory?
MW: I’ve been writing Internet comedy for basically a decade now, starting with a blog in college. Somehow I managed to make some connections and get some freelance work for National Lampoon and, where I met Chris. After I was at Cracked, I started the ISS. Then I kind of branched out after that into all the stuff I’m doing.
N: What would you say the key to conquering this Internet humor landscape is, preferably in a nonsensical message?
MW: Ego. So much of what I’ve written on the Internet is simply the result of a wild, unchecked ego. And hey, I got a book deal out of it! So I would suggest having no self-restraint whatsoever. You’ll go far. (Also, luck, and getting to know people who are funnier than you.)
N: Do you think writing comedy is more about writing what you find funny or writing what you hope others find funny?
MW: I guess it depends on your goal. Part of the reason I quit writing for Cracked is that it became so focused on whether commenters would agree with the lists rather than find them funny. At the ISS, I did a lot more of just writing what I thought was funny. And, you know, Cracked still updates and gets huge traffic. You have to find a balance, I guess. Write the crazy stuff that’s funny to you, and throw in a linkbait list in there here and there. That’s how you keep your muse and need to be liked in check.
N: Would you call video gaming webcomics the equivalent then to the Blue Collar Comedy Tour? Where they are targeted to such a limited audience less because they want to write it and more for popularity?
MW: Heh. Certainly not all of them. Some are genuinely funny. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having a niche. After all, I’ve written plenty of comedy about comics. Some webcomics–not just the ones about video games–clearly do pander and go straight to the lowest common denominator. And of course, a lot of those are extremely popular. But they’re not all like that.
N: It’s like there is Bill Hicks on one scale and Larry the Cable Guy on another.
MW: I’d have a hard time naming a webcomics equivalent to Bill Hicks, but sure.
N: Haha. I know what you mean. Gamer comics have less longevity that most standup. Now I know you are also a rap fan. If you got to pick any Wu-Tang Clan member to take over the role of any Avenger or Justice League member and to gain their powers, who would you pick?
MW: The easy answer is to make Ghostface Killah, aka Tony Starks, Iron Man. But I’m not one to take the easy path. I think the GZA, the Genius, should become Aquaman. He has liquid swords! He’d be a much better Aquaman than the one we have.
N: Doesn’t the one Aqualad have liquid swords?
MW: Your question didn’t say anything about Teen Titans.
N: The only Teen Titans I ever cared or knew much about was the one cartoon.
MW: Same here.
N: Now you are writing this new webcomic Copernicus Jones. Is this your first webcomic?
MW: The first one that actually officially launch, yes. I had a Penny-Arcade-style webcomic with a friend seven or eight years ago, and we made a few strips, but it never really got off the ground.
N: But now you’ve gone to Copernicus Jones with Dan Butler. How would you describe that?
MW: Well, I came up with the name long before it became a comic. Jay Pinkerton, the writer who brought me to Cracked, had a forum on his old comedy site where we’d often repurpose old comics. A lot of my entries in those comics contests would involve giving characters funny names and funny titles. Like, one was “Abber Abdabber, Town Crier.” The name and title “Copernicus Jones: Robot Detective” came from that. Eventually it entered my head to make it a real comic. I started with the idea of making it a noir parody, but as I wrote the script it’s become something else. Its a genuine noir story. Just with robots in it.
N: Are we actually going to see Abber Adabber in the comics?
MW: No, I think he’ll only have his one appearance on that forum that doesn’t exist anymore.
N: Now is Copernicus Jones going to be a webcomic you plan to keep going indefinitely or will do you have a planned ending for it?
MW: I’ll just have to see where it goes. I don’t have a planned ending for it, no. Though the next arc will be pretty different. You’ll see a much younger, much fresher Copernicus, back when he was on the police force.
N: Is Copernicus going to have a crossover with Atomic Robo?
MW: That would almost certainly be up to Brian Clevinger and Scott Wegna, not me and Daniel. It’d be hard to find a story for them both to exist in, but it’d be fun.
N: Would you rather have more ridiculous cross franchise comic crossovers or less? I mean, I’d like to see Copernicus Jones and Hector Plasm.
MW: I think crossovers can be a lot of fun, as long as they make sense. Copernicus is hard to cross over with anyone, really, because he exists in such a particularly genre-specific world, though. Putting Hector Plasm in our noir setting or moving Copernicus into a creepy, horror setting would be weird.
N: Now, you’ve been on War Rocket Ajax for almost a year now after replacing Euge. How long will it be before you start performing as Adam WarRock?
MW: Ha. I think Euge would probably take me to court if I tried. And he’s got legal experience, so I’d definitely lose.
N: Could you kill him before that or even rub him out since you live in Chicago and therefore you know at least two mafiettes?
MW: Maybe. Admitting to it here probably wouldn’t help me get away with it, though. And I’m more familiar with supervillains than I am mafiosos.
N: Haha. Is there anything else you’d like to pimp before we go?
MW: Well, as I mentioned, I know quite a bit about supervillains. In fact, I wrote a book about them! Or, should I say, my alter ego King Oblivion Ph.D. did. It’s called The Supervillain Handbook, and it comes out next April from Skyhorse Publishing. It’s got full-color illustrations by artist Adam Wallenta, and I’d like to think it’s pretty dad-blasted funny.
N: Is dad-blasted different from dad-blastaared?
MW: If you’re dad-blasted, that’s bad. If you’re dad-blastaared, you should probably just give up.
N: Well Matt, thank you for your time!
MW: Sure. Thanks, Luke.

Luke Herr

Luke is a writer and an aspiring professional comic writer who is also the editor in chief of Nerdcenaries. He currently is working on a graphic novel called Prison Spaceship.