Two Ghosts Walk into a Room… An Interview with Artist Matt ‘MonsterMatt’ Patterson
This week’s guest has been called a “Renaissance Man of Horror” and with a resume that includes everything from podcasts to comic book creator I’m inclined to agree. He also happens to be a long time supporter of the clubhouse and a die hard fan of toys, monsters and comics. Most of you have probably heard one of his jokes floating around on the internets, maybe you’ve even read his book (Monstermatt’s Bad Monster Jokes). That’ right, our guest today is Matt “MonsterMatt” Patterson!
Comic illustrator, author, sfx artist, movie actor… is there anything you can’t do? Can you breath under water? Juggle chainsaws?
*laughs* I thought it read “juggling coleslaw,” which I probably did as a teenage fast food worker. But, you said chainsaw… oh brother!
I try to do everything I can, it has led me to very interesting people and experiences. I just enjoy it all, I guess. I wish I could breathe under water, but Aquaman and The Man From Atlantis beat me too it!
How did you become involved in so many different forms of media?
Sculpting and mask-making came about during physical rehab in 2006, following a rotator cuff surgery. I borrowed some PlayDoh for hand strengthening and started making shapes. Eventually, I made my first sculpted mask. Even before I had the arm sling off, I made a mask of The Fly (1950′s version). I applied liquid latex, paper towels, and paint over my ice hockey helmet. I even made a claw by cutting 3-liter pop bottle in sections, taping it and using the same application processes. It was very painful, but I had to do it! It was Halloween after all.
Painting is something I experimented with in the 90′s, by doing a huge painting of Ren & Stimpy‘s Powdered Toast Man character on the side of a barn. That led me to getting a chance to paint characters on a comic book shop’s window. I did four windows [and] then the comic shop relocated. I didn’t touch painting again until this January. So, almost… 19 years?
And the voice acting?
Voiceover or radio stuff has always been something I enjoy. I used to be one of the news people at the college radio station so [it's] really just a continuation of that interest, coming out as podcasts, etc.
What’s cool is that my efforts are registering with people. Two notable figures of horror, Lloyd Kaufman and Bill Oberst Jr., referred to me as a “Renaissance Man of Horror.” That’s a wonderful compliment and hefty standard to aspire to. Wish me luck!
Were you always a “monster kid” or did you fall into the genre over time?
I think I was a “monster kid” and [maybe] didn’t know it. I spent equal time with superhero stuff, but [I've] always kept in tune as much as possible to the monster/horror genres. I actually gave up on all of it for a very brief time and kind of came back with a renewed love for it.
What’s the appeal of the genre for you? Why’d you come back to it?
In monsters and their stories, there’s a level of bitter-sweetness and honesty to the creatures. Sure, they’re destroying cities or whatnot, but they need to be understood. They’re looking for kindness. Plus, having a creature from another world or a blood-sucking fiend terrorizing someone is just so cool!
Last year you released ‘MonsterMatt’s Bad Monster Jokes Vol.1’ which seemed to be well received. How did that book come about?
I started writing jokes for HorrorNewsNet, then posting other jokes, in audio form. Eventually, I had written enough material and got urged to compile them. Author and friend Nick Cato came up with title. Kyle Kaczmarczyk approached me to illustrate it and we ran with it!
We’ve gotten great reviews over and over from small websites up to Rue Morgue Magazine, so it just makes me happy knowing we reached people. Whether it’s the illustrations or the corny content, there’s something there.
So what’s the best Bad Monster Joke you’ve ever heard (or written)?
Q: What’s a Scream Queen’s favorite math problem?
A: LINNEA equation!
Q: What do you get by crossing the Gillman and a bean?
A:The Creature From the Black LEGUME!
Q: What’s The Phantom of Opera’s favorite coffee drink?
A: La, lalalalalalala, LATTE!
The Wolfman and I got into an argument. Yeah… he BARKED at me, when I MOONED him. It got pretty HAIRY.
Horror and humor often go hand in hand, especially in today’s popular culture. Why do you think the two are so closely related?
Going all the way back to Abbot & Costello Meet Frankenstein, or the idea of a Horror Host, there’s [been] a symbiotic relationship there. Is it because we crave a safety valve to yank us out of whatever we’re watching, if it gets to be too much? It’s an interesting thing, for sure. I think the circuitry in our brains elicits similar signals and triggers, that come through for both creators and fans alike. [That's] just one of many possible theories.
Did you find it difficult to pitch the book to publishers? Anything you would have done differently?
I would say that most publishers were willing to listen to the pitch. Our editing/publishing family at PillHillPress and West Neb Books has been great to us! They’ve got a great band of talented writers over there!
Being that I’m still relatively new to this, I would say a lot of things could’ve been done in a different manner. I’m still learning about various resources for writers [and] being a member of the Horror Writer’s Association has helped a lot. People are very willing to give advice, when asked.
You were recently involved with another book, Rack Toys: Cheap, Crazed Playthings, by Brian Heiler (PlaidStallions). Can you tell us more about that project?
Brian’s work with Plaid Stallions and Mego Museum really resonates with me! Mego’s are my ultimate toys… those and the Simms Batmobile. His book is a love note and showcase of 70′s toys, like AHI superhero stuff, monsters, tv shows, etc. I love the packaging from those toys, it’s some of the most colorful well-designed stuff! The Batman stuff was just superb!
I met Brian at our mutually favorite local flea market/antique market and I spent the morning with him and other Mego Museum members, shopping, searching and just talking about vintage comics and toys. It was a heck of a great time! He talked about his book and I showed some of my art. He pitched an idea and I practically ran home to sketch it out. I love vintage toys and memorabilia so this was a heartfelt project for me in the biggest way!
You mentioned Kaufman earlier and it looks like you’ve also got a role in Troma’s upcoming Return to the Class of Nuke ‘Em High. How did that opportunity come about?
I met Lloyd in May and we talked about industrial locations for the film. It was funny. One thing led to another… he told me to be a part of it and I became an extra (a teacher) in a few scenes. Best time I ever had on a set!
What’s the strangest thing you remember doing as a kid?
Well, this one time in band camp… *laughs* No. No. That wasn’t me! I was a marching band geek, though.
I did a lot of oddball stuff, like ride my ten speed down the school halls during a night time concert. The janitor chased me and my friend! We almost got caught. Why did we do that? I’m still not sure.
Either that or riding huge chunks of ice down the river – I did it all of the time. Our house was along the river and I’d go onto the neighbor’s dock. The ice was moving with the current and I’d climb down and sit on one. I’d go for about a mile, then climb up another dock and walk back home. I’d do it over and over. I never once considered the consequences.