Our perspective on the future is constantly changing. Often times, the way we imagine the future is a reflection of how we view our day to day lives. Sometimes it's The Jetsons, with their glamorous world where everything is automated except exercise. Other times, its Starship Troopers; We may have better technology but we are still at war and, for the most part, things aren’t so great. The anthology All We Ever Wanted hopes to give people a brighter perspective on the future.
Today I am speaking with Matt Miner the editor of the anthology that is currently on Kickstarter. Here are the highlights from my conversation with him. Of course, if you’d like to check out the full interview you can do so by listening to the audio clip attached.
Big Shiny Robot: If you could, can you tell me a little bit about the project and what you hope to accomplish?
Matt Miner: All We Ever Wanted is an anthology project with 25 stories or so, stories told against the backdrop of a more hopeful future. Eric Palicki and I have been doing these anthology projects. The first one was This Nightmare Kills Fascists. That was really kind of us venting our frustrations and our fears, everything that we were seeing going on in the country and in the world. We kind of used that as an opportunity and we asked a bunch of friends then to contribute. Used that as an opportunity to vent and work through our feelings and frustrations and fears. After that we decided to do something a little more hopeful with a lot less politics. Look to media like Star Trek as inspiration of something told in a more hopeful future that still has conflict in the story.
When we approached creators we left with the better future would be up to them and their interpretation so we have a really diverse lineup of stories. People telling their stories against the backdrop of a better future
My personal story “my better future” is about the planet reclaiming itself and there being a lot fewer people on earth. Other people see a better future as a huge leap forward with technology. It really runs the gambit there. One unifying theme is that there is no dystopian nightmare. No Mad Max type stories or pessimistic stories. All very forward thinking and optimistic.
BSR: I’m getting some of the easier questions out of the way here, how did you pick the artists and writers for this story?
MM: It was friends of Eric, friends of mine, and friends of Tyler from the publisher. From the 3 of us we know a lot of people in comics and we asked a lot of people for the previous anthology This Nightmare Kills Fascists, we decided not to reuse any of the people we used for that anthology because we want to give more people a chance to tell their stories. For All We Ever Wanted, there is a lot of working professionals. Seasoned professionals, rising stars, a few people that are new talent that we wanted to give a chance to join. All incredibly strong creative talent.
BSR: Anthologies really give everyone a chance to shine
MM: We really wanted to give a chance to a couple of people who need that chance. We got people that we knew would do something great with the opportunity. Everything we’ve been getting back from people has been really really excellent so we are super stoked on this!
BSR: Im glad you said stoked so I can use it too!
MM: Im trying not to swear though I know you’re in Utah
BSR: One of the things that is brought up in the Kickstarter is Black Mirror, Mad Max, and kind of talking about these shows, how do you think these shows and movies affect the way we view our future?
MM: Well, I mean, I think we have been promised a dystopian future for a long time. I remember back to movies like Terminator and that was giving me a look of the future where robots go to war with humanity and looking back further to the the great sci-fi literature, 1984, Stranger in a Strange Land, V for Vendetta; You’re looking at these dystopian futures and its kind of my feeling we are starting to see in the U.S. the dystopian future we have always been promised. Unfortunately people seem more okay with it than I’d like.
I dunno, I forget what your question was but it really seems like because of the constant flood of negative stories regarding the future we have lost some of the hopefulness that you saw in things like Star Trek and especially The Next Generation or Caprica. A lot of the sci-fi that took place against the backdrop of a more hopeful future
BSR: We need something like this book. What is the impact that you would like this book to have. How would you like to see this impact?
MM: To be clear, this book isn't political. We had a few pitches that were political and we sent them back to be reworked. This book is not political in nature. All I’d like to see happen from it is people enjoy it, be comforted by it, and leave a little more hopeful than they came into the book with.
BSR: Some of my favorite comic books of all time are Calvin and Hobbes and how much that influenced me as a person probably good and bad. Comics have the ability to do that. Any comic has the ability to do that like Calvin and Hobbes or Superman or something like this anthology it can still have an impact, not necessarily a political one but one of just making people feel a little bit better about things
MM: Calvin and Hobbes is a great example as it captures that childhood optimism and innocence and curiosity about the world. Hopefully we get a little bit of that magic in this book; i think we might.
BSR: I am curious for you, comic/movie/TV show, what is it you go to personally to uplift your spirits a little bit.
MM: I've watched Black Panther a few times in the last couple of weeks. Black Panther and Spider-man: Homecoming have been really helpful to me the last couple of weeks because they are so uplifting and forward thinking. They're still full of conflict but they are a better kind of conflict than the dower gritty future that so many other movies want to portray. Those two have been really great for me. I know Thor: Ragnarok is supposed to be up there but I haven’t watched it
BSR: Getting back to the book a little bit. Your comic Poser, one of the things I thought was so cool about it is that there was a soundtrack to it. There were two songs that went along with the comic book. I think The Gig is fantastic. I love punk rock so it's that sort of punk rock style that's really up my alley
MM: Did you listen to it long enough to where it kind of morphs into the synthwave stuff?
BSR: Yes and I thought that was amazing!
MM: Those were composed by Joel Grind from Toxic Holocaust. I think he did a really great job. I didn’t have anything to do with the music composition or the arrangements but I think they did a fantastic job of capturing the punk feel and the John Carpenter horror vibe.
BSR: Let's say you did have a choice for this anthology, what are some songs you would put on the soundtrack?
MM: That's funny I actually made a Spotify playlist for All We Ever Wanted. It's a lot of synthwave and some of the happier darkwave stuff by Clan of Xymox and Bootblack which is a local Brooklyn band here. Some Sisters of Mercy is on there. It's up there on Spotify and you can check it out.
BSR: Talking about your work and tying it to All We Ever Wanted. When I look at your work, the word I wrote down is more brutal than All We Ever Wanted appears to be. I was curious what drew you in to being an editor to this anthology whereas your other work is what seems like more guts and gore than this.
MM: I mean, I'm a big fan of grindhouse horror movies. It's the kind of path I've been on; politics and horror are kind of my deal. But with All We Ever Wanted we just wanted to do something different. Most of my stuff isn’t going to be the uplifting happy positive future stuff . the book your talking about Poser is a slasher horror book so i mean it's very, very different from this. My story in All We Ever Wanted is very different. It's just such a dark time, we just wanted to do something that was a little bit lighter.
BSR: I think it's the perfect time for it. Talking about your involvement with All We Ever Wanted, was it difficult going from the slasher gore kind of political aspect to a more softer tone. Did you have a hard time making the switch?
MM: I found it to be pretty easy. I was in an anthology from vertigo a couple years ago where i toned that down and it was a brighter future. It was in the back of my mind and played into this anthology. It really wasn’t tough for me. I dunno if its something I'm going to want to do all the time but it definitely felt like self care. Something a little lighter instead of the constant darkness has been good for me. I haven’t had any problems and in fact I think it was pretty necessary.
BSR: I've got one more question for you. Easy question. When you look at the future personally do you see a world more of Star Trek or of Wall-E?
MM: Oh god, you mean a cute robot? Right now I am seeing more of Wall-E, aren’t you? I hope it's more Star Trek but I'm seeing more Wall-E. I'm hoping for Star Trek but expecting more Wall-E.
BSR: That's all the questions I have is there anything you’d like to plug or say?
MM: Sure if people want to check out the kickstarter its at: All We Ever Wanted. If you wanna check out Poser it's going to be in diamond catalog next month or you can check out the version with the record at Poser. It’s an exclusive through the website with the record. You can find me on twitter at @mattminerXVX