Interview – Redman: The Kaiju Hunter Writer/Artist Matt Frank

The recently had a chance to speak with Transformers and Godzilla artist Matt Frank about his upcoming new comic book “Redman: The Kaiju Hunter” and find out more about the title and the brand as well! But first, here is a description of Redman from the US-based distributor, Night Shining, Inc.:

Trapped in a desolate and yet somehow familiar world populated with an vast array of the ferocious beasts known as “Kaiju,” Redman continues his endless Red Fight, battling tirelessly to cull the monsters. With each fierce battle, the mysterious, blood-splattered “hero” sinks closer to his prey, ready to strike. This while a sinister form watches and records his every move…
The original Redman television series from Tsuburaya Productions debuted April 24, 1972. It ran for 138 episodes, ending in October of the same year. Its penchant for unusual treatment of its main hero as well as for the creatures he dispatched each episode led to the show finding status as a cult hit and internet phenomenon. Now artist Matt Frank (Godzilla, Transformers) and colorist Gonçalo Lopes (Bio Wars, Dodge City) bring the tokusatsu hero back to life in the pages of a new comic series and no kaiju is safe! Thank you for your time for talking to us about Redman. While we understand there is a dedicated cult following for the series, it’s not a widely known TV show here in the US. Can you give a short explanation what it’s about?
Matt Frank: So the way I’ve been describing Redman to potential readers is “You remember Ultraman? He’s like that if you mixed him with the Punisher!” Redman was a live action segment of a children’s variety show in Japan circa 1972. Tsuburaya Productions had already enjoyed great success with their Ultra series, and by 1972 had expanded their roster of shows and characters beyond the Heroes of M78. Redman stands out for being strangely, beautifully bleak and surprisingly violent. The lack of dialogue and short, vicious brutality of the show lead to an unintentionally oppressive atmosphere, and when fans rediscovered it after Tsuburaya uploaded the series to YouTube in 2016, tokusatsu and kaiju fans fell in love with it.
A: If you know, what gave Tsuburaya Productions the motive to try to revive Redman?
M: I believe it must have been the YouTube activity. Uploading the series to YouTube found a new fandom that devoured the look and feel of Redman. Noting the popularity Tsuburaya made a few Redman events, or at least one, in Japan. They even put the series out on dvd, if I recall correctly. So they’re aware of this cult following for this weird, offbeat, almost Adult Swim style show. How did you get involved with the relaunch/comic? – My publisher in Japan, Phase 6, has already had solid success adapting the IDW Godzilla comics that I worked on. The company owner, Andrew Hall, saw Redman on YouTube. He was already a tokusatsu fan but he immediately loved the memetic quality of the show, not to mention the potential of expanding on the show’s setup. He approached Tsuburaya, and they agreed almost right off the bat! Andrew and I foresaw great promise in our partnership, so he wanted me to headline the comic, especially since I’m so familiar with tokusatsu.

A: What can we expect out of the comic? Other than Kaiju carnage of course.
M: I would describe the themes of the series to be madness, demunanization, but also perseverance. Redman isn’t a monster. He’s a hero. Or he used to be. There’s a reason he is the way he is. But if I dig too deeply into why he is what he is, I run the risk of ruining his mystique and inherent appeal. There’s a lot of mystery in the comic that I encourage everyone to interpret and become engrossed in.
A: What’s the release schedule for future volumes?
M: I’m currently working on volume 2 which should be out in Japan later this year. I’ve got at least 2 more planned!
A: We’ve seen your artwork on pins and t-shirts to accompany the comic books. Can you give any hints what’s next up for related merchandise?
M: Oh man, the things I’ve seen! There’s a lot of potential for fun things that maybe even have a retro-Japanese collector quality to them. You’ll see!

A: Lastly, would you care to share anything else about Redman that fans might want to hear?
M: If you love kaiju, and Japanese super heroes, this is right up your alley. Especially if you want something that has history, but a totally unique feel. It’s also one of the best looking books I’ve worked on. Gonçalo is a coloring master and follows my direction incredibly well. Please check it out! You won’t be disappointed!
A: Thanks again for your time!
Readers can find out more about the comic and place a pre-order here: The first volume of the comic is 5 chapters, 128 pages long. It is actually seeing release in Japan today (May 30th local time), and the English language release is next month. The first 100 pre-orders of the English language version will get a special edition foil collectors’ trading card. We’re being told that they are closing in on a sell out though, so get those pre-orders in quick!
Also as mentioned, Night Shining, Inc. are offering a pin set of Redman vs. Arstron on their site. The set can even be bundled with the comic pre-order for a few dollars savings.

And, lastly for the current merchandise, they have a Red Bubble store with five t-shirt designs available in multiple styles and colors:

You can check out a 5-page preview of the comic below, and follow the latest news on the Redman Facebook page or the Night Shining, Inc. Twitter.
Don’t forget to discuss Redman in our Kaiju and Tokusatsu threads in the General Discussion Forum.