Most people probably wouldn’t believe that a comic book could provide the best window into alternative sexual lifestyles. Don’t tell that to Matt Hawkins.
Hawkins, a veteran of the comic book industry and longtime president and CEO of the Top Cow Productions comic-book studio, has created and written over 30 new franchises. Among Hawkins’ creations: Swing, which centers on the lives of Dan and Cathy. To the outside world, Dan and Cathy are a model married couple—kids, good careers, nice home, healthy family—but their relationship includes an exploration of their love and boundaries through the practice of swinging with other individuals and couples. The Swing books successfully weave eroticism with drama, humor and education about the lifestyle. That last element is key; according to Hawkins, all aspects of the swinger lifestyle that are depicted in the books are 100% true depictions, culled from the experiences of actual swingers.
In between the release of Volumes 3 and 4 of Swing, Hawkins spoke with HUSTLERMagazine.com about the origin of Swing, the impact that it’s made on his world and the frequent misrepresentation of the swinger lifestyle in pop culture.
HUSTLERMagazine.com: Swing is a very progressive book. Did you come from a progressive upbringing?
Matt Hawkins: My parents were right-wing evangelicals. I was raised in the nutty Trump kind of world, seriously, and I’ve gone so far in the other direction now that it’s kind of interesting. My parents aren’t with us anymore. So I got kinda free to do and say what I want. I was a little more careful about what I said while they were alive, because I didn’t want to upset them. When I got into comics in the early ’90s and became part of Image Comics … most of the people in comics are very liberal, and it was kind of a shock to my system. I hadn’t really worked with gay men or gay women ever, and suddenly, one of the guys I was closely working with was this gay man. And I got to know him, and honestly it transformed my view of people and sexuality at that point. And I was still very young. It was interesting for me because my parents were sort of lifelong anti-gay.
I got to meet this guy and got to know him. And then I finally realized that my manager, my agent, my lawyer, all these people are gay, you know? When people are demonized to you as a child and you grow up that way and you’re never around it, you just don’t know any better—and I’m not trying to excuse these right-wing nutjobs, but I consider myself very fortunate that I’m in the career I’m in and that I’ve met the people I have and that I’ve been based in Los Angeles. If I’d have lived in San Antonio, Texas, or Dallas or Houston, I don’t know that I would have the same mental outlook that I have. Which is a good intro to talking about Swing, because Swing is certainly a book that my parents … they would not support [it], nor would they advocate. And it has become, honestly, my best-selling book of all time.