San Antonio native Matt Frank, an artist known for the Godzilla comics, brings Ultraman and Transformers to life with a new pinball machine and card game


This is the main art of Ultraman: Kaiju Rumble !, a new pinball game based on the Japanese superhero Ultraman from the 1960s. Artist and San Antonio native Matt Frank made all the art. Game. For more than a decade, artist Matt Frank brought Godzilla and other giant Japanese characters to life in comics and convention prints. Now the San Antonio native uses his skills for puzzles and pinball machines. Last month Frank revealed his very first pinball job with Ultraman: Kaiju Rumble !, a game based on the Japanese silver-costumed superhero from the 1960s. Despite the character’s relative obscurity in the United States, Spooky Pinball, based in Wisconsin, sold Ultraman units in just four hours. Then there’s Frank’s next turn on the Transformers. In October, Renegade Game Studios in San Diego will release a new deck-building card game and 1,000-piece puzzle featuring Frank’s portrayals of Megatron, Optimus Prime, and other disguised robots as they appeared. for the first time in the 1980s. This new take on old franchises is sure to raise Frank’s profile. Although no matter the medium, the artist said he always brings the same enthusiasm to his work, much like a child playing. “I’m fortunate that the products I’ve worked on are, more often than not, properties, franchises and characters that I love since I was a kid and have followed all my life,” said Frank. , 35, as he makes his way home to his home in Austin. “And playing in these universes is a joyful experience for me not only as a fan but as an artist.” For the Ultraman pinball game, that literally meant playing on the web. The result is a swirling array of lights and ramps, with Frank’s Ultraman art covering the back glass, cabinet, and pinball playgrounds like comic book gift wrap. Artist and San Antonio native Matt Frank strikes a pose with “UltraMatt”, a custom action figure based on 1960s Japanese superhero Ultraman. “How you bring your art into the machine is highly dependent on how the game is played,” he said. “Your art is simply the machine itself. To prepare for his first pinball game design, Frank studied famous pinball artists such as Dennis Nordman and Kevin O’Connor. Then he incorporated his own knowledge of Ultraman, both as a fan and as a collaborator with Tsuburaya Productions, the Japanese studio behind the original Ultraman series. “He absolutely understood everything about Ultraman, as much as us and even more,” said Corwin Emery, member of the Spooky Pinball design team. “He probably knows more than (Ultraman Eiji’s creator) Tsuburaya.” While Ultraman is still popular in Japan, most Americans are unaware of the saga of Special Search-Party Science Officer Shin Hayata and Ultra Warrior alien who merges with him to protect Earth from the space monster Bemular. and other intergalactic villains. Nonetheless, Spooky sold its entire line of 500 Ultraman machines, which ranged in price from $ 6,995 to $ 8,995. Emery attributes this to Frank’s art. Frank stated that the most common thing he had heard about the pinball game was “I don’t know what Ultraman is” followed by “but that’s really cool so I get it”. In fact, the art of the game was so well received that Marvel used it as the cover for an issue of its limited series “Trials of Ultraman”. The main playground for the pinball game Ultraman: Kaiju Rumble !, featuring artwork by professional and native San Antonio artist Matt Frank. It’s not a hard sell when it comes to Transformers, especially when the merchandise mirrors the toys and cartoons that started the franchise in 1984, roughly a year before Frank was born. “With all of us, we’re definitely thinking of Transformers nostalgia,” said Jeanne Torres, Senior Creative Manager, Board and Card Games at Renegade. “(Frank is) our go-to guy. We’ll ride together as long as he’s available. This isn’t the first time Frank has played Autobots and Decepticons for a paycheck. His previous Transformers credits include illustration. several comics as well as the creation of four new characters called the Raptoricons for the official Transformers collectors club. Aside from the big robots, Frank always has a place in his heart for kaiju, or Japanese monsters. Frank has made his mark. entered the comics a decade ago with a special cover for “Godzilla: Kingdom of Monsters” # 1. The University of Texas graduate then began filling comics and store shelves with various Godzilla-related projects Most notable: “Godzilla: Rulers of Earth”, a 25-issue series from IDW Publishing that remains the longest Godzilla comic in the character’s 67-year history . Frank’s work has since won over fans on both sides of the Pacific. In 2016, IDW made “Godzilla: Rulers of Earth” its first Godzilla title to have a Japanese edition. Then, the following year, Frank began working with Tsuburaya on a comic published in Japan and the United States centered on Redman, a warrior fighting monsters similar to Ultraman. Meanwhile, Frank’s kaiju art has graced Blu-ray covers and streaming services as well. He directed the cover of a limited edition of “Tremors”, the 1990 giant verse film starring Kevin Bacon. And if you search for Gamera on Amazon Prime or YouTube, you’ll see Frank’s artwork from the Monster Turtle, which serves as icons for all 12 movies in the franchise. Frank’s next project will go back to its roots in comics. He and Austin writer and artist Paul Hanley are working on a Kickstarter campaign for “Miss Medusa’s Monstrous Menagerie,” an original series that Frank calls a workplace comedy-drama with monsters. It’s a project Frank said he wanted to do since high school. Although he stressed that his work never comes full circle because it always goes up and forward. “The great thing that stays consistent for me whether or not I’m working for Marvel or on a pinball machine or a card game or even new comics, is that I always try to bring a level of excitement to my job that I don’t like. I don’t think every artist is lucky enough to have, ”he said. Who says you can’t play with your job?

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