Matt Kindt’s Masterful ‘Super Spy’ Dossier
Matt Kindt is not yet a household name in the comics field, and this fact borders on the criminal. You see, Kindt has quietly been producing noir masterpieces with almost frightening consistency for a number of years now, first in collaboration with Jason Hall (Pistolwhip volumes 1 and 2, and Mephisto and the Empty Box), and then on his own as the writer/artist of 2 Sisters and the just-released Super Spy, his best and most ambitious work to date.
Super Spy is a 336-page graphic novel of WW2-era espionage consisting of 37 masterfully interconnected short stories presented as “dossiers,” each of which is issued an identifying dossier number as well as a title. As such, the reader can read the book in chronological order if desired, but the order intended by the author for maximum dramatic effectiveness is as presented in the book…which is to say, out of sequential order. Such a conceit could come off as a gimmicky juggling act in lesser hands, but Kindt skillfully keeps all of his dramatic balls in the air throughout, and to powerful effect at that.
The dossiers, between them focusing on a sizeable cast of spies rather than simply upon the titular “Super Spy,” take place in a variety of locations in the European theater. Most of the action takes place in Axis countries and is almost exclusively centered on Allied agents as protagonists…or is it? The agents’ stories included encompass both males and females (including wartime romances between them in several cases), and spies of both the professional and amateur variety. As such, Kindt provides himself a canvas on which to paint deeply personal, introspective stories of a distinctly literary bent, while at the same time telling a larger, more complex story about a side of the War, and the effect of the War on its active participants — though not active in the strictest battlefield sense. Oh, did I mention that it’s also a taut, suspenseful page-turner?
All of this, plus the fact that Kindt’s brushwork is nothing short of gorgeous, and the mostly one- or two-color presentation of the stories (along with some sequences is full-color) provides an atmosphere perfectly suited to the stories being told adds up to masterful comics-making in my book. If you’ve not had the pleasure of making Kindt’s acquaintance on the page, I highly recommend that you rectify the oversight at your earliest opportunity.
Oh, and if you’re going to be attending SPX next month –and if you’re into comics and live, or will be, remotely near the D.C. area, you absolutely should be attending– you’ll have the added opportunity to make Kindt’s acquaintance in person, as he’ll be appearing at the Top Shelf booth during the October 12-13 show. Tell him Comics Alliance sent ya!