Comics: Focus on Matt Kindt

super spyBy Sven

For those on the lookout for unique voices in comics, if writer/illustrator Matt Kindt has not blipped on your radar, it’s time to fine-tune your scanners. Specializing in complex, reality-shattering narratives, and a fluid illustration style soaked in watercolors, Kindt’s decade-plus long career in the industry has resulted in some of the most unique and resonant comic books today. Luckily the Seattle Public Library’s commitment to quality material secures his place in its catalogue.

Proving a reliable talent from the beginning, his early publications 2 Sisters and Super Spy quickly established Kindt’s proclivity towards mind-bending stories thick with subterfuge. These tandem tales set in the same world of espionage weave a century-spanning tapestry of subversive violence and secrets. Even after several of comics’ biggest publishers noticed Kindt’s distinct imagination and began clamoring to recruit him, his work proved deliciously idiosyncratic. For example, his operatic take on DC’s monster-laden Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.Eand his hallucinatory artwork on Oni Press’s meta-superhero book The Tooth tweak reader expectations through ingenious twists of conventional tropes.

2 sisters   frankenstein shade     the tooth   3 story

Despite his foray into collaborative corporate comics, Kindt hasn’t abandoned his solitary independent approach, still crafting books entirely by himself. 3 Story tells the emotional story of the world’s first and only giant man from three different perspectives. Red Handed: The Fine Art of Strange Crimes explores a world where every character is connected through bizarre criminal situations. And Revolver depicts a man who experiences each day twice, once normally and once in a divergent timeline where the world is ending. All of these books explore various facets of contemporary anxiety through the expressive compositions and inimitable splashes of color that have become Kindt’s signature.

red handed   revolver   mind mgmt   mind mgmt 3

His most ambitious work to date is Mind MGMT, a five-volume thriller for Dark Horse that envisions a government agency populated with spies with varying psychic abilities, like the ability to be instantly forgotten, or to look into one’s own future. The book is riddled with quizzical scrawls and covert messages, revealing the narrative through the margins just as much as through the pictures. At a time when there is so much discussion surrounding the need to reinvent artistic mediums, this book is a prime example of an author creating a new storytelling language.

spider-manLittle more than a decade after his modest beginnings, his resume has blossomed to include work on blockbuster franchises, and he shows no signs of slowing down. He has written Justice League and Suicide Squad for DC, both properties currently being developed as feature films. For Marvel, he recently wrote the Spider-Man miniseries “Fight Night,” pitting the beleaguered webslinger against every one of his former enemies. And for Dark Horse, his Star Wars tale “Rebel Heist” imagines Luke, Leia, Han, and Chewbacca embroiled in a plot to steal information from the Empire. Every title mentioned in this article is both fantastic and carried by the Seattle Public Library. I can’t recommend any of them highly enough.

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