Matt Kindt Talks Spy Superb and the Secret Codes Hidden Within the Clever Espionage Comic Series
Matt Kindt recently released the latest title from Flux House at Dark Horse Comics and the New York Times bestselling author recently took readers back to the Super Spy universe with the Spy Superb, the mystery-thriller comic series following Jay, “the useful idiot” who is a secret organization’s attempt to build the perfect spy. Kindt teamed up with colorist Sharlene Kindt for the new genius spy series. The duo previously collaborated on Dept. H together, a sci-fi mystery series also released through Dark Horse.
As Jay completes mission after mission without him even realizing he is doing so, one mistake has put him in the crosshairs of Russian hit squads and assassins. The first issue’s release delivered a fun, enjoyable premiere issue that is as quotable as a Kevin Smith film. If espionage, action, or as the publisher describes it, John Wick meets Wes Anderson is of any appeal to you, then this should be the next thing you grab at your local comic shop. Might want to add the rest of the series to your pullbox as well as this adventure is only set to get better with a deadly second issue.
Matt and Sharlene Kindt took the time to answer a few of our questions about Spy Superb and their process of working together as well as Kindt sharing a hidden code that readers can find within the comics which could lead to some fun, “super-secret spy thing(s).”
GN: How closely related will Spy Superb be to Super Spy?
M. Kindt: It’s definitely the same “universe” and is a sequel. BUT – there are only 2 pages in Super Spy that you even kind of need to know about – to understand Spy Superb – and I re-drew the scene in a new context within Spy Superb – so it’s self-contained. You can go back and read Super Spy – or not – they will both work independent of one another. That said, go back and read Super Spy – I think it holds up pretty well!
GN: You are doing the art for this book. Anything in particular that makes you want to take on the role of artist in some of your stories or is it just a stroke of serendipity?
M. Kindt: My story ideas are like this river full of fish – they keep swimming by. I don’t have time to grab them all – so when I see one that I really feel like is right for me to draw – I reach in and grab it. The rest of them go by and I’m lucky to be working with some amazing artists – and they get the rest of the fish…we cook ‘em up together and have a great time. That’s really it. I just try to pick stories that I think my style is ideal for – just like I try to write for specific artists – and write stories that will play to their strengths.
GN: You and Sharlene Kindt are teaming up again! Does this change your technique or mentality when creating the art? Same question for Sharlene, any different approach when working with Matt?
M. Kindt: It’s a relief for me – I feel like I can just sit back and let the color happen – I trust her instincts so much – that I really don’t have to do much other than go through pages and let her know what’s happening. She takes it from there. This is the first book where I asked her to go through the pages with a red pen and just circle the bits where the art needed to be better.
I was re-drawing a lot of stuff. She has a good eye so in many ways she acted as art editor on this as well. I was fixing hands, shrinking heads, and re-drawing faces all over the place…and it made the book so much better.
S. Kindt: On this book I intentionally used a different approach than I used for Dept. H. Dept. H was a surreal underwater experience but this story is more about subtle character interactions. I used an under-wash to mute the color and keep it more grounded in line with the themes. My approach to this story was more about color choice and using a more subdued watercolor technique.
GN: You have absolutely dominated the spy genre and keep finding new ways to engage readers. What about this genre do you love that has you returning time and time again? What fuels these fresh ideas within the genre?
M. Kindt: I wish I could put a finger on it. I’m not really sure. There’s something just interesting about espionage. It plays on a lot of themes that I have in my work – paranoia and the idea of what’s real and what’s not. Why do we believe what we believe and who can you trust?
I’m generally a very trusting person but I also have a very active imagination so I’m always thinking about ulterior motives and that kind of thing. Having grown up on super hero comics, I think it’s also a more grown-up way of playing with the same ideas of heroism and secret identities – but in a more real world kind of way.
GN: You’ve grasped a way to include humor in your books that flows so naturally and at times feels unintentional to me. Is this done by design or as Bob Ross would put it a “happy accident?”
M. Kindt: Yeah! That’s a great way to describe it. I don’t think I’ve ever set out to write a “funny” book. But I feel like humous circumstances will often suggest themselves to me while I’m writing. I don’t consider myself to be a funny person in real life. And I’m not a fan of comedies – in film or books. But I do like grounded stories that happen to have funny things in them.
It’s kinda like life, you know? You go through the day and It’s not a funny day. But a funny thing will happen. Every once in a while, I’ll have a really bad day – where the bad stuff keeps stacking up.
A flat tire in the morning…my computer crashes…I break my pinky toe by stubbing it on the laundry table…my watch was in my pocket and went through the laundry…nothing funny about any of that – but I’ve had a day where literally all of that happened in 24 hours…and it was funny to me because it was so unbelievable. Especially the toe breaking. I looked down at my pinky toe and was pointing 90 degrees sideways.
Huh, I thought. So I pushed it back so it would be straight again and it felt like rubber…thought it was weird that it didn’t hurt worse. But I think I was in shock…was in the shower 15 minutes later and I got sick to my stomach…haha – horrible story – but it cracked me up. So weird and bad. I guess humor can just be about your outlook when bad stuff happens. And a LOT of bad stuff happens in Spy Superb. It ends up being funny…until it’s not.
GN: Lastly, anything you can divulge to readers about Operation Spy Superb ahead of the series’ first issue release?
M. Kindt: Watch out for secret codes. They’re going to be all over the place. Send them to me, post them online – and I’ll make sure you get sent some kind of super-secret spy thing…that’s as specific as I can be. Orders from the top.