I thought Matt Kindt's graphic novel "Super Spy
" would be along the lines of the "Spy vs. Spy" strip in Mad magazine. A fanciful cover encourages such a comparison by showing two stalking spies and their concealed tools. However, this graphic novel, in the likeness of Art Spiegelman's "Maus
," is gritty, graphic, hard to read and frightening. It depicts the life or death stakes in the real business of espionage.
He presents the novel in chapters that are numbered dossiers. Each one arrives between the covers as if the drawer containing them had been emptied on the floor. Kindt maintains, however, that the order is not random and gives his permission for the reader to read them in numerical order.
To me, that's missing the point. The point of Kindt's work is the art; how each frame contributes to the themes of war, loyalty and self preservation. Typical of Kindt's work, some elements of the story also get told outside the lines of the frames. One coworker asked, "Why are those pages yellow." The story takes place in WWII, I answered.
Living and working in Webster Groves, Matt Kindt has led cartooning workshops at several St. Louis County Library branches.
--Bob S., Rock Road Branch