Overview

3 Stories of Matt Kindt - Part One

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To the average mainstream comic book fan, Matt Kindt’s name probably doesn’t ring a bell. While that may change soon – Kindt has a Black Widow story in the works for Marvel – the creator won’t every venture too far in the world of superheroics. His multiple Eisner Award-nominated and Harvey Award-winning body of work is of a more straightforward humane level. The latest example of this comes along this week, when Dark Horse releases 3 Story: The Secret History of the Giant Man.

BF spoke to Kindt about what to expect from 3 Story and the characteristics of his oeuvre.

BROKEN FRONTIER: he solicitation for 3 Story indicates it’s a rather bleak story: Craig’s a giant and keeps growing, which puts him through lots of physical and emotional pain.

MATT KINDT: True. The story definitely has a little bleakness to it – but ultimately a little bright spot too. I wanted to push the idea of this man who keeps growing as far as I could – what would it be like to be three stories tall? What would your hearing and speech be like? How would you perceive everyone else? I did stretch the science of it all quite a bit. There’s no way someone could really live to be as tall as Craig gets in real life.

BF: While the solicitation paints a pessimistic picture, it also foreshadows a dose of irony: Craig’s seen by the masses as ‘the Pillar of America’…

MK:
There is some irony. I was thinking a lot about perceptions and about individuals differing views of life and each other. One of the ways I did that was with a government-written book-within-a-book detailing the life of Craig and contrasting that with his reality.

I’m also using the book-within-a-book as one more view of an individual. One of the big themes I was playing with in 3 Story was this idea of the unknowable person. So I use this government-written book and Craig’s wife and daughter and mother as four distinct views of this one larger-than-life person.

BF: How important was it for you to humanize Craig as opposed to having him be the star of a freak show?

MK:
That was really important. I really treat him more as a celebrity instead of a freak show. He’s really beloved. The trick was, I didn’t want to tell this story from his point of view. The initial thought is to follow him around and get his thoughts in all the captions and really get to know him, but I really wanted to avoid that. I wanted to put this distance between the reader and Craig. To make you work a little bit as a reader. So hopefully by taking all the disparate pieces and clues that you get from the three different women in the story you can put it together.

The bonus in doing that is you hopefully get an idea of not only who the giant man was, but who the three most important women in his life were, and the impact that he had on them.

BF: Did you draw inspiration from classic tales like Gulliver’s Travels?

MK:
I’d have to say no – I’m ashamed to say I’ve never read it. My brother teaches high school literature and talks about Gulliver’s Travels a lot, so I know the basics but Guliver’s Travels is much more of an allegory than 3 Story is.

My true inspiration – and really where the idea for the entire book came from – was from my father’s cousin who I met for the first time a few years ago. He was a really tall guy and he had huge hands. Just a really big guy. And I found out that he had a tumor in his brain when he was a kid that was stimulating his growth to the point that he would have kept growing and growing until it killed him if they hadn’t take the tumor out.

So I started thinking about what that would be like. What would it be like to be three stories tall? What would things look like? What would things sound like? I was more interested in the practicalities of that giant existence. What kind of clothes would you wear? How would you make a living? That kind of thing.

Another strange subconscious influence was a book I used to love as a child and had forgotten about until I was halfway into writing 3 Story. My daughter found this old book from a stack of books I’d had as a kid called “Giant John”. I loved that book as a kid and I ended up putting a small section in 3 Story that works as sort of a homage to the book. Here’s a link to the book – I highly recommend it:

The story is about a giant who is starving and goes on the road to make money to buy food. He ends up accidentally destroying a castle and then helps the family rebuild it. There are more than a few interesting parallels to that book than I even realized until just now.

   

To be continued tomorrow....

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