3 Stories of Matt Kindt - Part Two

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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 next Wednesday, when Dark Horse released
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.

3 Stories of Matt Kindt - Part One

BROKEN FRONTIER: Your two previous graphic novels – 2 Sisters and Super Spy – both found a home at Top Shelf. What made you take 3 Story to Dark Horse?

I think Top Shelf’s publication calendar was full at the time and I really wanted to branch out and see if I could get a book published by a somewhat larger publisher. And also try to reach a different and maybe larger audience that doesn’t necessarily pick up some of the more indie type books.

Also, my editor at Dark Horse, Diana Schutz is someone that I’d met at the very beginning of my career and she’s really been looking out for me from the start so I was truthfully excited to work with her as well.

BF: For Dark Horse, you’ve also got two short stories in the works that people can read on the company’s MySpace page this month and next. What are these tales about?

Those are going to be two 8-page self-contained stories that center around Craig Pressgang (the “giant man”). They’re kind of a travelogue for Craig – each story will follow him on different parts of his world tour. The first story is him in Paris and the second story is him in Cairo.

In the graphic novel he goes on a world tour to raise money and do some other super-secret things I don’t want to spoil. I show a bit of his travels in the book but these short stories give me a chance to create a couple vignettes of what Craig’s life is like on the road.

BF: The Super Spy story will be continued at Top Shelf with a new graphic novel. Like the first, will this be another collection of your digital weekly strip over on Top Shelf 2.0?

MK: I haven’t really decided if I’m going to do that or not. I really enjoy doing the web comic thing but keeping up that weekly schedule that I did with Super Spy really wore me out creatively. And the second book “Super Natural” is structured a little differently so that they are 5 sections to the book.

So, if I did it online it would maybe be released monthly. Still too early to tell! I actually have two other books coming out after 3 Story that have been sucking up all my time  so Super Natural probably won’t be finished until next spring.

BF: At first sight, it’s odd that artists with a seemingly simple style pay so much attention to page composition and want every line they draw to be a relevant one. Why do you think that is?

MK: Hmm. Well, I think that the fewer lines you use, the more simple your style the more careful you have to be with composition and pacing. If you’re filling every page with thousands of little details, it becomes less about composition and design and more about the rendering. And I’ve just never been about the rendering. I like good drawings as much as anybody, but I’m a storyteller, not an illustrator so I think the drawing need to always be in service to the story.

Ultimately, it’s about communication and I think there is a balance to the amount of detail in a panel. If it’s over-rendered it’s going to stop the reader on every panel so they can take it what’s going on and interpret the action. On the other hand, if it’s too simple, there’s nothing visual to grab onto and you can lose a reader that way too. I try to walk that fine line.


BF: What’s also important about getting the details right is solid research. Did you do a lot of research for your Super Spy stories? And where did research factor in for 3 Story?

MK: I did a lot of research for Super Spy. It started out as just a way to get the details right and figure out what clothes and cars and things people ate and did during the war years. But then the further I got into it, it served as inspiration for the stories and characters.

I read memoirs of people that had lived through the war in different countries and learned everything I could about the actual spy craft of the era and that just presented a lot of material that made its way directly into the book. Some of the wackier things that are in Super Spy were actually things that happened. The spy that was dumped into the river with his pockets stuffed full of disinformation? Totally happened. The same thing with that crazy underwater three-man sub at the end of the book. All real.

I also used the classic Arabian Nights tales as inspiration – sometimes directly for the Cairo series of chapters. I felt like I was having to spin these new spy stories every week much like the format of Arabian Nights. Posting a new spy story online every week so the king wouldn’t execute me!

There were also a few personal stories in there that I just changed slightly to fit the espionage theme. The story with the cookies under the hat – was actually based on a man who was a friend of my fathers. He would bring me these chocolate animal crackers every time he’d visit and I loved them. Then one day he died in a car wreck. When they were cleaning up his house they found his hat and under it was a box of chocolate animal crackers. I’ll never forget it.

To be continued tomorrow...

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