The following is an interview with New York Times bestselling writer/artist Matt Kindt regarding the recent release of his and colorist Sharlene Kindt‘s mystery/thriller series, Spy Superb, from Flux House and Dark Horse Comics. In this interview, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief Barbra Dillon chats with Kindt about the inspiration behind and creative process for bringing the series to life, his collaboration with wife and partner Sharlene Kindt, the details on a new horror series in the works, and more!
Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: This month saw the release of Spy Superb, depicting a spy who doesn’t even realize he’s a spy. What can you share with us about the genesis behind the series’ protagonist and the series overall?
Matt Kindt: It’s an idea that sort of sprung from a few different places. I really wanted to do a story about a spy with delusions of grandeur…or a person with delusions of grandeur that thought he was a spy…and maybe he was a spy but didn’t know it? And then maybe thinks he’s a sleeper agent – but isn’t. Which is really a call-back to an older character from my previous book, Super Spy, that had a character that was called the “super spy.” And he blew himself up. The nickname was an ironic one. I thought it would be fun to explore that idea of the character but rather than WWII we see how the super spy has evolved into a modern sort of “useful idiot.”
BD: How would you describe your creative process in crafting this mystery/thriller? It’s always thrilling to follow your mystery stories as the reader, but I would imagine that crafting the narrative and staying 3 steps ahead of your reader is quite the challenge!
MK: Ha! I’m not sure how far ahead of the reader I am…I think any time I’m writing something – at the beginning – I don’t know where it’s going. I don’t know the twist – so I write to a point where it can branch…and then I pick the branch that seems like the most fun or interesting. That’s a kind of first-draft stage. Then, I have to go back and layer things into it. The process of actually writing it is where more ideas crop up. Where do ideas come from? Other ideas – they just begin to sprout up.
BD: Sharlene’s color work is always truly striking. What can you tell us about your shared approach to planning the coloring style for the series, and do you feel that there is a creative shorthand that you share in approaching each new project together?
MK: There’s definitely a short-hand. We’ve been collaborating in life for almost 30 years – so working on creative projects is just an extension of that. We inspire each other and point each other towards other inspiring art and stories…we are HUGE fans of art museums. We went to Philly for a wedding last year, and we hit all of the Philly museums and then went to D.C. and hit all of those, as well. We just love art – it’s the biggest section of our Venn diagram I think. So, when it comes to making it – we start out on the same page and really push each other – or try to impress the other with an idea or technique. It’s tough – when we can both do the same kinds of things – it’s tough to impress the other one – but she does it to me every time. She layered in some actual gold-leaf onto the first and last pages of this story – and it looks so cool…just a neat, little touch – something I’d never have thought of.
BD: In addition to your work on Spy Superb, you are also partnering with Dark Horse for Hairball, a new horror comic regarding a mysterious household pet. Are there any details that you’re able to share with readers about this upcoming project?
MK: Well…as part of my imprint (FLUX HOUSE) – at Dark Horse – they’ve really just let me run wild with design and format of these books – so this one (when collected) is going to have a fur cover…and it’s about an evil cat…other than that – I shouldn’t say any more – except that Tyler Jenkins is drawing it and Hilary Jenkins is painting it and it’s the best work I’ve seen them do yet – and they’ve done some amazing stuff!
BD: Lastly, what would you like to tell fans who want to learn more about Spy Superb and Hairball?
MK: You can watch me livestream most Saturday’s on my YouTube channel, where I’ll answer almost any question…or hit my website and social stuff if you’d rather. I send out a weekly newsletter, as well, if you want – you can subscribe to that on my site. I’m just a huge fan of books and movies and music, so if you want a better idea of where I’m coming from and recommendations on that kind of stuff – you can find it there.