Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Matt Kindt's Super Spy

Yesterday I read a wonderful book: a graphic novel/big comic by Matt Kindt called Super Spy. It consists of some 52 inter-related stories about spies in Europe during World War II, and both the writing and art are excellent, perfectly suiting the subject matter (apart from occasional inappropriate fonts on newspapers and the like seen in a few panels).

But it's not just the contents that make this book wonderful. Matt Kindt has designed the whole thing as a beautiful artifact. The pages are off-white and printed to show old stains and creases, giving the whole thing a patina of age that suits the era of its setting. The images themselves are mostly printed in 2 or at most 3 colours, limited to a palette of subdued greens, blues and browns, with the occasional flash of red blood.

The design of the covers is also lovely (and covers are what we're all about here, after all). The tiny text bubbles and see-through elements of the drawing tell a whole story on their own. The inside covers offer X-rays of the artwork on the outside...

..and the red letters picked out in the text even spell out a secret spy message to the reader ('Get out now!'). The back cover does something similar.

Matt Kindt's website features more of his intriguing work, including a series of prints showing images from several of his favourite books, printed onto pages from those same books. There are also some other clever, non-book bits of design (special cyanide mints!). It's great.

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