Daily Graphic Novel Recommendation 83

Super Spy

by Matt Kindt
Genre notes: WWII-era espionage, multi-threaded narrative
304 pages
ISBN: 1891830961 (Amazon)

When I first approached Kindt’s book, I was not aware that he was weaving any sort of narrative tapestry. I thought Super Spy was merely a collection of short stories. It took the absorption of several stories before I came to realize that these stories were at all connected. It took several more to see that he was, through these disparate reflections, forging a single work. By book’s end, Kindt clearly and deftly presents his thesis: a portrait of the spy, a landscape of clandestine HUMINT.

Super Spy traverses the personal geography of the espionage circuit during the early-to-mid ‘40s. Touching on all manner of occupational involvement (from state-trained agents to assassins for hire to citizens caught up in their national loyalties to those bound up in the war beneath the war due to coercions of one kind or another), Kindt’s book grants a broad perspective on just who might become involved in the game of secrets and how their experience would likely end up.

Several years ago I was doing research for a book I was intending to write. A book set in the world of spies and secrets. After reading fairly extensively in an encyclopedia devoted to espionage (both trade and history), my story gradually weaned away from being at all related to spies and nations and evolved into something else. Still, reading that much history of the craft leaves one with a certain perspective. Espionage is not glamourous. And more often than not, its practitioners come to bad ends. Espionage is, in reality, much more le Carré than it is Flemming. And Kindt’s work reflects this.

While certainly not all of his protagonists meet bitter conclusions, it is most often the case that their lives, if not destroyed physically by bullets, knives, or bombs, come to other tragic conclusions, twisted by sadness, loss, regret, or any other dozen of the psychological bugbears that plague those who traffic in lies and deceptions. Super Spy, while occasionally humourous (depending on the story), is generally a darker sort of work. It peers into the human spirit in a period of great distress. There is, after all, a war on—and wars have ever been the destroyers of souls.

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