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Thursday, May 15, 2014

This Graphic Novel Spy Story Requires Some Decoding

Kindt, Matt  (2008) Super Spy Marietta, GA: Top Shelf  

This story, told in a graphic novel format, certainly bears rereading.  There is a bewildering array of characters and perspectives.  The story is told in a non-linear, non-chronological manner.  Some of the messages in it are in various codes.  Does it sound annoyingly difficult to make sense of?  I could see how you would think that, but the interconnected stories are remarkably engaging. 
What is it about?  Well, like much of Kindt's work, it involves interwoven stories, in this case involving spies and double agents on both sides of World War Two.  You will quickly find yourself rooting for the female agent who keeps requesting that she and her baby be pulled from the mission she is on, and the older man who hides messages for the allies in the children's books he is writing, or the agent, separated from his beloved, who uses the comic strip he writes for a regimental newspaper to propose to her -- in code.
The art is sometimes a little fuzzy, and honestly, the way Kindt draws faces doesn't always make it easy to distinguish one character from another.  So it is a lot of work to read these stories sometimes, but it is worth it if you like a good mystery.
A caution, though.  There is some intense violence here (in one scene, a man gouges another man's eye out) an some subtle references to prostitution and other adult situations, though it should be suitable for most high school readers.  

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