As you may have noticed if you read our comics coverage, we’re pretty enamored of Matt Kindt. His creator-owned book Mind MGMT is highly popular and in fact headed to the screen courtesy of Ridley Scott. But he’s contributing to a lot more than just his own books; as of next month he’s the lead writer on Justice League of America. We had a brief chat with him about espionage, taking over a team book, and Martian Manhunter.
Gamma Squad: You’ve actually been writing backups for JLA for a bit now. What was it like to transition over to the main book?
Matt Kindt: It was pretty easy (laughs). Only because they liked what I’d done on Manhunter. Manhunter plays a major role, and a lot of the other characters are dead so you don’t have to worry about them. I was expanding his solo story into something a little bigger and adding Stargirl as his costar. That was part of my original pitch. They wanted Manhunter to take a lead role and I wanted Stargirl as a spoiler, his opposite. Of all the team, she’s the most different, so I thought it would be fun for them to have some time together.
Gamma Squad: In your work, there seems to be a bit of a theme of government intrigue and espionage all the way back to Super Spy. What’s the appeal of that to you?
Kindt: I grew up reading superhero comics, and ingrained in that genre is the secret identity. And as I got older, I grew out of just superhero stuff. There are real-life examples of secret identities and hidden worlds in the real world in that kind of occupation. Spies were real world superheroes in some ways, with secret identities, intrigue and danger. An espionage story is a real world superhero story. I’ve come full circle in some ways. (laughs) It seems like a natural fit to me, espionage and superheroes.
Gamma Squad: You’re fairly unique in comics that you’re noted not just as a writer and artist, but also a graphic designer. Do you bring any of that sensibility to your comics scripts?
Kindt: I do. I have artists send me back art and I think “That’s exactly what I want!” Other artists, they turn it in and it’s different but totally awesome. Honestly, that’s the fun of being a writer, turning in the script and seeing what other artists do.
Gamma Squad: You’re taking over the book at a fairly interesting point: The Crime Syndicate is running the show and the JLA has to put the pieces together. What was it like, taking over on such a sharp transition in the book and writing around such a huge event?
Kindt: It was exciting and scary right after that. When I realized there may be something I could do, not just in JLA but in the wider [DCU]. It’s great to bring a unique voice to a book like JLA, to center it around Manhunter and Stargirl.