For the final piece of our Matt Kindt extravaganza, I’d like to take an opportunity about his second most recent work. Considering I’ve already taken the time to praise The Tooth in all it’s glory, it seemed only appropriate to take a look at Kindt’s previously published work with Revolver – a fantastic Vertigo graphic novel that, for some odd reason, I don’t ever hear enough praise for. So what better time to praise it than Matt Kindt Day at Multiversity?
Check behind the cut for some thoughts on the book.
Revolver begins with a bang: a young man, drunk and wandering home exhausted from a bar, finds himself transported to a new world upon falling asleep when the clock hits 11:11 PM. The thing about this new world, though, is that it is wrought with destruction as the Apocalypse seemingly arrives, laying waste to the world around him and forcing him – in no shorter terms – to man up. This mild mannered man, used to comic books and a dead end job, saves his boss from the supposed destruction of their building and a strange random attacker, finding refuge in a bombed out building for the night – only to fall asleep and wake up back in his own reality.
Such is the way of the Revolver world. Our hero Sam finds himself moving in between the walls of these different worlds with very different circumstances, both of which call for very different actions. In one universe, Sam is a nobody, but in the other he’s a hero. Now Sam not only has to decide why this second universe exists and what he’s doing there, but he has to decide which universe he wants to stay in.
Revolver is a curious tale of fiction that asks one simple question: what is your life worth? Kindt, in a coy and almost Pahlaniuk-esque fashion, delivers a world where almost anything is possible. The second reality of Revolver is one where the everyman can become a great hero, a man of the people ready to incite change, and one who can change the world if he wants to. The unfortunate fact of the matter is that he, like us, is still bound to the real world, the world of desk jobs and over expensive couches. It’s the thought here that counts; what defines importance to us, the individual? Revolver gives us the painful truths of both realities: sure, you might long for Tyler Durden to tell you about how much you are not a beautiful and unique snowflake before grabbing a shotgun and going Road Warrior all over the place, but are the risks worth the reward? In today’s day and age of comforts, is there really a point to romanticizing grandiose and improbable adventures for ourselves?
It’s a double edged sword, for sure. Our main character finds himself struggling with the divide, but also growing as a person and a character throughout. Sam is able to use elements of both worlds to his advantage, and Revolver manages to walk a straight line in the middle throughout, without picking a side. The elegant beauty of Revolver’s story is that it manages to keep the questions open at the end. Sam may reach a cathartic moment within the story (and all of the plot elements wrap up quite nicely, mind you), but the question is still up in the air for the reader: which world do you choose? With obvious “benefits” to both, the mindscape journey that we follow Sam along is full of rich cultural and personal observations that poignantly deconstruct the ideas of fantasy and their place in the modern working man’s world, which is something assuredly many of us can relate to.
Suffice it to say, Matt Kindt is on fire here. Featuring a brilliant mix of two colors in both a fiercely vibrant tone for “reality” and a muted and grittier tone for the “alt-reality”, Revolver is everything we’ve come to love about Kindt’s storytelling. It’s a brilliant sci-fi story mixing in enough of our own world to make the story both believable and unbelievable at the same time, which is effectively the point/the line that the book wants to walk. Kindt’s regular watercolors are put aside here for a much sharper look, which ultimately feels effectively appropriate given not only the tone of the book, but also the publisher (this is Kindt’s first Vertigo work – and with a new publisher assuredly comes a different form of illustrating to some degree).Continued below
It’s interesting to see different elements of Kindt’s past on play here, as the book is somewhat formatted in a web comic style. Each page tells a clear cut piece of the story that, theoretically if published one at a time, would work just as well as it does as a whole. On top of that, the ticker tape scrolling across the bottom to illuminate the page count helps not only show-off Kindt’s talent at design work, but offers up a fantastic element of world building in a sneaky but very welcome way as the text changes per reality. It’s a beautiful way of keeping the book and it’s two realities both very alive and focused throughout the book, and offers up a new form for readers to connect with the material.
Which is a long and fancy way of saying: this is just a damn good looking book. The long story short of the matter is that Revolver sufficiently proves exactly why Kindt is perhaps one of the more underrated talents in comics today. With a fantastic eye for storytelling and composure, Kindt has created a wonderful graphic novel with Revolver that practically begs multiple viewings. It’s certainly a wonderful indication of the uncanny talent that Kindt possesses, and nothing but the best awaits anyone who deigns to open up the cover.