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DF Interview: Writer Kel Symons brings Reyn to an end with #10
By Byron Brewer
For nine issues, creature hunter for hire Reyn has cut a mighty path across the land called Fate. On November 18th, Reyn’s own fate comes to a conclusion in issue #10 of the Image Comics series.
To discuss this and other topics, Dynamic Forces sat down with Reyn’s very promotion-minded creator, Kel Symons.
Dynamic Forces: Kel, for the uninitiated, tell us about the saga of Reyn.
Kel Symons: It’s the tale of a wandering swordsman – a sort of freelance monster-hunter – in the land of Fate, which is a medieval realm with a little frontier Old West in it, too (we often pitched it as “what if Frank Frazetta drew spaghetti westerns?”). Reyn’s not exactly the errant knight type, though – he’d rather be drinking and wenching, were it not for these visions he experiences, setting him on various quests. Reyn meets Seph, a sorceress, and the two of them team up to go on a quest to stop an alien race called the Venn who are planning something which may destroy Fate.
That’s the basic setup, but you eventually learn that Fate isn’t some land out of the Dark Ages, but a vast living environment aboard a giant starship hurtling through space – a generation ship designed to emulate an Earth-like environment. A thousand years into their journey disaster struck, climate and life-support systems went haywire, plunging the environment into a long ice age. When things stabilized, the survivors rebuilt society, only they had long ago forgotten they were space travelers and reverted to a more rudimentary existence (except for Seph and her people, who kept the fires of technology burning -- but even they didn't know the whole story). The disaster also mutated several animal species populating the environment, turning them into monsters. Hence the need for a wandering swordsman.
DF: Your next issue, #10, wraps up Reyn’s story. Is that for now or forever?
Kel Symons: The original plan was to develop this series as a story that would unfold a satisfactory conclusion after ten issues, while leaving open the possibility for more adventures. But while it has its fans, I would guess we won’t be back because unfortunately there just wasn’t enough interest for Image to keep publishing. I mean, Image is great - they're very supportive, but if the books aren't profitable, you can't really blame them. As we're collecting them into two trade volumes, I suppose the door could be left open a little bit for the possibility of a return, if they somehow find a broader audience as trade paperbacks.
DF: Looking back, were there any aspects of the story you would have done differently?
Kel Symons: Some of more negative early reviews focused on the question of “What makes this different from any other sword and sorcery story out there?” Knowing that we had a pretty big reveal that this was not only really a futuristic setting, but also took place on a massive generation ship, I definitely had second thoughts about withholding that until issue #5. I suppose some readers and reviewers would have stuck with us earlier if we’d revealed that up front. But I do like that one reviewer later talked about that issue #5 reveal, and the series in general, saying that they appreciated the slow peel-back of information, and that another, less-experienced writer might have gone for the money shot at the end of the first issue. So it’s a tough question – on the one hand, I feel we did right by the story spooling things out the way we did. On the other, it’s undeniable that we lost readers as a result, who doubtlessly saw this as some cookie-cutter fantasy world after the first issue.
DF: Are there story threads left unanswered that you would have liked to have picked up?
Kel Symons: Well, I did set up some potential continuing story lines early on. For instance, Seph’s father, Adon, mentions he had a brother who left the Followers of Tek and never returned – it’s just a small reference, and a name, Trane, given in issue #3. The plan was for this character to resurface in a future adventure as a potential antagonist.
DF: How has it been co-creating this great mag with artist Nathan Stockman?
Kel Symons: Nate is great. Truly a joy to work with. Obviously his art speaks for itself, but he’s also highly imaginative -- he takes the script and simply makes it better. He finds unique looks and ideas I didn’t even know were in there. He’s a real professional too – he delivers on time, and there were moments where he was actually ahead of me and had to prompt me to work faster on my scripts – that’s actually never happened before with any of the other artists I’ve worked with. Just an all-around great person.
DF: So, Kel, what is next from your talented typewriter? (Yeah, yeah, I know … but “computer” or “keyboard” did not fit; I love alliteration!)
Kel Symons: Comics-wise, I really don’t have a next project, I’m afraid. I don’t have a big footprint in comics, nor do I have a lot of relationships with artists, so I tend to work with the same folks – this was my second outing with Nate and Paul Little, our colorist, for instance, and the third with letterer Pat Brosseau. Anyway, Nate and I certainly discussed some other ideas, but who knows? After working a year together on this, I’d bet he’s got plenty of other work on his plate. And I tend to keep busy writing screenplays.
Dynamic Forces would like to thank Kel Symons for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer our questions. Reyn #10 hits stores November 18th!
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