Review Fix chats with comic book writer Ben Kahn, who breaks down the awesomeness of ‘Gryffen,’ detailing its creative process, inspiration and goals.
Review Fix: What inspired this comic?
Ben Kahn: Short answer? Star Trek and the world being a dumpster fire of awfulness. I didn’t necessarily grow up with the classic ‘crew on a spaceship goes on adventures’ series, but I have grown to love them. Firefly, Star Trek, Mass Effect, Legends of Tomorrow, that one Black Mirror episode, it became a genre I really wanted to play in and put my own spin on.
And there’s so much going on in the world. A new controversy or atrocity unfolds in front of us on a daily basis. It’s so hard to feel even remotely positive about humanity or our future. It’s tough losing faith in humanity, but hey, that’s 2019 for you. I wanted to make something that hearkened back to space faring adventures, but rejected the core premise that humanity is good.
Review Fix: There aren’t many comic books like this out there. How did you even get started?
Kahn: Getting started is the easy part! This is my third collaboration with Bruno Hidalgo, who does all the art. We did Shaman which was an OGN that came out in 2015, then Heavenly Blues with Scout Comics in 2017, and now we’re having a blast making Gryffen now for SBI. I love working with Bruno. By now we’re super in sync, so it’s all about pushing each other to get better and better.
Review Fix: How is it different from your previous work?
Kahn: The sci-fi setting is definitely new. We’ve done a lot of work with more urban fantasy type stories, so it’s a lot of fun playing in science fiction’s sandbox. I think this book also deals with a lot more real world issues and political philosophies. I think my previous comics have dealt with more personal arcs and themes, but we’re dealing with a lot more political stuff in Gryffen for sure.
Review Fix: What makes this comic special?
Kahn: Uhh, have you seen Bruno’s artwork? No, but for real, Bruno’s doing the work of a lifetime on this, his art is not to be missed. I’m hoping this book’s humor and themes blend together to create something unique. Hopefully it makes you laugh and makes you think. Which may be a little pretentious, but hey, it’s what I’m going for.
Review Fix: What creators do you think have influenced you the most?
Kahn: Have to start with Brian K. Vaughn and Grant Morrison. Without a doubt. Geoff Johns, Gail Simone, Brian Azzarello, and Matt Fraction all definitely big influences, but Vaughn and Morrison are definitely the ones who fundamentally shaped my approach to the medium.
Review Fix: Favorite comic of all time? Why?
Kahn: I can’t do all time, I’ll be here all day wrestling with that question. I’ll tell you my favorite comic the past couple years is probably Eternity Girl by Magdalene Visaggio and Sonny Liew. Mind bending artwork, with deep, rich writing. I can’t recommend it highly enough if you haven’t read it yet.
Review Fix: How do you want it to be remembered?
Kahn: If it’s remembered at all, that’s awesome! I hope it’s a fun sci-fi book full of laughs and catharsis, that hopefully stands as some solid non-binary representation.
Review Fix: What’s next?
Kahn: Oh, there’s some very fun stuff in the works, but those’ll just have to be my secrets for now.
Review Fix: Anything else you’d like to add?
Kahn: New chapters of Gryffen come out exclusively on ComiXology every three weeks! Chapter 4 comes out June 26th. You can find the first issue here. Follow me on twitter at @BenTheKahn, and please check out Gryffen: Galaxy’s Most Wanted!