Ben Kahn graces us with their inspirations and personal achievements involved in the creation of Gryffen: Galaxy’s Most Wanted! The progression of events that push Captain Gryffen to challenge their fascist regime is a mystery to us, but what isn’t a mystery is an answer to all these questions. We have a chance to look through politics and adventure as Kahn gives nuanced information into the world of Gryffen: Galaxy’s Most Wanted.
Ben Kahn: What aspect of Gryffen: Galaxy’s Most Wanted gave them the most personal satisfaction? (If it is a moment that hasn’t happened yet, then they can be very vague about it!)
Caring Too Much May Make You A Hero
As a writer, there are a few things in particular about Gryffen that give me a lot of satisfaction. First, I love how overtly political I get to be in Gryffen. I’ve called the book left wing catharsis-porn, and I’ll stand by that. My work before dealt with more personal themes, so getting to explore the societal themes that have been very heavy on my mind the past few years is very satisfying.
Second, the character of Lyla Gryffen themself is beyond fun to write. I have to push myself to get through the pages without them, because Gryffen is main character and plot rolled into one. They are their own inciting incident. They don’t need to do the hero’s ‘refusal of the call,’ they grabbed by the call by the neck and are dragging it down the hall kicking and screaming.
It’s a joy to write a character so forward propelled solely by their own desires and ideology. In some ways, I think Gryffen resembles a bit of the comedic sociopathic heroes of the 00s, and certainly in their willingness to have violence be the solution to their problems. I think the biggest difference is that Gryffen doesn’t care about nothing, they care about everything to the point where it’s clearly driven them more than a little mad.
Left-Wing Chartasis Porn Never Felt So Good For Ben Kahn
And the third thing I’m most excited about Gryffen for is Bruno Hidalgo’s art. I’ve worked with Bruno for nearly a decade, and he just gets better and better. More than our past collaborations, Shaman and Heavenly Blues, Gryffen has lots more visual sequences that are solely geared to show off the incredibleness of Bruno’s art, and Bruno has blown me away every time. Chapter 5’s art has blown me away, and I can’t wait for everyone to see the amazing work he’s done.
Ben Kahn: Did they have any successes or difficulties when constructing the scope of Gryffen: Galaxy’s Most Wanted? (The shortened page count for each chapter release was an aspect we noticed about the story.)
The shortened page count was never really a major issue, though it has presented some fun challenges. Two chapters together equal the length of one single issue, so in a lot of ways, it’s easy to write this as a six issue mini-series. Where the shortened page length for chapters comes in is the pacing. The story runs faster, has to be more exciting consistently, and has more cliff hangers than it would otherwise. I think the shorter chapters means Gryffen has to have the pedal to the medal all the time. And the ‘mid-issue’ chapter breaks create something of a cliffhanger commercial break. I think for a comic so inspired by Star Trek, that ‘commercial break’ idea is very fitting.
Ben Kahn: What aspects of the sci-fi genre influenced the creation of Gryffen: Galaxy’s Most Wanted? How did they retain their ideas while taking notes from other genres? (Sci-fi television, films, video games, comics.)
Ben Kahn! Influences! Sci-Fi & Black Mirror & Mass Effect! Oh My!
The big inspiration for Gryffen: Galaxy’s Most Wanted was your ‘space ship crew goes on adventures’ stories. Star Trek, Firefly, Legends of Tomorrow, Mass Effect, I think all of them played a heavy hand in influencing Gryffen. Even Black Mirror did a Star Trek episode! It was really the Black Mirror episode especially that made me go ‘I want to play in this genre!’ and lead to the creation of Gryffen. And you can’t not talk about Star Trek. I didn’t discover Star Trek until my 20s, but I’ve fallen in love with the franchise.
I’d call Gryffen part homage, part counter to Star Trek. No matter the Trek story you’re watching, it starts with the central premise that humanity is good and humans being in space is beneficial to the universe. I reject that premise. Completely. We’ve got hundreds of years of colonialism to study, and there’s not a single instance where atrocity didn’t occur. I have no reason to believe humanity taking to the stars would be any different. Humanity coming to their world would be a cataclysmic disaster for any alien species we find, I truly believe that.
I wanted to put human beings firmly in the ‘evil’ camp, and have Lyla Gryffen act as the ghost of vengeance. For every genocide and atrocity, the Sovereign Reach did to achieve their tyrannical rule, Gryffen is righteous karma personified. I hope people read Gryffen and think a little about the sins their own culture was built upon. All sci-fi seeks to reflect the real world and where we’re going, and I don’t think it’s too hard to imagine how I conceived of a right-wing, anti-science authoritarian empire for Gryffen to fight in today’s climate.
The Present and The Future Collide in Gryffen: Galaxy’s Most Wanted
Ben Kahn: How do they want the audience to see Captain Gryffen? How do they want the audience to see Gryffen: Galaxy’s Most Wanted? How can we, as readers and fans, look forward to after the fourth issue?
Hopefully, audiences laugh at Gryffen’s antics and are exhilarated by their actions and ideals. But that’s just what I’m hoping for, people will interpret the character how they will, and that’s beautiful. I hope they see Gryffen as someone fighting for all the right goals, but maybe going too far. I’m not saying Gyrffen does or does not go too far, but I would love to see readers wrestling with that question. I want to show extremists being extreme, and have audiences consider with how far they’d go themselves in these situations.
And I hope that people see Gryffen: Galaxy’s Most Wanted as a fun, action-packed sci-fi adventure with plenty to say. I want it to be a science-fiction about science, and I hope that comes through. I hope people finish Gryffen and have a greater appreciation for the philosophy of science and its role in shaping society. We’ve got some crazy stuff coming up after chapter 4!
The most epic of space punches, biological warfare’s role in colonialism, and the climactic clash between Lyla Gryffen and Rosalind Hunter! The entire story of Lyla Gryffen and the crew of al-Haytham won’t be completed in this 12 chapter volume, but you will learn the answer to the story’s biggest mystery: what happened to Lyla Gryffen? By the time this volume is over, you’ll know exactly how an unfeeling authoritarian left on a mission and came back as an anti-fascist extremist.