While attending this year’s Comic-Con International I was able to sit down with an outstanding author, Kel Symons.
UTF: My first question for you, sir, is where did the concept for The Mercenary Sea come from?
Kel Symons: I saw Matthew [Reynolds]’s work on line. He had done these really cool Indiana Jones adventure scenes with a sort of silhouette style to them. I reached out through Deviant Arts and we were sort of talking and he just loved adventure stories. I do as well. I had been thinking about doing something with a crew of a submarine and it just sort of came together.
UTF: After you began working on the comic book, how did it feel to finally see that first issue come together?
Kel Symons: Oh, it was great. It’s always fun to see the fruits of your labor put to practical use. But his art is so amazing, I was just truly honored to have found somebody that just really synchronized well with the stories that I’m telling.
UTF: My next question concerns Jack Harper, the intrepid captain of the Venture. Were there any direct inspirations for that character besides the obvious genre ones?
Kel Symons: Yeah, you know when I pitched this to Eric Stephenson over at Image [Comics], I said it’s going to be like Raiders of the Lost Ark meets Firefly. Obviously, Mal Reynolds sort of came into play, but more than that I would say what Joss Whedon based him on, which was obviously Han Solo, was a huge influence. There were these great books at the end of the 70s, right after Star Wars came out.
The one continuing Han Solo and his adventures comes to mind and I just ate it up as a kid. It’s Han and Chewie just trying to make a living as smugglers and a freighter captain.
That definitely played a big influential part in what I was trying to do with Jack Harper.
UTF: Well that sounds great but I want to talk about the future of The Mercenary Sea. Will this be a continuing volume or a short-lived mini?
Kel Symons: Well, it’s definitely a continuing series, though I do have an end in mind. But at the moment what we’re aiming for is 35 issues over the next three years which takes us to the end of 2017. Hopefully the sales will will this out. Each year will be a single arc, which will have maybe about six to eight issues and then we’ll fill that in with individual stories.
After issue #6 we’re going to take a month off. Our trade comes out in September and then we’re going to return in November and December with a two-part one-off adventure that deals with the Island of Koji Ra, the object of Jack‘s affection. Then next year we’ll start a new story that’s going to run seven issues. I’ve also got something planned for Halloween.
I don’t have any scripts or anything like that but I know where I’m going to take it.
UTF: I have one final question for you. We have lots of fanboys and fangirls that come to our site and many of them read the issues and our reviews and they think, “God, I wish I was in the comic book industry.” Do you have any advice for them if they want to pursue this passion as a career?
Kel Symons: First of all you’ve got to finish what you say you’re going to do which means if you say you’re going to write something or draw a book, actually do that.
My recommendation would be to try to work in the field that you want to sort of be successful at. So if you want to be in comics, get a job at a publishing house. Work whatever it is in order to get you in the orbit of other creators in that field. It just means that you’ll end up meeting people that might someday open a door for you. That’s my best advice.
I want to take the time to thank Mr. Kel Symons for chatting with me. It was a great pleasure to meet and discuss The Mercenary Sea. Here’s hoping for 35 amazing issues and, dare we say it, a movie or TV series deal!
So what did you think of the interview my fellow fanboys and fangirls?
Sound off with your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below!