Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the recent launch of your Kickstarter campaign for the supernatural comic book series, Cognition! For those who may be unfamiliar, how would you describe the series’ premise, and what inspired you to tell this story?
Ken Reynolds: Cognition is a supernatural adventure story about a steam-powered robot with a human soul and a demonically possessed mouse. They fight monsters and spirits for the British Occult Secret Service (BOSS) during the height of the Victorian era.
The inspiration behind the story is varied and rather scattered. The 1800s is a really interesting time perio,d where rapid industrial and technological growth existed alongside strong spiritual and superstitious beliefs. It’s a contrast that we still see echoes of in society today. I liked the idea of playing with that idea of duality within and between my characters.
BD: What can you share with us about your creative process in writing the series, and what have been some of your creative influences?
KR: My writing tends to happen in bursts. I have a varied workflow switching between a lot of disciplines. While I’m designing or lettering one project, my mind is mulling over another in the background. So, I percolate plots and outlines, note them down, get everything in order, and then the scripting itself tends to happen in a quick flurry.
As far as influences… Story-wise, it’s writers like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. A writer who began his career writing adventures based on pure logic and deductions and lapsed into the fantastical and spiritual. That sort of progression is an intriguing summation of the time period and something I wanted to relate to in my narrative.
There’s also a bit of the steampunk Pinocchio in there, too.
BD: What do you hope that readers will take away from your work?
KR: Enjoyment, first and foremost! There is a thread of sardonic humor in most of my writing. The mouse in this one is particularly salty and sarcastic. Other than that, I really don’t set any aims or hang any of my own hopes. The joy of putting your work out into the world is hearing other people’s thoughts and ideas about it. As soon as it’s out there, you have no control over it. Our intentions as creators are neither here nor there. It’s up to the reader what they get out of it. All I’ll say is, I believe it can be enjoyed as a surface occult action adventure, but I think there are deeper themes below the surface if you want to find them.
BD: You have previously released Issues #1 and 2 of the series, and the Kickstarter campaign aims to fund Issues #3 and 4. Are there any backer rewards that you would like to highlight for readers who may be interested in supporting the campaign?
KR: In fact, this is the fifth issue of the series. It all began with an issue #0 that introduced the characters, their world and the rules they play by. So, our complete story arc is 0-4. That is actually the reward I’d highlight in particular. You can buy a complete story told over this 5 single-issue comics. No waiting around for a conclusion. It’s the full story. Available digitally or in print.
Other than that, we have some nice merchandise including a British Occult Secret Service (BOSS) special Agent patch, postcard sets, and mystery merch grab-bags.
BD: If given the opportunity to expand your series into other entertainment mediums, in what format do you hope to see it adapted?
KR: I haven’t really thought that far ahead. I’d be happy to consider any opportunities that come along. I think a good strong narrative and especially well rounded and complex characters will work in any medium. I am tempted to write some prose stories set in this world but other than that I have no plans.
BD: Are there any upcoming projects on which you are currently working that you would like to share with our readers?
KR: I edit an experimental comic anthology called Sliced Quarterly that is available to read for free on our website. We’ll be launching our 3rd and final print collection early next year of Kickstarter. Other than that, all my other projects are still in development and production. I’m entering a "making phase" once this Cognition arc is released, and I’m excited to see where it takes me.
BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find more information about Cognition?
KR: You can follow everything I do on Twitter (@kreynodsdesign). There is the Cognition Facebook page. I also have a fortnightly newsletter that is bursting with creative process, project updates, the odd rant, and my thoughts on all sorts of pop culture bits and bobs. You can check out the archive and subscribe to it here.