This week saw the release of The Call of the Stryx Vol. 1, which features a dash of conspiracy, action, and unknown creatures. Kevin Nivek, an ex-head of the Secret Service, and Debrah, a mysterious young agent working for a secret organization must confront horde of beings named Stryx, who have infiltrated the highest levels of government and the military.
To mark the release I was lucky enough to interview writer Eric Corbeyran.
Tim O’Shea: How early in the development of The Call of the Stryx did the creative team decide upon setting the plot in the Mojave Desert?
Eric Corbeyran: Setting The Call of the Stryx in the Mojave Desert came naturally. It was a very explicit reference to the infamous “Area 51,” airbase. We loved the idea of a setting filled with paranoia, claims of hidden UFO wreckage, and secret alien communications. Though in our story it’s not about aliens, but Stryx! To go along with the setting we’ve appropriated the mythology about “the little gray men” and UFOs to create our own mythos for the Stryx.
Were there certain characters that grew on the creative team more over the evolution of the story?
From the beginning of the project we had actually established a strict narrative path for each character and we tried not to deviate from that line. However there was one exception: Jill’s character was born from our imaginations after we had already started The Call of the Stryx when she appeared in a short story published in Pavillon Rouge (a magazine published by Delcourt). We were so excited by what we created in these few pages, while also frustrated we couldn’t tell more stories about her, that we decided to integrate Jill into The Call of the Stryx beginning in the second arc.
Each page is jam-packed with panels, is that due to the script or more of a function of the art team?
The traditional format for European BD is very limited in volume and the release schedule is very long – by that we mean that every year we deliver a 46-page book to readers. Since the first issue (in 1997) we decided to increase the impact of our issues by giving them a greater “density” than the average BD – more panels per page, more text and richer colors. This move was really appreciated by readers who were surprised by how much we packed into each issue. I think this choice was critical to the success of the series from its inception.
In constructing a story like this, what is the key to striking the proper balance between conspiracy and action?
The conspiracy plays a big role to the mystery surrounding the entire series, from the first panel to the last. With that in mind, I think of the conspiracy in The Call of the Stryx as a kind of fog that keeps the reader from knowing the entire story at once. The action however is more like a car – it’s possible to drive fast, certainly, but we pick-up the speed only when it’s necessary. Knowing how to drive fast through the fog, we think, is what’s been the key to The Call of the Stryx’s success (laughs).