Writer/Artist V Ken Marion Teases The Solar Action Of ‘Battle Chronicle Sol Stryker’

Battle Chronicle Sol Stryker cover crop

We’re in the final days of the Kickstarter for Battle Chronicle Sol-Stryker, a new action-heavy comic book from creator V Ken Marion. Featuring solar-powered superheroes in a Final Fantasy-style setting, the wild mash-up has been bopping around in writer/artist V Ken Marion’s head for years now… And if the Kickstarter is successful, the project will finally become a reality.

“I wanted to make the kind of story that I would have loved to read when I was a teenager,” Marion told Comic Book Club over email, “to bring that visceral fun into an action-packed comic, while still being character-driven with a lot of heart that will hopefully also inspire readers.”

You can find out a ton more about the inspiration behind the book below. And pledge quick, because the Kickstarter ends on June 1.

Comic Book Club: You’re creating an original fantasy world here… What was the core idea you started with? Or was it just “draw cool stuff?”

V Ken Marion: Originally, BATTLE CHRONICLE SOL-STRYKER had started out as a much more straight-forward super hero tale that I had been developing with my writing partner, Jason Matthews.  For years, we had been slowly kicking around this idea of a Superman-like hero who used a solar-powered sword to fight monsters.  But then in 2019, I started to get back into playing video games—mainly jrpgs which had been a cornerstone of my youth—and I also started rewatching anime that I grew up loving, such as Dragonball Z and the various Gundam series.  Reexperiencing these things at the same time really energized me creatively and inspired me to want to make a comic that went bigger and broader than just the standard super hero book.  I called up Jason, and we started to rework our original concept into our version of a fantasy rpg saga that also wove in elements of sci-fi and 90’s style comics. Instead of one main hero, I wanted to expand it out and make it a team, not unlike the X-men or a Final Fantasy squad.  And instead of a black-and-white, heroes vs. villains narrative, I wanted to shift it to more of a war story that was full of shades of gray. Basically I wanted to make the kind of story that I would have loved to read when I was a teenager, to bring that visceral fun into an action-packed comic, while still being character-driven with a lot of heart that will hopefully also inspire readers.

Talk about the main characters here… Thematically, what was important about them when you were unpacking this story?

When we transitioned this from being a singular super hero story, to more of a fantasy war saga, one of the driving themes we wanted to explore with these characters was being the best version of yourself and doing the right thing, even when it challenges the beliefs and institutions you were raised in.  Maybe the enemies aren’t who you think they are, and maybe the side you’re fighting for isn’t always right—so what does that mean for how you move forward and walk the path of a true hero? These are the questions we wanted to explore. 

As for designing all these characters, it was very important to me that we have a cast that is simultaneously both aspirational and relatable.  The goal was that no matter who you are as a reader, one of these individuals will be your new favorite character in comics.  Each one has their own motivation, their own unique starting point in the story, and their own challenges that they need to conquer across the subsequent books.  And visually, I wanted them all to look super cool, as though any one of them could be the main protagonist.  Because really, that is what we are doing, they are all going to share the spotlight and be vital to the overall narrative, there really won’t be “one main character.”  If you want to learn more specifics about the main roster, we have bios for each one in the “Meet the Characters” section of our Kickstarter!

Could be wrong, but it seems like you have a bit of a vampire riff here — why are the blood-suckers so hot right now?

Haha, well vampires and monsters are always the stereotypical villains, and we wanted to play around with that and explore their moral ambiguity. In our fictional world of Impera, the various monster types (vampires, lycans, demons) are all part of a race of creatures called the Fomorians that have their own society and are not just bloodthirsty fiends hiding in the shadow. Just because they look like monsters, does that mean they actually are?  Or did something in their past drive them to this?  Plus the visuals are just cool, a knight fighting a giant demon, or a mech fighting a horde of vampires is something that comics needs! 

You’ve got some amazing variant cover artists here – how did you snag them, and what can you tell us about their work?

Right?! I am super lucky to have such an amazing group of artists to collaborate with me for the variant covers. I met Brett Booth years ago when I was first breaking in to comics, he has been a mentor to me and helped me navigate certain aspects of the industry.  I think his style is just amazing, and in my opinion he is the best artist drawing comics right now.  I was lucky enough that he and his inking collaborator, Adelso Corona, were able to fit in their cover between SPAWN issues that they are currently working on for Todd Mcfarlane Productions.  They create work together that is both extremely slick and clean while also being gritty and visceral, and Andrew Dalhouse, the main series colorist on SOL-STYRKER, brough it home with his incredible colors. Perfect comic book art. 

Joe Benitez is another absolute legend.  I met him when I was working at Aspen comics, and I have always been just blown away by his creativity and his extremely dynamic artistic voice.  His work on his own book, LADY MECHANIKA, is so imaginative and bombastic and he and colorist Beth Sotelo brought that same energy to this cover. It just looks so iconic, like the cover to a PSM magazine or video game box art while also looking like a classic 90s-era comic cover. 

Soo Lee and I share art representation by Modern Mythology Comic Art.  She is an amazing up-and-coming superstar in the industry.  Her work is so beautiful and ethereal, she recently wrote and illustrated a DISNEY VILLAINS: MALEFICENT series for Dynamite, and her art is perfect for a fantasy story like this.  She does all the coloring herself, and the result is spectacular.

They all did incredible work. Hopefully they’ll all come back for future Sol-Stryker installments! 

What can folks expect when they pledge the Kickstarter?

We are targeting a December 2024 shipping window, so if you pledge the Kickstarter now, you will have a great holiday gift to yourself or someone else arriving at the end of this year!  BATTLE CHRONICLE SOL-STRYKER: BOOK ONE is a 64-page graphic novel that will have 52 pages of art and 12 pages of behind-the-scenes bonus material and pin-ups.  All 8 of our variant covers are available as both standard soft cover and as limited edition metal covers, we also have special holofoil versions of covers A,B and H.  In addition to the book itself, we also have merchandise, such as stickers, T-shirts, hats, and a limited edition metal print.  And for the original art collectors, I have some select interior pages available for sale, along with a few of the covers that I have drawn.

My whole team has been working super hard to produce the absolute best product that we can.  I am doing all the art and co-writing with Jason, Andrew Dalhouse is coloring, Josh Reed is lettering, and Mark Roslan did our logo designs. The production of this book has been as indie as you can get, but we want it to look and read like the most mainstream, big time comic book on the shelves.  This will be able to proudly sit next to BATMAN, X-MEN and FATHOM on your bookshelf!

Not to put you on the spot but you’re down to the last week and still have a bit of a ways to go… What’s the plan for the final push, other than the vaunted Comic Book Club bump?

Currently we are over 60% of the way there to reaching our funding goal.  Signal boosting in this final week will be crucial for us making our goal, so if you love comics and want to support new original stories, please check out the Kickstarter page and tell all your friends about it!   I am going to be making a final week press push with interviews, podcasts and YouTube shows, including an interview that I have already recorded with Siya Oum.  I have also already made a few appearances on some YouTube channels such as the Comicom Podcast, Crashing Game Night, Ah’t N’ Stuff, and World at War Comics.  Hopefully your readers will check some of them out if they want more of a deep dive into the story and characters!  

If you have pledged and supported the book, thank you so much!  We truly couldn’t do this without you!

You can pledge the Battle Chronicle Sol-Stryker Kickstarter until Saturday, June 1 at 7:40 am EDT.

Comic Book Club Live Info:

Want to watch Comic Book Club live? We stream every Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET to YouTube, Facebook, Twitch, and Twitter/X. Come hang out, and ask questions of our guests (and us!). And you could potentially win a $25 gift card to Midtown Comics, or Long John Silvers. You can check out a current list of upcoming guests and other live appearances on our Shows page.

Leave a Reply