CCI, Day 3 - Need For Speed: Allen Warner talks "Skye Runner"

Sat, July 16th, 2005 at 12:00am PDT

Comic Books
Arune Singh, Staff Writer

Imagine a world of gods, giants and… kicking some monster ass! As announced by DC Comics/Wildstorm earlier today, writer Allen Warner and artist Ale Garza will be bringing fans a new series called "Skye Runner," promising to excite fans who enjoyed their "Ninja Boy" series. CBR News caught up with Warner to learn about the new series and the scribe was happy to spill the beans.

"'Skye Runner' is our take on the classic fantasy genre," Warner

explained. "You'll see all the elements from wizards to dragons, but we've taken them out of their traditional roles, and tried to give them a fresh, unique angle in terms of designs, abilities, and

motivations. The story follows a secluded young woman forced to leave

her home and venture alone into the outside world for the first time.

Unfortunately, she's oblivious to the fact that a group of tyrannical

gods have recently taken control, demanding worship and excessive blood sacrifice from the 'lesser creatures,' creating an increasingly fearful and chaotic atmosphere. She starts her journey on a personal quest, but soon finds herself in over her head, and must band with a group of powerful, eclectic outcasts to survive the trek and defeat their common enemy. They find that even the world's most powerful beings are pawns in a larger scheme, and that their true enemy is much closer than they think.

"Skye is the main character, the daughter of the world's most

famous warrior-king. She's physically gifted, but more naive than she'd like to admit. She's always dreamt of traveling out into the world and following in her father's footsteps, but knows hardly anything about the world, let alone herself.

"Braylon a.k.a. the Green Knight is an unbelievably powerful

aquatic knight who is the last of his kind. He was taken in by a kind

society, and became their chosen protector, but got carried away with

heroic status, and ultimately failed them. He begins the story

emotionally crushed, and more interested in hiding his past mistakes

than trying to face the world and better his future.

"Sinsha is a young gypsy girl blessed with the power of

prophecy. People have taken advantage of her [over the course of] her whole life, and while she has a good heart, she can't help but look out for herself above others.

"Gkyph is an elfin vigilante who makes his living trapping gods and

hunting down their hideous offspring. He has his own reasons for taking part in the quest, but basically takes pleasure in watching the gods suffer. He likes to act cold and heartless, but his unlikely partner shows that there's some good buried under all that pent-up anger.

"I'd like to talk about some of the villains, but the true

villains are a secret to the heroes themselves. I can say that if each

of the heroes looked back on their past, they would find that the main

villains played a key role in the worst moments in their lives, which

made them grow into what they are, and band together."

Warner and Garza have integrated a lot of classic mythology

into the series and the scribe explains the mythological

foundations of the series play into the themes.

"Classic mythology plays a huge role," said Warner. "The first thing I did before even trying to come up with story ideas was to do a lot research into mythology from around the world, so there's a lot of

themes from Celtic, Nordic, and Greek mythology. Everything from

cauldrons to forces of nature to decapitation to personifying things

that you'd never think of as having human traits. I always loved the

idea that the most awe-inspiring elemental forces would be driven by

basic human desires. Fate also plays a huge role in this world, the

more someone fights against their given destiny, the worst things get.

"As far as genres, this is definitely an action-fantasy book.

We wanted to stay true to the classic fantasy elements, while infusing

them with our shared sensibility. And it will always be an

action-oriented story, huge battles, big chases, ferocious displays of

power. But I've always felt like fantasy hasn't typically been mixed

with many other genres, so I added a lot of elements that you'd usually find in noir, comedy, romance, westerns, and more. Horror plays a big role because we're dealing in an increasingly frightened, dark world, where death and danger lies around every corner, and everyone has a hidden agenda."

While the title obviously references the main character's name,

Warner said "Skye Runner" refers to first the name of the main

character and "Runner" applies to her class.

"She's a natural-born knight/warrior, but was only able to achieve the level of 'runner' due to her age and gender. A 'runner' is below a squire, not even a knight in training, more like a gofer on a movie set. She was only allowed to pass messages amongst the knights and fetch them food, but quickly shows that she's capable of much more."

Re-teaming with Garza has been a pleasure for Warner and he

says the two have great synergy.

"This book started when Wildstorm approached us about creating a fantasy book set in a ['Lord of the Rings' or 'Dungeons & Dragons] style environment. We started tossing ideas back and forth, Ale threw out ideas for characters and visuals, and I threw out story ideas, and we eventually combined all our favorite ideas into this story.

"In the beginning, we give each other feedback on everything:

art style, designs, tone, structure, etc. But once the foundation is

set, Ale lets me write, and I let him draw. We trust each other, like

each other's work, and have the same tastes in just about everything,

so it's never really an issue at that point. I've been blessed to work

with a lot of talented comic artists in different mediums, and the

funnest part for me is being surprised and amazed by the way they

visualize my words and ideas."

While only a six issue mini-series, Warner says that if fan

reaction is strong, there's a much bigger picture for them to enjoy. "I have a three-arc story plotted out over 36 issues, and we have

definite plans for how we want the characters to evolve over the course of this story and beyond. By the end of this story, it will be pretty clear that this world shares a lot of similarities with a world we previously created, and when those worlds clash, even more stories will grow from that. We're both really excited about this book, and have already talked about a few different stories that would take place in this world and with these characters after 'Skye Runner' ends."

If you're still not sure about the book, Warner offers up the

quick pitch: "If I had to make a Hollywood pitch, I'd say 'Skye Runner' is 'Lord of the Rings' meets 'X-Men' meets 'Alien' with a dash of 'Caddyshack.' It's epic action in a classic fantasy environment, with a definite superhero flavor in terms of origins and powers. It has a dark feel, with every character either running from or hunting terrifying killers hiding in the shadows, but it also has moments of sarcastic, sometimes silly humor."

CBR Executive Producer Jonah Weiland contributed to this story.

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