By: Nicole D’Andria
The Cyfer Comics Universe begins here with Heavens Decoded Part 1: Shadows of the Ancient Architect. It’s the beginning of a science-fiction and fantasy trilogy that promises to be out-of-this-world. I spoke with creator and writer Rony Lescouflair about his series and the future of his universe.
Heavens Decoded Part 1: Shadows of the Ancient Architect is a 36-page comic book that takes place in the year 2023. Colonel Morneau and Lieutenant Foster of P.R.I.S.M. (Paramilitary Response to Intergalactic Security Matters) are bringing an archaeologist, Dr. Reggie Rocklin, to mars so he can study some mysterious alien symbols and find themselves making a mind-blowing discovery.
The creator and writer of Heavens Decoded, Rony Lescouflair, is the man behind Cyfer Comics. The artist for the project is J.R. Harris, who has created and illustrated numerous projects including the comic book series Henry Graves and Chicago-20. The editor for the series is Chuck Pineau, who also co-created Welcome to the Void. Last but not least is letterer Jérôme Gagnon, who worked on the letters for superhero books at Advent Comics among other series.
The Kickstarter is seeking to raise $1,200 by May 22, 2021, at 11:30 PM EDT. For as low as $3 backers can get a digital copy of the first book as well as a digital copy of the character guide and concept art book. For $5 the backer will also get digital copies of the comics Welcome to the Void #1 and Chicago-20. Get a print copy of the book for $12 as well as a variant cover by Oskar Alvarado for $20. Check out the rest of the reward on the official Kickstarter page.
I spoke in-depth with Rony Lescouflair, who shared the rather personal side of Heavens Decoded and the Cyfer Comics Universe.
Me: Your bio on the Kickstarter mentions that this project has a special significance to you because some of the small story elements are inspired by people from your past. What can you tell us about that?
Lescouflair: My friend passed away in his sleep in 2014. This was a childhood friend that really got me reading comics. I wanted to do something he would be proud of. I really enjoyed the inspiration he gave me. I know he’d like where this is going, too.
Me: This book is the beginning of the Cyfer Comics Universe. What can you tell us about this world and your future plans for it?
Lescouflair: This is an open slate. I started Cyfer Comics using this book, Heavens Decoded, as the “big bang” with the idea that other stories will branch off from the events set after the end of Part 3. So the conclusion of this limited series is actually a beginning.
Me: What is P.R.I.S.M. and how would you describe the main characters of the book?
Lescouflair: As far as the public is concerned, P.R.I.S.M. is a private paramilitary organization contracted and run by the United Nations that is specifically designed for space exploration and Earth defense. But, secretly, they are designed to seek, acquire, preserve, and study alien technology and possibly engage with aliens, either diplomatically or aggressively, if necessary.
The field leader is Colonel Anne-Marie Morneau, who only answers to Secretary-General Isabel Mendoza. Colonel Morneau works closely with Lieutenant Colin Foster, her confidant and biggest nuisance. Colonel Morneau brought in her old friend from her Oxford days, the American archaeologist Dr. Reggie Rocklin, who came on to analyze some alien symbols on Mars. Dr. Rocklin is the main character with a very dark and painful past.
Me: Why did you set it in the year 2023 and how does it differ from our modern-day world?
Lescouflair: I set it in the very near future because I didn’t want to make another post-apocalyptic piece. I wanted it to be closer to current times but still in the future so some of these events could occur going forward. P.R.I.S.M. formed in the year 2006, may have had First Contact (or not) in the year 2014, and could have (or not) found alien technology that they are reverse engineering, which would give them advances in space travel, enhanced weaponry, and artificial gravity knowledge.
Me: How did you go about finding your creative team and determining they were the perfect people for Heavens Decoded?
Lescouflair: I found the editor, Chuck Pineau, first. My first conversations with Chuck made me see that chemistry was vital and working with individuals that believed in the project was just as important as talent. I was already talking to artists, but Chuck was instrumental in helping me pick Josh Harris. Josh had the same passion for science fantasy and sci-fi that I had. The letterer, Jérôme, I found on social media when I was looking for someone to help me create a top-notch logo for Heavens Decoded.
Me: Could tell us more about the additional digital comics backers can get through the campaign, including Welcome to the Void, Chicago-20, Seer Chronicles, Scales, and Ink?
Lescouflair: All the other digital comics were added by the Heavens Decoded team members to bring a sense of community building to the Kickstarter. The assortment of digital comics we added is a genuine reflection of our commitment to each other as indie creators to support one another and yet also display our wide variety of talents.
Me: What’s the number one reason why people should pledge money to your project?
Lescouflair: I wanted to create characters that would feel real to people. Heroes that didn’t always do or say the right thing and villains that didn’t always seem evil for the sake of being evil. Not all the good guys are cool or funny. Not all the bad guys are smart or cunning or without some codes that they live by. As I just told one of my staff writers, I want to play in the grey area. That’s where the fun is. Heavens Decoded aims to create sci-fi fantasy for the next generation.
Me: What inspirational words do you have for aspiring comic book writers?
Lescouflair: Ok, first: Do your homework. Research and write notes. You will want to refer to it later even if you think you won’t need to. Save it.
Second, read things and watch things that are not comic-related. Trust me. It will make you a better writer.
And lastly, don’t be scared to delete stuff. Sometimes what you will write in the next draft is ten times better than the last draft. Heavens Decoded was conceived four times between 2017-2018 before I finally settled on where the story was going.
Me: Promote yourself! Let us know what else you’re working on that we can look forward to in the future.
Lescouflair: I can’t completely discuss this next part too much because it’s kinda under wraps right now, but I’m introducing a new Cyfer Comics character inside of an anthology later this year, which will be 8-10 pages, and I will start writing that script in a few weeks.
As for Heavens Decoded Part 2 and 3, they were written almost a year ago—but I’m already making tweaks and touch-ups now. I’m really excited about what’s coming. After Part 3 of Heavens Decoded, the planning phase for what comes after is already in swing. I have hired a talented young writer, Caleb Turner, to start building outward, and I have a stable of talented artists that want to join as well. But it’s not distracting me from this graphic novel limited series. Heavens Decoded is where it all begins.
Me: Thank you for sharing a bit of your out-of-this-world comic with us, Rony! If you’re reading this and you’re interested in taking a look at a brand new comic book universe, check out the first book of Heaven Decoded on Kickstarter here.
Do you have a crowdfunding project? Want to be interviewed about it and have the project featured on “Kickstart/IndieGogo/GoFundMe the Week?” Let me know in the comments below or message me on my website. Also check out the official Kickstart the Week: Interviews with Comic Book Kickstarter Creators Volume 1 on Kindle, free for Kindle Unlimited users!
Listen to the “Kickstart the Week” podcast on Youtube!
Other “Kickstart the Week” text features:
LET ME OUT – A Queer Horror Graphic Novel
CLASSIC MONSTERS UNLEASHED – Horror Fiction Anthology