Creator Ibrahim Moustafa is no stranger to using the comics medium as speculative fiction, as seen in books such as Humanoid’s RetroActive and DC Comics’ Mother Panic: Gotham A.D. Moustafa takes familiar concepts and weaves them into tales that both entertain and comment on moral and legal issues that we might have to consider in the future—or even today.

That same sensibility is evident in Moustafa’s latest graphic novel Cyn, on sale now from Humanoids. In Cyn, a cybernetic government enforcer formerly named Meris is programmed to kill political opponents and whoever else her dictator handler might want gone. Shaking her programming, she must cope with her past actions and rediscover who she is, all the while protecting herself and her new friends from those who would subjugate Cyn once again.

I spoke with Ibrahim Moustafa recently about the conceit of Cyn, the influence of Western movies on the book, and what we can learn from the story about finding ourselves when pieces seemed to have disappeared. Having read Cyn, I can say that the graphic novel lingers longer after setting it aside, not just because of its action-packed story, but also from the questions of self and self that it left me digesting.



FreakSugar: For folks considering picking it up, what is the conceit of Cyn?

Ibrahim Moustafa: Cyn is the story of a woman who was turned into a cybernetic enforcer for a dictator; his attack dog, essentially. Under his control she’s killed hundreds. Now, free of her programming, she’s looking for a life of piece in a dusty corner of the world where nobody knows who she is. As she tries be the person she wants to be, saving lives instead of taking them, her newfound family is under threat, and she has to pick up her blades again to ensure their safety, without slipping back into being a mindless assassin again.

FS: What can you tell us about Cyn/Meris, the protagonist of the book?

IM: She’s had a tragic life, and he’s trying to figure out who she is now that she’s making her own decisions again. She’s incredibly deadly, but she doesn’t want to be.

FS: You both wrote and illustrated the comic. Did you have a clear idea of how you wanted the book to look or did it evolve over time?

IM: Yeah, it was very clear to me. Since this is a kind of loose sequel to my 2021 book Count, the world was already established, and so I got to think about what a dusty corner of it might look like, and translate the previous designs to a more “western-like” setting.



FS: So many of the characters have a world-weariness about them. What did you draw on when constructing those characters?

IM: In Count, we saw a place that was devoid of justice and rife with corruption. That takes a toll on the inhabitants (as we know from real life). I wanted to show that in Cyn; that even though we’re in a different part of the world, it has the same effect on the people there.

FS: The press release describe the book as sci-fi with a splash of Western. Do you have any favorite Westerns or sci-fi tales that influenced the shaping of the book?

IM: There were two Westerns in particular that I watched around the time I was making this that helped keep me going (making these books is a long process and sometimes you need a little motivation; Old Henry and the Japanese remake of Unforgiven. Both are incredible and feature a character who was trying to move on from a violent past.

FS: Following up on that, you describe the book as personal and how it’s a tale about finding oneself. Besides being entertained, what do you hope readers take away from Cyn?

There’s a through line in the book about choosing who you want to be, regardless of who you’ve been. I hope some people out there find that to resonate with them for the better.

FS: What are you reading right now?

IM: The Shadow of the Gods by John Gwynne. Book 1 of The Bloodsworn Trilogy”– kind of a swords and sorcery book about Nordic-esque warriors and slaves breaking free of their bondage. Pretty good so far!

FS: Do you have any other projects coming down the pike you would like to discuss?

IM: Nothing I can talk about yet, but I’m close to halfway through writing/drawing my next book and I’m really excited about it!

FS: If you had one final pitch for the book, what would it be?

IM: The book’s editor Jake Thomas called CynT2 x Unforgiven with a female lead” and I think that’s pretty perfect!

Cyn is on sale now from Humanoids.

From the official press release:

Internationally renowned publisher Humanoids announced today a brand new original graphic novel CYN. From acclaimed comics creator Ibrahim Moustafa (RetroActive, Mother Panic: Gotham A.D.), colorist Brad Simpson, and letterer Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou, comes a Western-tinged sci-fi tale of savagery and salvation, where one woman’s road to redemption leads through a distant frontier as harsh and unforgiving as her own past. Available in June 2024.

Fleeing her bloody past as the masked cybernetic government enforcer known as Cyn, Meris is discovered unconscious by a former medic and his two adopted daughters. As they nurse her back to health and she struggles to adapt to a world far from the brutal life she was forced to lead as Cyn, two things become clear: her past isn’t ready to let her go, and she isn’t the only one whose dark, secret history is threatening to destroy their present.

“CYN is a project that’s very dear to me. It’s a much more personal work than my previous books, made during a very trying time in my life,” said Moustafa. “At its core it’s a story about someone figuring out who they are after they’ve lost a piece of themselves, and finding the strength to move forward while the past claws at their heels. I’m very excited and grateful for the opportunity to tell it.”

Ibrahim Moustafa is an illustrator and writer from Portland, Oregon. He is best known for his critically acclaimed Humanoids graphic novels COUNT and RetroActive, the Eisner Award-nominated comic book JAEGER, and his work with several comics publishers including Marvel, DC, Image, and Dark Horse.

CYN will be available in bookstores everywhere ( and in comic shops ( in June 2024. Digital copies can be purchased from comiXology and other digital platforms.