We recently had the exciting opportunity to sit down with Nathan Stockman, artist on Valiant’s thrilling new SAVAGE series set to release this February. Learn about what sort of homework Nate did to take on the project, who the “pure hearted diamond of comics” really is and so much more in the full interview below!
Comic Watch: Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us about your work on Valiant’s new SAVAGE series. Can you tell us a little about how you got started at Valiant as well as on this exciting new SAVAGE project?
Nate Stockman: My pleasure! It was senior editor Heather Antos who brought me on board. I’d worked with her a little bit at Marvel and I’m very glad she considered me For Savage because it’s been an absolute blast!
CW: To say this is a new direction for the character might be an understatement compared to what we saw in 2016 in the first volume, can you give us a bit of insight into the inspirations and homework that you did in bringing this new take to life?
NS: Well as different as the direction of this series is, my first order of business was to read the previous series. I felt it very important to get a handle on who the character is. It’s the same guy and if he looked or acted differently in our series, it wouldn’t feel right. There’s a lot of strangeness to his new life that wasn’t in the previous series but the first series provides the baseline for how he’s reacting to his change in surroundings.
CW: SAVAGE is a character, especially now in this new series, that draws elements from multiple different time periods. What are some of the challenges you faced in this type of contrast for the artwork in SAVAGE?
NS: Finding a balance is always difficult. Something where all the elements look like they fit in the same world stylistically. Contrast can be an advantage too. The “primitive” Savage in modern London provides a nice ‘stranger in a strange land’ vibe.
The last series was an artistic tour de force with Lewis LaRosa,Clayton Henry and Brian Reber so I knew I had to make sure I tried my best!
CW: The previous run had a very unique approach and tone that established the character we’ve all come to love. What are some of the ways you felt the first volume influence your work and where do you feel were the best opportunities to inject such a fresh new approach into the series?
NS: The ferocity of Savage in the first series was a big influence. His big grinning face as he went to town on a dinosaur is definitely a character trait that we carry over! I looked as the new series as an opportunity for a fresh start for the character. Maybe not one he particularly wanted, But the change in circumstances and the new developments allowed me to go in some new directions with the art to reflect that.
CW: What was the experience like working with the rest of the creative team in developing as well as executing this new SAVAGE series with talent like writer Max Bemis, colorist Triona Farrell, and letterer Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou?
NS: Just terrible! Everyone on the team is awful except me- The pure hearted diamond of comics!
CW: You’ve had some very exciting work so far, especially with a major publisher like Marvel, but what do you feel separates Valiant from others in the industry?
NS: It feels very like putting a creator owned book together. I mean that in the best possible way. We get to build something from the ground up and take it in the direction we want! I love Marvel work too. Each job brings its own advantages. I am enjoying the smaller shared universe of Valiant on Savage. There’s a lot of room to tell the story!
CW: Are there any other characters in Valiant’s expansive connected universe that you would like to have an opportunity to take on in the future or maybe even have SAVAGE come face to face with?
NS: I’ve always thought X-O was a cool character and he and Savage have some interesting parallels which I think would provide for a cool meeting.
CW: Without giving away too many spoilers, what are you most excited for fans to discover in the first issue of the new SAVAGE series set to release on February 17th?
NS: Even though I slated the rest of the creative team earlier, I am pretty excited for readers to see what they’ve done. Max’s story is exciting, Triona’s colours are phenomenal and I’m legally obliged to remind everyone Hassan is an Eisner winner every time I mention him. That has to be worth something right? RIGHT?
I hope everyone who picks up the first issue enjoys it as much as we enjoyed making it.
Which is A LOT!!
And there you have it! Be sure to get your copy of SAVAGE #1 when it hits shelves and digital platforms on February 17th and stay tuned to Comic Watch for all your fandom news and reviews!
Finding a Balance: An Interview with Valiant’s SAVAGE Artist Nate Stockman
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