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Exclusive: Artist Clayton Crain discusses his new HC project, now on Kickstarter

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Clayton Crain has been known for his realistic art and fantastic comics covers for some time, but few know the true evolution of the artist or his art.

But they soon can as Crain kicks off a Kickstarter project for his compilation of a life’s work called Evolver.

To find out more about the treasure trove of Crain art, Cosmic Book News Managing Editor Byron Brewer chatted exclusively with the artist.

Cosmic Book News: Clayton, your most recent work has been with Valiant, but tell us how this unpublished collection of yours came about?

Clayton Crain: It started off as a basic sketchbook. As I added more and more, it became a personal retrospective of my progress. There is very little mainstream work in this book.

CBN: Kickstarter seems the way to go for comics pros on such projects these days. Greg Pak just had great success. How did you get involved with Kickstarter and what are your hopes?

Clayton Crain: I used it last year. I wasn’t sure what to expect so I made little effort to promote it. This time I believe I have a solid project with 90 percent of the work already completed. I have modest expectations of getting 300 pledges. As for hope, my hope is infinite.  

CBN: Tell us about what we will find inside Evolver.

Clayton Crain: My work as a teenager up to the submission that got my foot in the door which, by the way, was with Valiant (AKA Acclaim Comics). Evolver includes works that show my transition from penciler to penciler/inker/colorist, to digital painter. The content is mostly the paintings I made for my own amusement as I worked for Marvel and Valiant. If all goes well, I’d like to make new additions with the input of my backers before the final product. 

CBN: Clayton, you have been involved in art for a long time, from age 15 or so. Who are your favorites in the comics field, and who was your mentor, your muse?

Clayton Crain: When I was 15, Todd McFarlane was the man who inspired me to take my art into comic books. I had an art teacher, Henry Stinson, who was influential in my study of life/figure drawing. I admire the work of Greg Capullo, Norman Rockwell and Frank Frazetta. I’m also influenced by the cinematography in movies like Star Wars, Goonies, or Fight Club

CBN: You are widely known for work on Ghost Rider, Venom and Sensational Spidey. Any character among the legions of heroes (or villains) you have not tackled that you would like to?

Clayton Crain: The New Mutants for the youth aspect, Spawn for the horror, or Deadpool, he’s just strange.

CBN: Who have been some of your favorite writers or editors to work with?

Clayton Crain: I enjoyed working with writers Craig Kyle and Chris Yost on X-Force. As far as editors, I liked working with Warren Simons and John Barber. 

CBN: Clayton, aside from Evolver, tell us about some of the other projects current or future for you. 

Clayton Crain: I’ve been working on covers on Valiant’s Eternal Warrior (among others) and covers for Marvel’s new Carnage book. All other projects are under wraps.

CBN: How can we find more information on your Kickstarter that will run through August 10?

Clayton Crain: I’ll Tweet @Clayton_Crain when I update my Kickstarter page.

Cosmic Book News would like to thank Clayton Crain for discussing his ongoing Kickstarter project. We also thank Hunter Gorinson of Valiant Comics who helped make this interview possible.

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Review: Harbinger Wars #1

The spring’s biggest crossover has finally been released and Valiant does nothing more than completely blow you away!

The writers of the fantastic series of books, Harbinger and Bloodshot, have converged to bring you a tale of the past, present and future of the Valiant Universe. This is an in depth look at all the little secrets that have been kept from prying eyes for so long, the revelation of what Toyo Harada and Project Rising Spirit have been creating long before Peter Stancheck even knew he had powers! These revelations will lead to an uneasy alliance between Peter Stancheck’s Renegades and the assassin Bloodshot’s prepubescent gang of human weapons. Though the world of Valiant will soon become a scarier, more dangerous place, there will be a definitive winner in all the chaos — the readers!

Told as a part flashback part present story, Dysart and Swierczynski’s tale perfectly combines the current storylines of both the Harbinger and Bloodshot books while imbuing it with a completely new tale revolving around a captive group of psiots at the mercy of Project Rising Spirit. It is this fresh tale expertly rendered by fan favorite, Clayton Crain (X-Force), that is the most intriguing and carries the weight of the overall story. Through the eyes of these “new” characters, the reader can connect with the pain and degradation they endure and we can empathize with, not only them, but ALL the characters being hunted without even having to read the primary books to do so. It is this attention to not alienate the curious reader, whom may or may not know the outlining parts of this epic story, that makes it the perfect stepping stone for anyone while not disengaging from the loyal fans that wouldn’t want a “rehash” comic in their hands. A truly fantastic effort by some of the most talented creators in the industry!

It is easy to get enveloped into this magnificent world created by so many talented individuals, but I’m warning you, once you step into the Valiant Universe –you’ll never want to leave!

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Review: Harbinger #10

Peter Stancheck and his rag tag band of psiots have been compromised, beaten and imprisoned by Project Rising Spirit, but everything will be alright as long as you have Faith!

A blitzkrieg of action awaits you in this weeks Harbinger #10, the precursor to Harbinger Wars (on sale 4/3) that is going to set the Valiant Universe ablaze in it’s first crossover! The battle lines have been drawn and Peter’s crew are up against insurmountable odds, it will take everything they have in order to survive the battle and one of them will rise to the challenge in order to save them all!

Joshua Dysart is a master of melding characterization heavy stories with a bevy of action sequences in order to make one of the best comics every month! It is superbly done, rich in the development of not just the main character -Peter Stancheck- but every character brought into the book. From Flamingo, Faith, Torque, Kris Hathaway and even the pathetically manipulated Mr.Tull, Dysart breathes life into every nuance of them making the entire read a true glimpse into their destructive world. He weaves in fragility into the very essence of these powerful creations, giving them a subtlety and believability rarely seen in comics today. They are massive and weak, beautiful yet scarred, outgoing and cripplingly shy, influential and covertly influenced and broken yet godlike.

These characters resonate with readers because we can empathize with them, we are them on a base level and we want them to dominate their world. That’s exactly what this issue is about. Overcoming those things that have been holding you down, breaking free of the restraints both literally and metaphorically in order to truly live. Plus, it is such a thrill ride of bombastic action that you can’t help but get amped up for what’s next!

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