Valiant Entertainment is launching an incredible spring and summer of comics, bringing back old favorites like X-O Manowar with new twists readers have really been enjoying. Next up is Harbinger, by Joshua Dysart and Khari Evans!
Harbingers are powerful psionics who can read minds, bend steel, and break all the rules! Down-on-his-luck teenager Peter Stenchek discovers that he’s one of the most powerful Harbingers in the universe. But what will happen when he enters into an uneasy alliance with fellow Harbinger Toyo Harada, a wealthy business magnate obsessed with making the universe a better place–no matter what the cost?
We interviewed writer Joshua Dysart (Unknown Soldier, B.P.R.D.) about his plans for Harbinger and what excites him most about the series! Plus, we’ve got a great six-page preview of Harbinger #1, out June 6.
TFAW.com: What is a Harbinger, exactly?
Joshua Dysart: The standard definition of a Harbinger is a person or thing that signals the approach of another. But it’s also come to mean any portent or omen. In our book the word Harbinger is used to mean many things, but primarily it’s the name of the special program where psiots (hyper-telekinetics and psychics) are awakened to their dormant powers and trained in the fine art of controlling them.
TFAW.com: What excites you the most about writing Harbinger?
JD: Harbinger has always been about youth culture in revolt. I think that’s an incredibly timely narrative. I’m pretty jazzed about exploring that idea through a superhero narrative. But also, I’m just excited to screw around with the whole superhero concept in general. Creating new psiots and showing how they use their powers is going to be a blast for me. I’ve only done one piece of straight-up superhero work in the past (Captain Gravity and Power of the Vril), and it’s still one of the things I’m most proud of. This will be way darker than CG, but still have some of the same inventiveness.
TFAW.com: Have you read the original Harbinger comics?
JD: Yes. Of course. Could you imagine embarking on this project blind? I’d be eaten alive by the fans! And rightfully so!
TFAW.com: How closely is the new series hewing to the original premise?
JD: That’s a hard question to answer. Characterization, pacing, tone . . . these things are all different in our series. But the broad strokes in plotting (at least when it comes to the first arc) and the thematic continuity are all still in place. All the characters you know and love will eventually show themselves, as well as many new ones.
TFAW.com: Tell us about Toyo Harada.
JD: Toyo Harada is a billionaire who runs a major international conglomerate of corporations that have a profound, secret effect on global affairs. Also unknown to the world is the fact that Harada possesses extraordinary psionic abilities. He is possibly the most powerful psionic on the planet (most likely activated during the Hiroshima atomic explosion in 1945).
Harada is the epitome of ambition. His ultimate endgame is to force the rest of the species into being better to one another, whatever the cost. But building a better world is a very, very complicated thing, even for someone with great power, and he’s not adverse to doing horrible things for what he perceives as the greater good.
TFAW.com: It seems like he originally had good intentions–to save the world from itself–but now he’s gone off the rails. Is this like if Professor X became a fanatic?
JD: A lot of the original Harbinger is a riff on the X-Men. So yes, there’s a touch of that. But I wouldn’t say he’s gone off the rails. I’d say he’s doing what he feels needs to be done. In a way, he’s giving himself to us heart and soul. But his hubris is massive. He is convinced that his choices are the right ones. That he’s the only one who can save us. Good intentions mixed with hubris can be a bit of a blinding concoction.
TFAW.com: Peter Stenchek is Harbinger‘s main character–and a very powerful psionic. What will he do with his newfound powers?
JD: He will rage. He will turn against everything that’s kept him down his whole life, and before it’s done he will shake the pillars of the Valiant Universe. Boom! How do you like them apples?
TFAW.com: The original Harbinger series featured two super-powered teams–one led by Toyo, one with Peter. Does this mean we’ll meet more superheroes–and villains–soon?
JD: Oh yes. Most certainly. Issue #1 starts with Peter and his friend Joe and Peter’s old flame Kris. With each consecutive issue, the cast of characters will broaden. I hesitate to call anyone a hero or a villain, though. It won’t play out quite that cleanly, but there are all kinds of people with all kinds of powers and intentions coming. And yes, battle lines will have to be drawn.
TFAW.com: You’ve done some fantastic war and horror comics, such as Unknown Soldier and B.P.R.D., but not a lot of superhero comics. What brought you to this genre now?
JD: Thanks for the compliment! Honestly, Valiant took a chance on me. I was laboring to move towards science-fiction comics when I got out of Unknown Soldier, but [Valiant Executive Editor] Warren [Simons] came to me and offered me this chance to be a part of something that was being built (re-built) from the ground up. I couldn’t say no. And I want to try my hand at this.
I want to build an audience and show that even though I have a different voice then what the genre traditionally calls for, that can be an asset instead of a hindrance. And maybe I can even bring something “new,” or at least “rare,” to the table. Of course the truth is that Harbinger, in many ways, has always trafficked in the familiar aspects of the genre, and taking those tropes and futzing with them just a bit is going to be fun for me, too.
TFAW.com: What else are you looking forward to?
JD: Once we start getting the book out I’m looking forward to the convention season. Getting out there and meeting the readers.
Our thanks to Joshua Dysart for taking the time to answer all of our questions. Make sure to pre-order Harbinger #1 and #2 now!
Did you see our review of X-O Manowar? Are you excited to read Harbinger? Post your comments below!