2015 sees the critically acclaimed publish launch the next phase, aptly named Valiant Next. The first new ongoing series Ivar, Timewalker arrives in stores this week, from creative team Fred Van Lente (writer) and Clayton Henry (artist). The series stars the third and oldest immortal Anni-Padda brother, Ivar. As the series title might suggest, he can also travel in time. I recently sat down with both Van Lente and Henry to talk about their new series, time travel, the collaborative process, and epic nature of comic book story telling.
Van Lente and Henry were responsible for the Archer & Armstrong series relaunch, working on the first arc together, plus the #0 issue re-team on the new series, continuing their partnership, and their relationship with the Anni-Paddas (Ivar’s brothers are Aram, better known as Armstrong, and Gilad a/k/a the Eternal Warrior) all of which debuted in the pages of Archer & Armstrong since the series, and Valiant Universe relaunched in 2012. Their working relationship is a close one “We live in one tiny room together” joked Van Lente “Is it legal for us to get married now?” quipped Henry. While not actually planning on settling down with one another, (Van Lente lives with wife in New York City, while Henry and his family are based in Miami) the two have worked together long enough to know each others strengths, and now they will have all of history to showcase their partnership.
Time travel allows for such a wide range of stories to be told. The book will also not just be a science fiction. There will be history, drama and romance all involved, and it will be a very personal story set against the background of all human existence. Like all the greatest stories, Timewalker will be a love story. It’s a literal romance, A classic girl meets boy and then has to run for her life across history story.
Ivar, Timewalker will take full advantage of the locations and genres allowed to it. Van Lente explains, “In Archer & Armstrong we were in ancient Sumeria. We’ve been to ancient China… Sicily. This time around we definitely to do the Napoleonic Wars. We are definitely going to Ancient Africa – Great Zimbabwe, which was this legendary city.” Of course there is a lot more history that predates humanity, so we can expect to see some prehistoric lizards along the way. “I want dinosaurs!” Henry told me. “There’s going to be more dinosaurs” confirmed Van Lente, “possibly even feathered dinosaurs, and we are going to go to the Big Bang and the Big Crunch. And new Japan of course, we are going to visit Matt (Kindt) and Clayton (Crain)’s world of Rai. It’s certain that Rai won’t be the only familiar faces we see, as there series will cross paths with past and future versions of many Valiant characters, giving fans new perspective of some events they may already have seen.
While the book will visit Rai in the 41st Century, and other established Valiant characters and eras, the book will keep its own distinctive look. “I am always going to stay true to myself.” Henry informed me. “ I am not going to step on any artist’s toes, if it’s designed a certain way I’ll try to get that same feeling, but I want people to still know when they look at it that’s Clayton Henry’s artwork. I take a lot of pride in when people come up to me at table at a convention, and say ‘what I like about your work is as soon as I look at it, I know it’s you’.”
Time travel may draw comparisons to other popular franchises, but the creators of Timewalker don’t think that will be a problem. Van Lente and Henry are going to do things that movies and TV shows, like Doctor Who, wouldn’t necessarily have the production budgets to the epic scale that Timewalker will be taking on. “All I have to worry about is breaking Clayton’s hands with these elaborate set pieces.” Luckily for Clayton Henry’s fans, he’s going digital, which should keep his hands safe from Van Lente.
So if your still wondering if you should buy Ivar, Timewalker, Fred Van Lente has this to say about it “Ivar, Timewalker is a super-fun story with amazing art about a man and woman getting to know each other, while being chased by murderous time-travelers thought every known era of human existence.”
Ivar, Timewalker is the first of 4 new ongoing series that are part of the Valiant Next campaign which began with the publisher’s first Prestige format miniseries, aptly named The Valiant. The coming months will see the debuts of Imperium, featuring Toyo Harada from Harbinger, Ninjak, and Bloodshot Reborn, as well as the 4-issue miniseries Divinity, a brand new original concept by Matt Kindt and Trevor Hairsine.
Ivar, Timewalker #1 will be at all better comic shops on Wednesday January 21.