(Charlie Chipman) Nate, thank you very much for taking the time to chat about SAVAGE. Before we get into the series, let’s talk a bit about you. As an artist, what is it about comics that drew you to the medium? Was there any one series or issue that inspired you down this path?
(Nathan Stockman) Ah I can’t even remember a time before comics! They’ve always been in my life. I started off reading Asterix and Tintin and then discovered Spidey and the X-Men. Once I learned that there were people who actually made these for a living and that some of them were even from Ireland like me, that’s when I knew there was only one job I ever wanted!
(CC) What illustrators have influenced you most in crafting your style?
(NS) I always credit John McCrea as my biggest influence. I met him when I was a young lad and his art blew me away! I’ve always been drawn to a more exaggerated style of cartooning so folks like Erik Larsen, Jason Pearson and that ilk are my biggest influences but there are hundreds more I could rattle off!
(CC) How did your relationship with Valiant start, and how, so far, has it compared to your relationship with other publishers?
(NS) It was Senior Editor Heather Antos who brought me on. I had worked with her a little bit over at Marvel on Amazing Spider-Man Renew Your Vows and enjoyed the experience so when she offered me Savage I jumped at the chance!
(CC) For those unfamiliar with SAVAGE, how would you describe the series and its protagonist?
(NS) It’s kind of the classic “Stranger in a strange land” trope. But with dinosaurs and monsters! Kevin, our hero, was very content with his life on an isolated island until the fates conspired to bring him to modern-day London which has been a bit of a struggle to say the least. He’s doing his best but the culture shock and general sense of
overwhelming is a lot for him to take. But thankfully some familiar scales give him a taste of his old lifestyle!
(CC) There’s obviously a bit of a balancing act required in blending the modern and the primitive, here. Compared to other projects that you’ve worked on, have you come across any creative challenges unique to SAVAGE?
(NS) I guess like you say, it’s about finding the balance, where everything looks like it exists in the same world. There’s some crazy stuff in this series so it’s not always easy. I do like to exaggerate and get a bit flexible with character acting and posing so it’s been a fun challenge finding a midpoint that can suit all the strangeness!
(CC) What’s it been like working with Max Bemis and the rest of SAVAGE’s creative team?
(NS) It’s been an absolute honour! For them I mean. I email them constantly telling them how lucky they are to be working with me. They must be pretty intimidated though because they never really reply.
(CC) I’ve been reading and writing about comics for quite some time, and I must say that the two-page spread in SAVAGE #1, when all Hell breaks loose and dinosaurs start raining from the sky, is unlike anything I’ve seen; that page, and the pages just before and after it, blew me away. Walk me through putting this scene together.
(NS) Ah wow, thanks so much! It’s nice to still be surprised by comics! It’s easy to think you’ve seen everything so that’s really cool to hear! That scene was really fun because, for me, it’s the turning point from Savage as we knew him from the last series to what we’re doing with our series. I really loved reading that in the script as it just formed in my head as soon as I read the words. That doesn’t always happen but when it does you know you’re going to have some fun drawing!
(CC) Issue #1 ends on an exciting note that, clearly, is meant to leave readers waiting at the edges of their seats. Without giving too much away, what can readers expect to see in Issue #2 and beyond?
(NS) I think each issue ramps up the strangeness another notch. The stability of Kevin’s old reliable life on his island is a long way away. It’s an unpredictable roller coaster of nuts and I hope readers will come along for the ride. And hopefully not spew!
(CC) If you had the opportunity to work on another Valiant series, what would it be? Who would you want to illustrate?
(NS) There are some really great characters in the Valiant roster. I’d love a shot and Quantum and Woody and X-O Manowar is always cool too! Maybe a crossover title with everyone so I don’t have to choose!
Savage (2021) #2 releases on March 17, 2021; check out a preview of the book, here: Valiant Preview: Savage (2021) #2