If you haven’t been reading Valiant’s 4001 A.D. event, you really need to. It has been spectacular thus far, and the hits just keep on coming. Each main issue has a plethora of fantastic covers, and one in particular has been gaining some attention. I am speaking, of course, about the 4001 A.D. Action Figure variants designed by our good pal Chance Butler from ComicCollectorLive.com. We were lucky enough to sit down with Chance to talk about where he gets his love of comics, what it’s like to have his cover art published by Valiant Comics, and what goes into creating the fantastic Action Figure variants. Enjoy!
4LN – When did you first get into comics?
Chance Butler – Well, my dad has always been a collector so it was pretty much decided for me at birth! Before I could read I would flip through his Amazing Spider-Man collection and look at the pictures. I always thought it was interesting. As I got older I started reading and started collecting my own comics. I really liked to collect Ben Reilly when I was young… I think it was that sweet costume.
4LN – Do you recall any specific moment that you realized you had a talent for art?
CB – I do actually! I remember grabbing a Star Wars coloring book and a blank sheet of paper and trying to draw Yoda just like the coloring book had him printed. I finished my (somewhat crude but good for a 6 year old) Yoda drawing and proudly presented it to my parents who then hung it up on the fridge for everyone to admire (pretend to like).
4LN – Was comic book art something you were always interested in doing?
CB – Well, as I got older comics stuck with me. I would spend my time in school doodling superheroes and working on anatomy instead of paying attention. That didn’t really help my game in high school much. Turns out girls don’t like drawings of Spider-Man… but now I’m just rambling.
I certainly loved drawing comic characters. I never really anticipated being able to draw for an actual publisher, it was just something I did in my free time. I always wanted to be a graphic designer so it was really cool to get to do these action figure variants. I got to kind of merge my graphic design and art skills.
4LN – The covers you’ve designed for the Comic Collector Live variants of Valiant Comics’ “4001 A.D.” are the first time you’ve worked with a major publisher. What has that experience been like for you?
CB – It’s definitely been a positive experience, and I’m thankful for the opportunity that Comic Collector Live gave me. Working with Valiant is awesome, they’re a bunch of geeks and you can tell they really care about their fans and the content they produce. Discussing ideas with them is very akin to a bunch of guys sitting in a living room eating pizza and talking about how awesome it would be for X-O Manowar to be a deluxe giant sized figure in a big box. And then someone’s mom walks in and asks us to please put our drinks on coasters for like, the fourth time. And she just stands there while we remain silent because we don’t want her to call us lame for talking about action figures. At least that’s how I imagined it in my head when we were emailing back and forth.
4LN – What kind of effort has gone into designing the covers? Have you had to re-familiarize yourself with any of the Valiant characters for inspiration?
CB – The covers are a two-step process really. Half of it is trying to create a realistic looking action figure box, and the other half is producing the art to go in/on that box. The most effort goes into the portraits. I learned something new with each one, and this fourth one sure is puuurty!
You know, I’ve been a big Rai fan for a while now so I was pretty confident with him as the first cover, but X-O Manowar, Bloodshot, and Eternal Warrior are new to me! I enjoyed researching the characters and learning their quirks. I have to say, since doing these covers I have become a pretty big Bloodshot fan!
4LN – Two of your “4001 A.D.” covers are officially out, the third one will drop in July, and the final cover will hit comic shop stands in August. Do you have other work on the horizon we should be on the lookout for?
At the moment, no. But I don’t think you’ll be seeing the last of me just yet! Do keep an eye out for my ad for Comic Collector Live. It’s in every DC title for the month of June!
4LN – What is your favorite single issue of a comic?
CB – Uncanny X-Force 35. That whole run was great but that one issue gets me.
4LN – What is your dream mode of transportation?
CB -Flight! But not the lame plane kind, the cool “I have wings” kind!
4LN – What’s your favorite way to kill time?
CB -PC gaming!
4LN – Star Wars or Star Trek?
CB -Star Trek. The Holodeck is way too cool for this world.
4LN – Finally, if you could own any movie prop, what would it be?
CB – Gotta go with the Deadpool movie mask. Animated eyes and all.
I’d like to personally thank Chance for taking the time to chat with us. You can find his Action Figure variants here!