"There were times, when I was younger, where I would
get angry at myself because I couldn't draw as well as I wanted to."
Sean Chen, the quiet and intense Harbinger penciller has always pushed himself to be better. Born and raised in Potomac, Maryland, he may have actually benefited from the fact that comic books were not allowed around the house.
"My drawing is not really inspired by other superhero comics, because I never read Marvel's or DC's as a kid. What I really loved was the way images were captured in movies. The proportions on my characters seem to be a bit more like real life."
Chen's style is indeed like that of a Steve Rude or a Dave Gibbons. His first major comics influences can be found in old issues of Heavy Metal magazine. The talents of such internationally-acclaimed artists as Moebius, Juan Jiminez, and Guido Crepax fired his ambitions.
"When I finally discovered comic book stores and realized these artists were the cream of the crop, was when I figured I had a chance in the comic book business."
Working at Valiant
Targeting artist Barry Windsor-Smith, Chen presented his portfolio to one of his greatest inspirations at a comics convention nearly two years ago and has been working on staff at Valiant ever since.
"Valiant was really the only company in the business I wanted to work for. Valiant artwork is not only about art, it is focused on art as story, and I agree with that. The company isn't so concerned with flashy trendiness as it is with good plots and quality production. I'll stay with them as long as they'll have me."
Well in tune with Harbinger writer Maurice Fontenot, Chen is highly regarded for producing a steady stream of clean, dynamic pencils recounting everyone's favorite psionic kids.
"Maurice is the driving force behind Harbinger. He has a very clear idea of what he wants to see. We think very much alike, and I'll draw what he's looking for without his having to describe too much. I also really like the characters. It's been fun to watch them grow and change."
Writers and editors beware! Behind Chen's cool demeanor still burns a fierce ambition.
"I want to do something in comics that will sum up everything I know about the medium. I want to do something, maybe a yearbook or limited series...something that will live beyond me."
Rai #9 through #16
Rai #0 Companion
Harbinger #26, through the present