Cover art for Harbinger: The Beginning hardcover.
Art by Bob Hall.
January 1992 - June 1995
|Number of issues||41|
|Main character(s)||Peter Stanchek|
Joshua Dysart, (Valiant Comics) Jim Shooter
(Valiant Comics)David Lapham
|Children of the Eighth Day||ISBN|
|Harbinger: The Beginning||ISBN 0979640903|
Harbinger initially featured writing and art by Jim Shooter and David Lapham. After Acclaim Entertainment purchased the rights to the Valiant catalog for $65 million in 1994, the characters were rebooted in Harbinger: Acts of God to make them more easily adaptable to video games. They continued to appear in many Valiant titles - most prominently the Unity 2000 series. Harbinger was one of the best selling Valiant titles with total sales in all languages of over five million comics. Harbinger debuted with Harbinger #1 in January 1992.
In 2008, Valiant released a deluxe hardcover entitled Harbinger: The Beginning, collecting the first seven issues. Harbinger: The Beginning reached #2 on Amazon’s graphic novels sales charts and within the top #300 of all books sold on Amazon.
- Toyo Harada - The most powerful psionic on Earth, Harada commands the full spectrum of psionic abilities, including telepathy, telekinesis, mind-control, and many other deadly talents. Fearing that humanity may eventually destroy itself, Harada decided early in his life to preserve the planet by clandestinely conquering it. To this end, he established the Harbinger Foundation to recruit others with paranormal abilities, whom Harada refers to as "Harbingers of the next step in human evolution". He seldom confronts his enemies directly, preferring to leave such dirty-work to his elite Harbinger warriors, the "Eggbreakers". With tremendous economic and political clout, Harada seems close to achieving his goals, and is ready to destroy anyone who stands in his way.
- Peter Stanchek ("Sting") Sting is a psionic of extraordinary power and potential. Once a student of Toyo Harada, he decided to break away when Harada arranged the murder of Pete's best friend. Together with Kris, Zephyr, Flamingo and Torque, Sting tries to thwart the plans of Harada and his Harbinger Foundation.
- Kris Hathaway - Although not possessing super powers of her own, Kris is still an important member of Sting's renegades. Her level head and intelligence keeps the team together and in focus of their goal.
- Faith Herbert ("Zephyr") Zephyr, known as Zeppelin to her friends, has the ability to fly. Founder of the Harbinger Resistance.
- Charlene Dupre ("Flamingo") Flamingo has the power to generate and control flames.
- John Torkelson ("Torque") Torque was a mechanic in Georgia before Sting released his powers of enormous strength and durability. In the beginning, Torque seemed very hostile and distant, but he has proven himself a loyal and valuable member of the group.
- Amanda McKee ("Livewire") Harada recruited Amanda and other like-minded (i.e., violent) individuals into his Eggbreakers, the squad of enforcers who did Harada's dirty work. She was given the codename Livewire, due to her power to manipulate electromagnetic forces; she especially enjoyed using a length of magnetically animated cable as a weapon.
- Edward Sedgewick ("Stronghold") was a member of the Harbinger Foundation of would-be Harbinger messiah Toyo Harada. Edward was given the nickname Stronghold and recruited into the "Eggbreakers" enforcer squad. He had the power to psionically absorb mass from objects around him and use it to increase his own size and strength to gigantic proportions. When he killed a fellow Harbinger, he realized that the Foundation was not right for him and fled with his partner Livewire. Stronghold and Livewire were later recruited by the Geomancer Geoff McHenry to battle villain Doctor Eclipse, a servant of Master Darque.
Toyo Harada is the first Harbinger, and unlike subsequent Harbingers he was able to make his powers manifest at will, or activate the powers of others. Other Harbingers exhibit powers only rarely and this activation is always brought on by severe stress.
Harada is an Omega Harbinger: he commands the full spectrum of psionic abilities, including telepathy, telekinesis, mind-control, and many other talents. He uses these powers to create a multinational corporation and amass a large fortune. Fearing the world is on a course to destroy itself, he plans to take it over and mold it to his specifications. To this end he creates the Harbinger Foundation, which actively searches for potential Harbingers (whose powers Harada triggers with his psionic abilities).
Pete Stanchek is a normal teenager until he develops Harbinger abilities. After seeing an advertisement he contacts the Harbinger Foundation. Harada is intrigued by Pete, who is the only other Harbinger to have triggered his own powers and who exhibits multiple abilities. Harada is no longer the only Omega Harbinger.
Harada tries to persuade Pete to join the Harbinger Foundation and become Harada's right hand man, but when Pete's best friend, who had been vocal about his distrust for Harada, is murdered by the Foundation Pete realizes the truth.
Pete, along with Kris (a high school cheerleader who Pete had first been unconsciously mentally controlling so that she would go out with him) become renegades. They decide to recruit Harbingers themselves, activate their abilities, and form an army capable of challenging Harada.
Harbinger #0 is the prequel to the Harbinger series and details how Peter Stanchek became involved with the Harbinger Foundation and came to oppose Harada. Each issue of Harbinger from #1 through #6 contained a numbered coupon. Each coupon also featured one panel of a six panel story by Jim Shooter that told the origin of Toyo Harada. A new hardcover collection (Harbinger: The Beginning) features a new story by Jim Shooter entitled The Origin of Harada which presumably fleshes out the story that appeared on the coupons. When a set of coupons was collected and sent to Valiant a copy of Harbinger #0 Pink Cover Mail Away Variant could be redeemed. The book became highly sought after reaching prices as high as $300 in back issue trading. A blue cover version was eventually released to meet demand. Today, the Pink Cover Mail Away Version of Harbinger #0 is still one of the most sought after Valiant books.
Awards and recognition
- Ain't It Cool News named "Harbinger" Best Superteam 2012.
- A Comic Show named Harbinger one of the "12 Best of 2012".
- MTV named Harbinger one of "MTV Geek's Best Comic Series Of 2012".
- Harbinger was named among the "Top Twelve Titles of 2012" by Mind of Scott.
Part of the original series has been collected into volumes:
- Harbinger: Children of the Eighth Day (collects Harbinger #1-4, softcover, Valiant, 1992)
- Harbinger: The Beginning (collects Harbinger #0-7 and new story by Jim Shooter, hardcover, 200 pages, August 2007, ISBN 0-9796409-0-3)
In addition, the new series is being collected into volumes as well:
- Harbinger Vol. 1: Omega Rising (collects Harbinger #1-5)
- Harbinger Vol. 2: Renegades (collects Harbinger #6-10 of the new series by Joshua Dysart)
- Harbinger Vol. 3: Harbinger Wars (collects Harbinger #11-14, 0)
In March 2008, it was announced that Paramount Pictures acquired the rights of Harbinger, enlisting Brett Ratner as director. Alexandra Milchan, Jay Stern, Dinesh Shamdasani, Valiant Entertainment's Chief Creative Officer, and Jason Kothari, Valiant Entertainment's CEO will produce. The film might be branded under Paramount's MTV Films banner. Ratner was looking for an opportunity to start a superhero franchise from scratch. The filmmakers are searching for a screenwriter, while Ratner is working on a number of projects.
- Mark Miller (February 25, 2013). "AICN COMICS 9th Annual @$$IE AWARDS Day Two". Ain't It Cool News. http://www.aintitcool.com/node/61154.
- Jennifer Cheng (December 31, 2012). "CBR’s Top 100 Comics of 2012". Comic Book Resouces. http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=42843.
- Aaron Haaland (2013-07-01). "A COMIC SHOW: 12 BEST OF 2012". Youtube.com. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ASbv4hLufCU. Retrieved 2013-01-20.
- Valerie Gallaher (2012-11-30). "MTV Geek's Best Comic Series Of 2012". MTV.com. http://geek-news.mtv.com/2012/11/30/mtv-geeks-best-comics-of-2012/#more-100162. Retrieved 2013-04-20.
- Scott Stewart (January 6, 2013). "Looking back at the year in comic books". Mind of Scott. http://themindofscott.blog.com/2013/01/06/looking-back-at-the-year-in-comic-books/.
- Michael Fleming (2008-03-10). "Ratner eyes Valiant's Harbinger". Variety. http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117982173.html?categoryid=13&cs=1. Retrieved 2008-03-10.
- Harbinger at the Comic Book DB
- Harbinger at the Valiant Entertainment wiki
- Harbinger at the Valiant Comics fan site
- "Jim Shooter Writes New Harbinger Story for HC Collection". Valiant Entertainment Inc. press release via Newsarama.com. June 6, 2007. Archived from the original on August 30, 2010. http://web.archive.org/web/20100830090228/http://forum.newsarama.com/showthread.php?t=115538.
- McLean, Tom (June 7, 2007). "Valiant's 'Harbinger' returns". "Bags and Boards" (column), Variety.com. Archived from the original on June 8, 2007. http://web.archive.org/web/20070608101119/http://weblogs.variety.com/bags_and_boards/.
- Smith, Andy (March 6, 2006). "The Ten Most Important Comic Books of the 1990s". SeqArt.com. http://www.sequart.com/articles/?article=1002.