iFanboy Upstarts: James Harren

Some artists spend years climbing up the ladder to get their chance to shine at Marvel or DC, but other artists only shine when they leave the Big Two behind for the freedom outside that structure of corporate comics. Boston-based artist James Harren did just that.

Harren is making a name for himself currently at Dark Horse working on B.P.R.D. and stepping in for Becky Cloonan on Conan the Barbarian, but his comics debut came in the summer of 2010 in a book many young creators would die for: an X-Men book. Harren made his comics debut doing a short in the 2010 anthology series X-Nation with a short called “Big Boy Pants” written by Grace Randolph, and bounced around the Marvel offices for a year doing fill-ins on miniseries like Heralds and X-Men Origins: Nightcrawler and a second short inside X-Men: To Serve & Protect. DC saw an enterprising young creator and enlisted Harren to help out on their ill-fated Doc Savage series for two issues, but Harren failed to find traction to stick around Marvel or DC.

Harren turned that negative into a positive and found open arms at Dark Horse where he quickly joined the Mignolaverse drawing the two-issue series Abe Sapien: The Devil Does Not Jest. The publisher was quick to keep him busy, doing a fill-in issue of Turok, Son Of Stone before re-enlisting in the Hellboy titles drawing the current mini B.P.R.D. Hell On Earth: The Long Death. It’s in these books that Harren’s began to tighten up and show more confidence than his rookie work for Marvel and DC, showing the heft of expert draftsmen like Kieron Dwyer mixed with the rough contortions of someone like Jeff Lemire, quickly carving out his own niche. Harren is gearing up for his biggest challenge yet next month when he takes up after Becky Cloonan to draw Conan The Barbarian for writer Brian Wood.

We’ve collected samples of Harren’s work, but take note: April marks only the second full year he’s been in comics, and his style is still evolving. We look forward to seeing what he does with Conan The Barbarian when it comes out.



  1. Harren’s been one of my favorites for a long time. Found him on DeviantArt a while back. His ink work is often gorgeous. Glad to see him featured here & on BPRD!

  2. Wow, I had not heard Harren will be the alternate for Conan, that is great news. I have really been diggin what he has done on the BPRD books, I look forward to more fantastic work from him in the future.

  3. Damn, that is excellent. I see a little Paul Pope/Nathan Fox in a couple of those pieces as well, but it’s really all his own. Great stuff.

    But…wait. Why is Becky Cloonan leaving Conan? 🙁

    • She’s not. He’s just a fill in. It seems to be the way the big 2 are doing it these days. Dark horse is following suit. Both artists are great, so no gripes from me. I love that Conan book!

    • Both Wood and Dark Horse have said that Cloonan wasn’t ever scheduled to be the only artist on Wood’s CONAN run, but she’ll be the primary one with others like Harren coming in. I look at it as similiar to Burchielli on DMZ.

  4. He has a great style. Kinda like Paul Pope as someone already mentioned.

    I can definitely see why DC/Marvel kinda left him at the door. He’s a great talent but I don’t think his style fits with any of their books. I would love to see him do one of those Vertigo or Marvel anthologies though.

    • His work at DC and Marvel looks rushed a bit, so imagine he didn’t get to show his full skills in those assignments. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Big Two give him a second look any day now, but who knows if Harren would take them up on any speculative offers.

  5. God, I love this guy!

  6. Wwwwow! I’ve seen a few pieces from this chap, but, seeing this example of his talent means I’ll be hunting down more of his work. Love the energy and design. Very cool.

    Thanks for bringing his name to my attention guys!

  7. Oh, and I was sold as soon as I saw that Heavy Liquid piece. Man!

  8. Wow. He’s very good.

  9. Love his art, suits bizarre creatures and monsters beautifuly.

  10. Very nice, thanks for showcasing some of these artist. He’d be someone I would want to see more of.

  11. Where did the Santa Claus picture come from where it looks like he’s holding a raygun & flying saucers are over head?