Since the announcement they would be returning with new books last year, information about what the folks at Valiant Comics have been pretty good at keeping a tight lid on what they have planned.
Over the past few months, we have been treated to a steady but controlled stream of news about Valiant’s plans for what is being called The Summer of Valiant, the rebirth of a new Valiant Comics universe centered around 4 monthly titles, X-O Manowar, Harbinger, Bloodshot, and Archer and Armstrong.
All this news has come via various press sources, but this weekend at C2E2, Valiant took part in their first panel, introducing many of those behind this comics rebirth directly to the lucky fans on hand. On the panel, overseen by Hunter Gorinson, Valiant’s communications director were Dinesh Shamdasani (Valiant C.C.O), Fred Pierce (Valiant Publisher), Robert Venditti (Writer, X-O Manowar), Warren Simons (Valiant Executive Editor)
First up of course from the panel was X-O Manowar, (on sale May 2). X-O Manowar will be the launchpad for everything that is coming. Said Venditti “My goal from the outset was, I didn’t want to fix what wasn’t broken. I didn’t want to change all the things about the character that make him great. What I did want to do was update it, modernize it, so we can bring in new readers as well. I also wanted to focus on the primary antagonist” Of course those antagonists are the alien invaders. In the 90’s they were a race of giant spider-humanoids, now they will be known as the Vine. Their motivations are very key to how Venditti plans to make them relatable. And like their 90’s counterparts, they will have a presence in other Valiant titles, including Bloodshot.
The art for the series, by Cary Nord, who is exclusive to Valiant, is “incredible” according to Simons. Nord has been researching the world of Visigoths, and the Romans to capture what those cultures were about.
Of course key to the book will be the alien technology known as the X-O Manowar armor. Jelena Kevic-Djurdjevic, who will be doing covers for the title was instrumental to the design of the new suit. “We really think it’s a beautiful modernization of the suit, that keeps core elements so you immediately know it’s X-O.” Simons told the crows. But there will be surprises, Venditti teased that a new power in the X-O will be key to first year of the title.
Next up for Valiant is Harbinger (June 6) by Joshua Dysart and Khari Evans. This series has some high expectations, the original run “is something of a legend”. Dinesh explained why the first series was such a hit, “Harbinger was successful because it did things at the time Marvel and DC weren’t doing, it was all about the grounded sense to the characters.”
It is not the intention to just redo what was done 20 years ago, but they want to stay true to those old stories.
Up next in July is Bloodshot, written by Duane Swierczynski with art by Manuel Garcia & Arturo Lozzi. There is a reason there are two artists on this title, Simons revealed, each of them will be doing “certain sections” of the book. “I literally can’t say anything more without spoiling something” The Vine, will play a role in the story of Bloodshot as well, and the first two pages of this title will have “lasting implications” for the next year of the Valiant Universe. You will have to wait til July though to see why every mission is a suicide mission for Bloodshot.
August’s title, Archer & Armstrong, by Fred Van Lente and Clayton Henry was met with a large round of applause by the fans.
“Armstrong is an immortal in the Valiant universe, really shows what the Valiant universe is” says Simons, “We open in the past, and something happens that has an affect on the rest of the universe… More to come here, I’m very happy with what Fred and Clayton are doing, they’re really knocking it out of the park.”
All four titles will have a host of special covers, including “Pullbox variants” Most noteworth is the Archer & Armstrong variant by comics legend Neal Adams. Also available will the QR Voice Variants, which will bring comics to life in whole new way.
The panel concluded with a Q&A session where fans asked about what other characters will we be seeing Shadowman? Ninjak? Quantum and Woody?! (Expect to see the Eternal Warrior in Valiant’s Free Comic Book day offering). Also asked were what sort of ties would be made to the original Valiant universe both creatively (Original artists have been approached for variant covers,some said yes, some said no) and storytelling – wise (Think like Marvel’s Ultimate Universe, similar but it’s own continuity)
The $3.99 cover price was not as warmly received, but the panel defended their decision.
“The challenge is, at $3.99, which our cover price today is, the problem that we have is for the quality of the artists, everything. When I look at the price 20 years ago it was $2.25, and in that perspective I don’t think it’s too bad. We’re never planning on doing it more expensive, and that doesn’t mean we won’t ever do it cheaper.” Pierce said, “If we want to compete with Marvel and DC Comics then we have to have $3.99 books to keep afloat… It was not a small discussion, and I was the one who insisted on that price point. If you want to be mad at someone, be mad at me.”
Valiant Comics return to your Comic Shop beginning May 2nd!