The Valiant Universe of 1,985 years in the future is an ever-more fascinating place. That's clearer than ever in 4001 A.D.: Shadowman #1, written by Jody Houser and Rafer Roberts, with art by Robert Gill and colors by Michael Spicer. It seems that there's a city on this future Earth occupied by the dead, a last outpost left behind from a war between the dead and the living. The city of the dead has been at peace with its human neighbors for centuries, but that piece is falling apart.
Valiant Comics' shared superhero universe is smaller and less familiar than those of its major rivals, but even a small shared universe can offer a lot to learn about. To help those readers looking to take the plunge into the Valiant Universe, we’ve assembled our own team of delinquents to break things down. Steve Morris knows Valiant inside out; J.A. Micheline is new to the universe. Micheline has the questions, and Morris has the answers.
Last time, Steve introduced JAM to the four main story types in the Valiant Universe: political (books like Harbinger and Bloodshot), sci-fi (X-O Manowar), comedy (Quantum & Woody, Archer & Armstrong), and supernatural (Shadowman, The Death-Defying Doctor Mirage). He set JAM the task of reading the first sixteen issues of Shadowman and The Death-Defying Doctor Mirage --- and now they're back to talk about it!
When it comes to shared comics universes, most people turn their mind straight to Marvel and DC, publishers that have mastered the concept over several decades. But a few years ago, Valiant Comics came roaring back, relaunching themselves for a contemporary audience, and providing a simpler superhero universe to get to grips with. Yet even a small shared universe can feel like a lot to learn about, and readers may have held back from taking the plunge.
To help those readers whose curiosity has been piqued, we've assembled our own team of 'delinquents' to break things down. Steve Morris knows the Valiant Universe inside out; J.A. Micheline is completely new to the universe. Micheline has the questions, like what exactly is a "psiot", and who is that bloke in the blue and yellow helmet, and why is everybody so afraid of a goat; and Morris has answers. We hope.
X-O Manowar. Harbinger. Bloodshot. Archer & Armstrong. Shadowman. These are the heroes of the Valiant Universe. In the 1990s, they were some of the hottest properties in all of comics. With top-notch talent and huge amounts of buzz, Valiant became a legitimate challenger to the dominance of the big two publishers, Marvel and DC. Their first issues (along with their fancy-schmancy chromium covers) became enormous collector’s items, and their series dominated the sales charts. Valiant was eventually sold to Acclaim, who later shuttered the imprint, but in 2012 Valiant returned from a new publisher with relaunched series and it’s been steadily growing ever since. So it’s next area of growth, naturally, is movies.
It's a very interesting time to be a Valiant comics fan. While the company's roster is made up of titles that revive the classic Valiant properties of the 1990s, they've proving to be anything but predictable in terms of content and presentation. Over the last six months alone, they've launched insane promotional campaigns, kicked off major crossover events, brought back long-time favorite creative teams, announced new projects from major creators, and gained acclaim for a publishing approach that seems more or less like "bring in topnotch talent, let them work their magic, and have fun".
Later this year, the company will release its first book named for an character that didn't have a counterpart in the '90s Valiant line: Punk Mambo #0, a special one-shot issue written by Peter Milligan and drawn by Robert Gill focusing on the mohawked voodoo priestess first introduced in the pages of Shadowman. Described by Valiant as the story of how Punk Mambo migrated from crusty British high society to the dark world of American voodoo, and how she returns to her origins to discover "the punks and the voodoo priests she used to know have cleaned themselves up, and she’s a loud, belching ghost from their past, come to break in the new furniture…and break some faces!"
ComicsAlliance readers are getting the first look at three different covers to issue #0, and an exclusive conversation with writer/creator Peter Milligan about his plans for the character and her
Following the successful launch of a Valiant Comics roleplaying game on DriveThruRPG.com, the publisher announced this week that it will partner with the RPG site's sister site, DriveThruComics.com, to offer its entire comics library -- the old and the new -- DRM-free, as PDFs. New comics will be available day-and-date.
Not only that, but for the next 30 days, Valiant will offer eight of its number-one issues for free through the DriveThruComics website; Archer and Armstrong, Unity, Bloodshot, Eternal Warrior, Harbinger, Quantum and Woody, Shadowman and X-O Manowar.
A great comic book cover has a lot of work to do. It’s both an advertisement and a work of art; both a statement and an invitation. Sometimes they convey character, sometimes mood, sometimes moment. Sometimes they pastiche the classics or pay tribute to the past; sometimes they strive to show us something entirely new. Always they show us a glimpse of somewhere else through a canvas no bigger than a window pane. In Best Comic Book Covers Ever (This Month), we look back over some of the most eye-catching, original and exceptional covers of the month that was.
Bloodbaths, glowing hands, and sinister animal silhouettes; these are a few of comics' favorite things, judging by the comic book covers from June 2014. Read on for great covers from Riley Rossmo, Christian Ward, Russell Dauterman, Jerome Opeña, and more.
The comic book, animation, illustration, pinup, mashup, fan art and design communities are generating amazing artwork of myriad styles and tastes, all of which ends up on the Internet and filtered into ComicsAlliance’s Best Art Ever (This Week). These images convey senses of mood and character — not to mention artistic skill — but comic books are specifically a medium of sequential narratives, and great sequential art has to be both beautiful (totally subjective!) and clear in its storytelling (not so subjective!). The words and the pictures need to work together to tell the story and create whatever tone, emotion and indeed world the story requires. The contributions of every person on a creative team, from the writer to the artist(s) to the letterers, are necessary to achieving a great page of sequential storytelling.
It is the special nature of comic books that we’re celebrating in this all-new recurring feature: Best Sequential Art Ever (This Week).
Click through for all of this Thursday's links.
Simply put, Dave Johnson is one of the best cover artists in comics. His celebrated covers for 100 Bullets, PunisherMAX, B.P.R.D., and many more critically acclaimed series are some of the most highly respected in the industry, among both fans and his peers...