It’s the weekend after Memorial Day! And what better way to celebrate than to wipe the dust off of your stack of horribly written and/or illustrated comics that I KNOW you have in your collections!!!
For those of us lucky (or unlucky) enough to own any full-run(s) of VH1 Valiant comics, we know that for all the truly FANTASTIC early Valiant issues, there are just as many (if not MORE) comics that seem to be nothing but filler. Within this edition of “Chromium Corner,” I’m going to showcase the bright-side of bad comics, both within Valiant’s publishing history, and also some personal “non-Valiant” choices of mine!!!
The longest-running of the early Valiant books, the first volume of X-O Manowar ran for a total of 68 issues (with a Yearbook, 1/2 issue, and beautiful 0 issue). Known early on for clean art and compelling storyline, the title slowly morphed into an “Image book” by issue 44 when Bart Sears took over artistic duties (in tandem with Andy Smith). While the illustrations were sometimes dynamic and powerful, the reading experience became more watered-down as issues were released; some books taking less than 5 minutes cover-to-cover! Much of the later books felt like wastes of paper, in my opinion…but thankfully by the time the title wrapped up, the great Bob Layton came back as writer to give the book a respectful send-off, also tying back into the very first issue!
HIGH/LOWLIGHTS: X-O Manowar # 50-X / 50-O, 68
One of my favorite “bad comic” series of early Valiant (in the opinion of much of the fandom), the Psi-Lords ran for 10 issues, the first of which featuring a gorgeous chromium cover by the late Dick Giordano. The book featured future-versions of the H.A.R.D. Corps team, now called the “Starwatchers” who travel through space policing the galaxy against perceived threats to universal well-being. The members of the group were immortal due to a symbiotic relationship with nanite technology, and I enjoyed reading their stories because it fed my “Star Trek/Sci-Fi” interests while also being a super-hero book too. Why this title has received much flak is mainly due to the cheese-factor of much of the characterization and execution of the story. AND, in the early issues, it was a featured “Valiant Vision” title, which meant that you could experience the artwork in a special 3-D look by wearing “Valiant Vision” goggles (obtained in the “Valiant Vision Starter Kit” one-shot, pictured below).
HIGH/LOWLIGHTS: Psi-Lords # 1-3
Here is my personal favorite non-Valiant “bad comic” pick, as those of you who’ve listened to recent OTV podcasts can attest. Youngblood is a group of government-sponsored superheroes created by Rob Liefeld, which have very-sporadically been released over the years, in many incarnations (issue #71 has just been issued; the numbering determined by counting all of the prior volumes of Youngblood). I have a love/hate relationship with Youngblood and related works by Mr. Liefeld, largely due to the release schedules, and also for many unfinished storylines within the books. But what I have enjoyed about the comic is that there is an excitement to how the characters are portrayed, and the idea of the “celebrity super-team” owes much to Youngblood. Also, the stories in recent times have been very enjoyable from a writing standpoint (ironically when Mr. Liefeld has nothing to do with the book…lol).
HIGH/LOWLIGHTS: Youngblood Vol.1 # 1, Vol.4 # 1-8
Punx # 1-3
Magnus: Robot Fighter # 64
Deathmate Prologue, Yellow, Blue, Black, Red, Epilogue
In conclusion, I realize that there are many more “bad” comics to be discussed within Valiant history (and elsewhere in the comic realm), but I hope that you have enjoyed reading my thoughts and insights into these titles. Please feel free to leave a comment or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.