Happy September! This month sees the end of the “Summer Of Valiant”, and begins the “Fall Of Ninjak” (ok, I made that Fall thing up myself).
As usual, we’ve got a look back and a look ahead, and also a look at a fan’s perspective on the State of Valiant.
We’ve got some excellent audio entertainment for you that you may have missed.
We started the month with our Archer & Armstrong #1 Commentary Track. This is the first of it’s kind, an audio commentary track for a comic book! Just how DVD commentary tracks allow you to watch the movie again and get more value out of it, this track is meant to be listened to with the comic in hand, so you can read it again and get more value out of it. Response to the episode has been overwhelmingly positive, so you can expect an episode like this from us every now and again. For August, keep a look out for the commentary track on X-O Manowar #5.
Also, we released the Valiant Power Hour, and talked in more general terms about Archer & Armstrong #1 and dug into the announcement of Shadowman as the fifth title, coming in November.
We rounded off the month by Jonesin’ For Jonesy. Jonesy couldn’t make it to this one, but it didn’t stop the rest of us from talking about Bloodshot #2 and Harbinger #3 in our characteristic depth.
It’s nice to be on a roll, with new books regularly hitting the stands. Keep an eye out for these comics hitting stands in the next two weeks.
- Archer & Armstrong #2
- Bloodshot #3
- Harbinger #4
- X-O Manowar #5
And from us here at OTV:
September is still a bit up in the air. We will definitely be talking about all of the books mentioned above, with our characteristic smörgåsbord of opinions.
Also, keep an eye out for the commentary track for X-O Manowar #5, as mentioned above.
We’ve got a few other things in the works here, some special guests we are working on lining up, and such. Nothing concrete yet, but we’re working to bring you a variety of great shows to make your experience as a Valiant Fan more fun and interesting.
I thought that this month would be a good time to reflect on the State Of Valiant from a fan’s perspective. Since I’m pretty thrilled with what Valiant is doing, you can bet this will be fairly positive. After all, Valiant has been hitting it out of the park.
In X-O Manowar, Aric has fought the Romans, been kidnapped by The Vine, forced to work on a slave ship, led a revolt against his captors, been successfully chosen by Shanhara (the X-O armor), blew his way out of the slave ship, travelled back to earth, crushed the Italian special police and military, and learned that he is displaced 1600 years in the future. The Vine are a bit upset, and Vine agents on earth are mounting a plan to retrieve the armor, while a Vine invasion fleet approaches to finish the job.
In Harbinger, Pete Stanchek has used his power to keep his crazy friend Joe safe, forced his childhood crush, Kris, to fall in love with him (with questionable results), fought off Project Rising Spirit, been taken to the Harbinger Foundation by Harada, and shown that even without training, he can go toe to toe with the most powerful Harbingers.
Bloodshot‘s been killed. A lot. I’ve lost count. The twists in this book are almost too numerous to list (even after only two issues). Bloodshot has been sent on a suicide mission to capture a mysterious girl, been captured, had his memories freed (most of which are false), eaten a cow, and is on his way to dig into the sources of his false memories. All with the help of the “goldies” (the nanites in his blood), and while Project Rising Spirit tries to cover over some sort of horendous “gray goo” incident.
In Archer & Armstrong, Aram tried to kill his brother, Ivar, who turned on the Boon, seemingly destroying the world, Archer has demonstrated his prowess in fighting, and sent to Manahattan to take out Armstrong as a reward, Archer & Armstrong fought each other, and were captured by the Sect, and learn the secret plans of The 1% to destroy Greece as a sacrifice to the Greed Demon they worship.
These stories have been top-notch. Some people have liked some more than others, but I don’t think anyone can deny that the quality of the storytelling has been on par with the best books currently on the stands. In every single book, I can’t wait to see what happens next, and where the story will go.
There have been the most subtle of hints of the shared Valiant universe. Project Rising Spirit, the force behind creating Bloodshot, appears to also be hunting down harbingers, and Gilad, the Eternal Warrior has made brief appearances in both X-O Manowar (in issue #1) and Archer & Armstrong. The shared universe hasn’t been thrust in our faces (which I think is good), but is there to notice, for those looking for the hints.
Valiant has been making it either incredibly fun, or incredibly difficult to track down all the books they have been releasing. Many of the books released to date have had “1 in 20” and “1 in 50” variant covers, which has made it challenging to maintain a complete Valiant set with all of the variant covers.
I think it is fun that there are so many variants, it adds another dimension to the Valiant experience. You can buy the books just to read, and enjoy a full set of copies of the book to read, or you can choose to collect the variant covers too. I’ve always found a lot of the fun of collecting variants is in the search. It makes it a lot more satisfying once you get the books. That said, it looks like the number of limited variants will be decreasing in the coming months, with most variants being normal, 50/50 splits between the two covers. That should be a bit of a relief to the wallets of collectors.
I have never been a fan of a comic company that is more fun to be a fan of than Valiant. They have been running contests, and found fun ways to interact with fans through Social Media like Facebook and Twitter. Valiant has been running a number of contests as well, giving us all a lot of incentives to participate and interact with our favorite publisher.
Valiant started #FanArtFriday back in March and April, before new books were out, and recently resurrected it in the last month or so. Every friday, create your fan art, and send a tweet to @ValiantComics with the hashtag #FanArtFriday with your art. In addition, Valiant created a site to showcase the art sent in for Fan Art Friday. Head over to the Fan Art Fumblr to check out entries into Fan Art Friday. Some of mine are up there too! Hey-oh!
A couple weeks ago, Valiant created #WalkInWednesday as well, another stroke of mad marketing genius. Go into your shop, take a picture of you with your comic shop proprieter buying your weekly comics, and post it up! It gets people into shops, and rewards folks for doing something fun.
Are you ready to jump on the social media interaction bandwagon? We’ve got some suggestions to make it easier. Of course, follow us at OTV! We’ll help get the ball rolling.
You can like our OTV Facebook Page, we are starting to have some cool conversations over there. Facebook lends itself to a forum-like discussion, so hop over there and chat back with us.
Truly the king of all social media, however, is twitter. I say it’s the best a lot, but that, quite frankly, is because it is. Twitter is the cocktail party of the internet. Need to get started? Here’s a handy guide.
That’ll wrap it up for this month’s newsletter.
As always, this newsletter is an evolving part of what we do at Only The Valiant, if you have any comments or suggestions for this newsletter, please don’t hesitate to let us know! You can send ideas or suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org