To help celebrate Valiant’s 25th anniversary going on this month, we’ve asked each member of the Valiant Central staff to share their Valiant origin stories. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be publishing two per week. Feel free to leave comments and share your own experiences.
My Valiant origin story began in the Year of Our Lord, 2014.
I began my comics-reading career as a strictly Marvel-reader, but made the transition to DC around the time of the New 52 reboot back in 2011. Unfortunately, the initial thrill of getting into the groundfloor of a universe gave way to boredom as the quality of many of the DC titles was less than stellar and confusion since DC editorial decided to pick and choose which parts of DC’s long history “counted,” but could also never give a clear explanation to their readers which parts those were (even as someone who has read a lot of old DC comics, I’m often left scratching my head).
By early 2014, I was looking to branch out. Returning to Marvel wasn’t an option (although they produce a lot of good comics, I disagree with several of their business practices), and while I read several good Image comics, what I really wanted to find a shared universe.
I’m not sure when or where I heard about Valiant, but I do know that the two factors that led me to the publisher were the number of different channels where people were talking about them—comics’ podcasts, Comic Book Resources’ forums, word-of-mouth—and the conviction that fans had for the company itself rather than individual titles (although there was plenty of passion for each series as well). Intrigued, I investigated their titles and chose X-O Manowar since the premise appealed to me the most; however, on a whim, I not only picked up the first volume but also the second and third as well. It wasn’t until a 14-hour flight to Italy that I had the chance to read them, but once that chance came I burned through all three volumes in one sitting (in-flight movies be damned).
In retrospect, By the Sword, Enter Ninjak, and Planet Death were the perfect comics for someone new to Valiant. While they tell a classic action story (think Ridley Scott’s Gladiator or Stanley Kubrick’s Spartacus), Robert Venditti has also filled the world with new and interesting mythology—such as the Vine worshipping the armor—that really make the story stand out, and, more importantly, Cary Nord’s artwork is incredible. As much as I love Diego Bernard’s current work on the title, Nord will always be the definitive X-O Manowar artist. In addition to the story itself, there were also several touches that demonstrated how much care that Valiant put into their products. The trade’s credits page was smartly organized (as opposed to the credits page of a DC trade, where, more often than not, it’s a guessing game as to who contributed what), and the inclusion of a cover gallery in the back was a nice way to demonstrate the great covers without interrupting the flow of the story. Altogether, this was a top quality comic.
Given how impressed I was with these volumes, it wasn’t a surprise that I eventually began reading the other Valiant titles. Along the way, the books continually surprised me; based on its premise, Bloodshot had the least appeal for me, but it actually became one of my favorite titles. I currently own every trade paperback issued by Valiant Entertainment, and I have the upcoming trades organized by their release date in an Excel spreadsheet. Valiant is the first publisher that I have ever gone “all-in” on, but I really feel that they have earned that distinction through hard work on both the creative and business ends.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to read By the Sword again.
Originally from ValiantCentral.com