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On This Valiant Journey


xomanowar001.jpgIt’s occurred to me that, at last, I may have found a ‘winner’ outside of Marvel or DC.

See, it seems like more often than not, I’ll give new series a try…but eventually (like, within a year) I lose interest and let the title go. Or whether I’m digging the book or not, it gets cancelled. Or I simply switch to following it in collected volumes. So outside my various stints of following certain books/families of books to one degree or another from Marvel and/or DC, it seems anything else is merely a short dalliance.

Valiant has broken that mold. X-O Manowar #20 is due out in the next week or so. I’ve bought every single issue since #1 hit the stands back in May 2012, a couple days before Free Comic Book Day. I’ve also bought every issue thus far of subsequent series: Harbinger, Bloodshot, Archer & Armstrong, Shadowman, Harbinger Wars, Quantum and Woody, Eternal Warrior, Unity. With the #0 issues, that’s about 100 issues combined now, across the board.

xomanowar019.jpgAnd things are still going strong. None of the initial books have been cancelled. There’ve been some creative shifts, but nothing’s been rebooted or renumbered. Bloodshot was retitled Bloodshot and the H.A.R.D.Corps, but maintains original numbering. Shadowman just got a new creative team and new direction, yet maintains original numbering. As far as I noticed, when there was a #0 issue it made sense in that point of the continuity and served as a fill-in issue of sorts rather than forcing a double-purchase for that title for the month.

The Harbinger Wars stuff made sense, seemed organic, and gave us the core story by itself, with tie-ins between only two titles. Now with Unity, we’re getting tie-ins with X-O Manowar, but while things affect a lot of characters, it’s not some line-wide crossover.  And though with Unity we’re up to 8 books, that’s it. That’s the ENTIRE VALIANT UNIVERSE. With only 8 books, I get to read EVERYTHING. I get my monthly X-O story, my monthly chapter of Harbinger, etc. And I can enjoy them by themselves, but I also get to enjoy that ultimately they all fit together. (Granted, I haven’t quite figured out where Quantum and Woody fit, but whatever).

20120904valiant02.jpgI could certainly do without all the constant variant covers. But since they tend to advertise the “regular” cover on house ads and promotional posters and such, I’m quite happy to strictly stick to those “regular” covers. And I could do without the “clumping” of books: typically there are 4 New Comic Days in a month, so I would “expect” at 8 titles’ output, 2 per week, and if there’s a 5th week, maybe a couple weeks with only 1. But new Valiant every single week. Unfortunately, it seems there’ll be a couple weeks with 3 books, a skip week, then another cluster. Now that there ARE 8 titles, my main complaint is when there’s a skip week and then a cluster, as it seems to me there oughtta easily be able to be 1-3 in a given week.

But I don’t find the frustration that I do with other publishers. I gave DC‘s New 52 about 2-3 months on most of the titles I tried, a couple I stuck with for 7-8 issues, and I think Animal Man and Swamp thing made it a little further. I’ve dipped back in here and there for a random issue or two, but haven’t actually followed a regular, non-digital-first DC book at any length in awhile (and even Legends of the Dark Knight and Injustice: Gods Among Us are a few months “younger” than several of these Valiant books).

allnewxmen004.jpgLast year I jumped in on a handful of the Marvel Now titles, settling for a couple months on All-New X-Men, X-Men Legacy, and Thunderbolts. I found new excitement in the dawn of the Superior Spider-Man. But within a few months I’d dropped ’em all. All-New X-Men and Superior Spider-Man were $3.99 apiece and it seemed there was another issue every time I went to the comic shop, often one of each, adding a quick $8 on top of whatever else I was looking to get that week.

Part of the appeal–to me–of Valiant is that, sure, there are 8 titles (and I’m hoping a Rai title makes 9 sometime earlier than later in 2014), but they only come out once a month. And while they work together, fit together, they’re each their own thing. They have their own feel.

But the point of all this–20 months! 20 months I’ve kept up with an entire line, a “family” of titles, a publisher. And I’m still enjoying the output. I’m appreciating what they’re doing that other publishers aren’t…and what they’re not doing that others are. And I feel like there’s finally some staying power, that this universe isn’t just gonna disappear overnight.

Though even if it did…I’ve still got that “’90s Valiant” collection I’m working on and have yet to read, that I plan to.

xomanowarseriesone20120919_thumb.jpg

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