Publishing | According to the San Diego Comic Con schedule, Archaia will publish an adaptation of Shotaro Ishinomori’s classic sci-fi manga Cyborg 009, “reimagined” in Western style. The adaptation will be written by F. J. DeSanto and Brad Cramp, and illustrated by Trevor Hairsine. In case you missed it, David Brothers recently wrote a fascinating piece on the original. [Anime News Network]
Creators | Colleen Doran is looking for original art from her creator-owned series A Distant Soil. “I require good quality scans of the art for the future editions of the print books, as well as the upcoming digital editions … If you purchased A Distant Soil original art, I would be very grateful if you would get in touch with me.” [A Distant Soil]
Valiant Entertainment released a Ninjak teaser earlier this week, and now here’s the payoff: The ninja spy is indeed returning, in September’s X-O Manowar #5 — and as you can see, he’ll be going sword-to-lightning-sword with Aric of Dacia.
Here’s the quick summary from the press release:
X-O Manowar has landed on Earth – and now the world’s most lethal intelligence agent has a new target. But who is the operative known as Ninjak? And who – or what – has marked Aric of Dacia for death by his blade? Find out when the all-new, all-ruthless Ninjak makes his shocking debut – and cuts his way to the forefront of the Valiant Universe!
Robert Venditti will continue to script the series, but Batman R.I.P. penciller Lee Garbett will take over as artist, replacing Cary Nord, who illustrated the first arc. Comic Book Resources talks with Vendetti about Ninjak’s return to the Valiant Universe.
The teaser image (below) will be the cover of X-O Manowar #5, and the image above is the interlocking variant covers by Patrick Zircher. Philip Tan will also do a pullbox-exclusive variant cover.
Valiant Entertainment has unveiled a tantalizing, and bloody, image trumpeting the September return of Ninjak, the wildly popular ninja spy created by Mark Moretti and Joe Quesada.
Introduced in July 1993′s Bloodshot #6, Ninjak was the world’s top espionage expert and the enforcer for the mysterious Weaponeer organization who quickly became one of Valiant’s most popular characters. By February 1994, he was the star of his own series, which ran for 26 issues. After video-game company Acclaim Entertainment bought Valiant in 1996, Ninjak, like the company’s other characters, underwent a game-friendly overhaul. The creative team of Kurt Busiek, Neil Vokes and Michael Avon Oeming, launched a second series in March 1997 featuring a teenage Ninjak who received ancient ninja powers from a video game.
Ninjak will join a revived Valiant lineup that already includes X-O Manowar, Harbinger, Bloodshot and Archer & Armstrong. Check out the full teaser below.
Valiant Entertainment does nothing by half measures, so it’s no surprise that when they were thinking about a new look for their relaunch of four classic Valiant series from the 1990s, they went with a top designer: Rian Hughes, whose credits include not only design work for corporate clients such as Virgin Airways and Penguin Books but also comics design and illustration; he drew a number of series for 2000AD and designed the UK edition of Love and Rockets, among other projects.
We talked to Hughes about his redesign of the Valiant logo and cover elements for this year’s new series. Hughes also talks about some of the other covers he has designed, including Iron Man and Howard Chaykin’s Challengers of the Unknown. And font freaks (you know who you are!), check the end of the interview for a special challenge!
Robot 6: What is your association with Valiant Comics—did you read them in the 1990s? If so, when did you start reading–what “era” seems the most important to you?
Rian Hughes: I confess I didn’t pick up many comics at all in the ’90s, as I was going through a period where comics simply weren’t one of my main interests. I’d become a bit burned out working on 2000AD for several years, and was pursuing work in mainstream illustration, advertising and graphic design, so the ’90s are a bit of a blank for me. I’d follow the work of fellow Brits who happened to be friends and acquaintances—Morrison, Milligan, Moore and co—but outside of that, a lot passed me by. Which is no reflection on Valiant, of course!
Comics | When 4-year-old Anthony Smith didn’t want to wear his hearing aid because superheroes don’t wear them, his mother emailed Marvel to ask if they had any pictures of superheroes wearing a hearing aid. Not only did Marvel editor Bill Rosemann respond with an image of the cover of 1984′s West Coast Avengers #1, which featured Hawkeye wearing a hearing aid, he also had artist Nelson Ribeiro transform Anthony into a superhero, Blue Ear. [Concord Monitor]
Publishing | Former Marvel editor Jody LeHeup, who was let go by the publisher in October during a round of layoffs, has joined Valiant Entertainment as associate editor. [press release]
Conventions | Rich Lopez has a gallery of photos from last weekend’s Dallas Comic Con. [The Dallas Voice]
Conventions | David Glanzer, Comic-Con International’s director of marketing and public relations, looks back on this year’s WonderCon, which was held in Anaheim, California, rather than in San Francisco, touches upon the uncertainty about the location for next year’s show — “we just don’t have dates at the Moscone Center yet” — and discusses changes to pro and press registration for Comic-Con. [ICv2]
Conventions | Grant Morrison talks about MorrisonCon, the Sept. 28-30 convention billed as “a once-in-a-lifetime experience.” “It’s not going to be ‘Come here and buy some comics and listen to a few panels,’ ” he says. “After two days you will be a changed person.” Tickets for the Las Vegas show, which is limited to 1,000 attendees, cost $767, and include a two-night stay at the Hard Rock Hotel, access to the guests and after-hours parties. [The Hollywood Reporter]
Free Comic Book Day | In anticipation of Free Comic Book Day on Saturday, the San Francisco Chronicle interviews Joe Field of Flying Colors Comics, who came up with the idea in the first place, inspired by “free scoop” days at ice cream shops. [San Francisco Chronicle]
Free Comic Book Day | John Jackson Miller traces the 10-year history of Free Comic Book Day. [The Comics Chronicles]
Conventions | ReedPop Group Vice President Lance Fensterman takes stock of this year’s Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo and sees plenty of growth, both in attendees (42,000 this year) and exhibitors. It looks like the show will continue: “We feel like we got the answer we needed. We made maybe a little bit of money, which is fine. Year 3 is when we expect to start to see some positive cash flow, but even more so we felt that the community embraced the event and the turnout and the ticket sales reflect that—and that is just what we needed to see.” [ICv2]
Valiant will release its comics digitally the same day as print, beginning today with X-O Manowar #1, written by Robert Venditti and illustrated by Cary Nord. (Here’s a preview.) The other relaunch titles are Harbinger #1, due out on June 6; Bloodshot #1, on July 11; and Archer & Armstrong #1, on Aug. 8.
ComiXology will also carry digital editions of three classic storylines:
- X-O Manowar (1992) #0-6, by Jim Shooter, Bob Layton, Barry Windsor-Smith, and Joe Quesada
- Harbinger (1992) #0-6, by Jim Shooter and David Lapham
- Bloodshot (1993) #0-4, by Kevin VanHook and Don Perlin
The Valiant relaunch has been one of the most-hyped comics events of the season, and with good reason. Founded by former Marvel Editor-in-Chief Jim Shooter, Valiant was the No. 3 comics publisher in the United States in the 1990s. Its line featured a strong set of characters in an interconnected universe, all fleshed out by a creative team headed by Shooter and former Marvel hands Barry Windsor-Smith and Bob Layton. Valiant Entertainment, which purchased the rights to the Valiant comics in 2007, is relaunching four of the original titles with updated characters and story lines, and plans are in the works for at least two more.
Venditti and the Valiant staff outlined their plans for the four relaunch titles at the Valiant panel at Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo, and at that time, Publisher Fred Pierce said the 1990s comics would be available in digital format and eventually in print as well. More digital editions of the older titles, including Archer & Armstrong, Rai, Ninjak, Shadowman, Eternal Warrior and Quantum & Woody, are in the works.
Valiant Entertainment continues the march toward its relaunch of four classic Valiant comics later this summer with the release today of its new logo and trade dress, designed by graphic designer (and former 2000AD artist) Rian Hughes.
At their panel last week at Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo, Valiant staffers and writer Robert Venditti discussed how they’re going to update X-O Manowar, Harbinger, Bloodshot and Archer & Armstrong — all of which originally ran in the 1990s — for modern audiences. The logo redesign is of a piece with that, keeping the traditional Valiant look (and the compass that was part of the original logo) and giving it a more modern look.
“The Valiant characters have a strong fanbase and heritage, and so the new logos are fresh and modern as befits a forward-looking publisher while still paying tribute to the originals, just as has been done with the characters themselves,” Hughes said in the press release.
Valiant also released the cover and variant covers of the first release, X-O Manowar, with the new trade dress:
Retailing | Former retailer Atom! Freeman, now sales manager for the revived Valiant Entertainment, has set out to contact every comics retailer in the direct market to promote the publisher’s upcoming superhero line. What has he learned? Retailers are divided on the importance of variant covers, and they don’t place a high value on returnability, but they care a lot about timeliness: “I try to ask every retailer I speak with what his or her biggest concern is in dealing with a new publisher. The number one answer I get is timeliness. Retailers want to know that they will have a consistent product shipped on a consistent schedule.” [ICv2]
Retailing | Todd Allen’s survey of readers of The Beat, admittedly a specialized audience, reveals that more than two-thirds use pre-ordering as their primary method of buying comics, although many will pick up a few off the rack as well. [The Beat]