One of the clear bigger winners of Baltimore Comic-Con, from the moment the doors opened, was Valiant. The resurgent comic book publisher had jumped into the gap in scheduling left by Marvel and DC, assembling their whole team to talk about the upcoming year in Valiant, and make some big announcements.
The panel was moderated by Hunter Gorinson, Marketing and Communications Manager; artist Cary Nord; writers Justin Jordan, Joshua Dysart, Duane Swierczynski, Robert Venditti, Fred Van Lente; and Executive Editor Warren Simons.
Things kicked off with "Harbinger", with Dysart saying that by the time the arc is over, main characters Harada and Peter will, “no longer be friends.” He also added that the fifth issue is subtitled “Versus.” The classic Harbinger characters are all coming back, with each getting a focus issue starting in issue six.
After Chris in issue six (who we’ve already met), the focus will be on Flamingo. “She’s the kind of girl who goes to a heavy metal show, shows her t**ts to the lead singer, and then he catches on fire,” said Dysart. Torque will be introduced next, with Dysart saying that he wears too much Ed Hardy and loves Nickelback. This is followed by Faith in issue nine, who Dysart said is his favorite character.
Then it was over to Swierczynski to "Bloodshot". “By issue four, he realizes he doesn’t know who he is... He’s at peace with it as much as he can be,” said Suarczynski. “The next arc is Bloodshot’s assault on Project Rising Spirit.” Then there was much mysterious talk about “what’s in the basement,” and “the nursery,” though in issue six, there will be a big secret revealed that will have, “massive repercussions for the Valiant Universe,” said Simons.
Next up? "X-O Manowar"! The first trade comes out in December, but for the next arc the team will be introducing the character of Ninjak. “In a Universe where a highly advanced weapon drops out of the sky, you would want the world’s foremost weapons expert to take a look at that,” said Venditti. “It’s very interesting to see these two fighting styles match up.”
Then it was announced that Cary Nord is off of "X-O Manowar" starting with issue five... But he’s working on a new project with Valiant for 2013. Simons added that shifting the artists is part of their plan to keep the books running on time.
Fred Van Lente talked next about "Archer & Armstrong", with the writer saying it, “goes anywhere, does anything, and you never know what to expect.”
Next item of news? Eternal Warrior returns in "Archer & Armstrong" #5, which elicited cheers from the crowd. We’ll have more news on that soon!
Last, it was over to Jordan to talk about "Shadowman". “He punches monsters in the face... Hard,” joked Jordan. Simons added that the art from Patrick Zircher is phenomenal.
Then it was time for questions! The first was whether the Geomancers - old school Valiant characters - would appear, with Lente saying in "Archer & Armstrong" #6, before getting shut down by Simons (jokingly).
Simons then added that there will be new characters coming out all the time... But that, “I think in the next year you’ll see something that is unlike anything you’ve seen from Valiant before,” said Simons.
On the differences between The Punisher and Bloodshot, Swierczynski said that they’re both driven by vengeance, but that Bloodshot has the possibility of feeling love, whereas the Punisher is dead inside.
Then the question turned to crossovers, with Simons saying that, “down the road, I wouldn’t be surprised, but I want there to be a natural point why it happens.”
One fan asked whether older Valiant creators would return, to which Simons said a definitive, “Absolutely. Some of them have worked with us, some will work with us, some don’t want to work with us.”
The next fan said they loved the slow build of releasing books over the past few month, and asked if that would continue. “We’re launching thirty-five new books next year,” joked Simons, clarifying that there would be more news about new books soon.
A new fan asked whether we’d see crossovers on a smaller scale, with Van Lente saying they recently left a writer’s summit, so there will be easter eggs and points that connect; but Venditti added that each title will still stand on it’s own.
Asked about trade paperbacks, Gorinson said the plan is to release one new trade a month, based on the first arcs of each book in the order they were released.
On the subject of digital exclusives, Gorinson noted that there currently are process pieces on all comiXology downloads, and they may be doing the same - time and cost depending - on rereleases of older Valiant Comics.
Asked by a fan, “When will we get the first foil cover?” another fan snarked, “Excuse me, it’s called chromium!” to laughter from the audience, and the co-Publisher - who invented the chromium cover - joked right back that, “I’ve never gotten any complaints from retailers!”
Then it was over to Dysart, who was asked whether we’ll find out who the villain in "Harbinger" really is. “I’m not really interested in an evil corporation,” said Dysart. “The book is really about power, who has it, and does not. That said, Harada is going to do some terrible things.”
On movie or TV news, Simons said that "Bloodshot" is with Sony, and there should be, “more news soon.”
And there you go! On to the next panel, friends. Join me, won’t you?