Four Letter Nerd

Tag - Valiant Comics

An Introduction to Comic Book Binding

It’s been a long while since we’ve provided you, our fellow nerds, with a primer.  The purpose of this series is to take an in-depth look at specific sub-genres of nerd culture, and today’s article does not stray from that premise.  Without further adieu, let’s take a look at art of comic book binding.

History

I’m going to ask you to bear with me over this next paragraph, because we are going to have a tiny history lesson.  Unlike some of our previous primers, bookbinding goes back a long way.  Remember hearing about Johann Gutenberg in history class?  Well, he is responsible for creating the movable type printing press, which allowed for faster printing.  Faster printing meant more books, and more books meant more focus on the art of bookbinding, which really took off in the late 15th century.  Also happening in the 15th century: the Aztec and Inca empires were at the height of their power. Fun fact: initially, books were shelved with the spines facing inwards, and the title inked onto the edge of the pages.  It wasn’t until Jean Grolier commissioned beautiful bindings with with lettering on the spine that they began to shelve them spines out, as is the custom now (stay tuned for my next primer on watching paint dry!).

Look, I know this might be boring for some of you, and possibly jarring since you are here to figure out if you want to get your DOOP collection professionally bound, but we really take book-bindings as they are now for granted. You’re right, though… it’s time to move onto the next portion of this primer.

Choosing a Bindery

Deciding whether to get your comic books professionally bound is a big decision.  I imagine a good sized portion of the comic community cringes at the thought of someone cutting the spine off a book and stitching it to a bunch of its comic book brethren.  Having said that, comic book binding is great for collectors like me that don’t intend to sell their books, want to keep them easily accessible, and don’t consider short boxes home decor.

I decided to give binding a shot because I have four short boxes filled with modern era Valiant Comics sitting in the back of my closet next to an expired fire extinguisher, assorted batteries, and our winter coats. A one-of-a-kind hardback book (that I helped design, no less) filled with some of my favorite comics was just too good to pass up.  After doing some research on the Google, I decided to go with Herring and Robinson Book Binders. Herring and Robinson is a family owned library bindery that began business in 1920. Before I decided to pull the trigger, I gave them a call to learn about the binding process.  They graciously answered all my questions during my initial phone call, and stayed in touch via email throughout.  Ultimately, it was their customer service that won me over.

Prepping Your Books for Binding

First and foremost, it’s important to decide which series or event you are binding.  For my first foray into binding, I chose my X-O Manowar collection, which included issues #1-50, two #0 issues, and two annuals.  Once you choose your books, it’s time to get them into the order you want.  While each volume could be up to 2 1/2″ thick, I decided to break my collection into two volumes so the gutter loss would not be as bad.  The first volume would include issues #1-25, and the second volume would include #26-50, with the #0’s and annuals put in according to when they were released.

Now comes the hard part… if you want to take away some of the thickness, or you find it more aesthetically pleasing, you can remove the ads throughout the comic as long as it doesn’t include any of the actual panels. While yes, you are technically cutting into a comic book which could be considered blasphemous, it’s for the greater good.  I decided to remove the last few pages of each book, because these usually contained previews for upcoming Valiant titles, which I didn’t need.  To do this, I simply grabbed my trusty Wrath of the Eternal Warrior box-cutter, and cut just to the right of the center line to avoid the staples.  Some binderies also prefer the buyer to remove the staples prior to sending, but Herring and Robinson don’t require this.  Once the pages are removed put the issues back in the correct order, place some comic boards on the top and bottom to protect the pages, and wrap them with a few rubber-bands.

I have included some photos of how I prepped my books below.  They are not for the faint of heart…

The Eternal Warrior always wins

 

Placing Your Order

Herring and Robinson provides a myriad of options for customizing your book.  You can have double lines, single lines, die-stamps, lettering, and choose the placement of everything. Then you have to choose the type and color of the binding, and the color of the lines and lettering, add a ribbon or headband, it’s… let’s just say you have a lot to think about .  I spent a lot of time figuring out exactly how I wanted the spine to look.  I eventually settled on double lines at the top and bottom, sans-serif lettering, the buckram material in royal blue with silver lettering.  Herring and Robinson provides the following order form, that has a diagram of the spine and front cover, so you can show them exactly how you want it to look by sketching it out.

New_Order_Slip

Now, pack the order form in with your books, make sure it’s well protected, and ship it off to Herring and Robinson.  The wait begins.

The Final Product

Their website says it will take 6-8 weeks for the order to be completed, but after only 4 weeks I received my invoice and tracking number.  I’m not going to lie, when I saw that my package was out for delivery and my mailman was running later than usual I stared out my window like Michael Scott stares at Toby.  The wait paid off when I pulled these beautiful books out of their package:

For a price tag of around $30 a book, I ended up with two beautiful, one-of-a-kind books that will look great on my nerd shelf.  The quality of these books is mind-boggling.  They are solidly constructed, and feel great to the touch.  But, is comic book binding for everyone? Probably not.  There are those that cringe at the thought of ravaging their comics with a razor blade.  Those of you, like me, who don’t plan on selling your collection, want to be able to display them proudly, and can make it through the prep, comic book binding is definitely worth it.  I am beyond happy with how my first foray into bound comics turned out, and I will definitely be sending more over the next few months.

8 Valiant Comics and Bands You Need To Check Out Before Warped Tour 2017

About a month and a half ago, Valiant Entertainment and Warped Tour announced that they’ve partnered up on Warped Tour’s 2017 promotional artwork and marketing. Essentially, that means Valiant characters are promoting Warped Tour. And that’s f**king cool.

Valiant has put out some absolutely incredible series, and I honestly believe that no publisher has more respect and appreciation for their readers than they do.

If you are not familiar with Valiant, but you’re interested in checking them out, we’ve thrown together a list of some current ongoing books that you should pick up before Warped Tour kicks off this summer. Most, if not all, of these series are already available in trade collections so you can head down to your local comic shop and pick up a couple for pretty cheap. If you don’t have a comic shop nearby then click the Comixology link under each series below to get them digitally.

Along with the reading recommendations, you’ll also find some listening suggestions featuring bands who are playing on this years Warped Tour.

Enjoy!

X-O Manowar

X-O Manowar (2017) #1

Summary from Comixology: “Born under the oppressive thumb of the Roman Empire, Aric of Dacia learned warfare at an early age. It was amid such violence that he was abducted by an alien race. Forced into slavery, he survived where others perished. His escape would come from bonding with a weapon of immeasurable power: the X-O Manowar armor. With it, he returned to Earth…only to find himself stranded in the modern day. But that was a lifetime ago.

“Now, far from home on a strange and primitive new world, Aric has begun a new life. Liberated from his past, he tends to his crops. Free from war. Free from violence. Free from the armor.

“But the machinery of death marches his way once again. Conscripted into an alien army and thrown into an unforgiving conflict, the fury inside him finds voice as he is forced to embrace the armor once more. With it, he will decimate armies, topple empires and incite interplanetary warfare as he rises from SOLDIER to GENERAL to EMPEROR to VISIGOTH. They wanted a weapon. He will give them war!”

Listen to this while you read it!

Hundredth

PLAYING Warped 6.16 – 8.6

 

Faith

Faith #1: Digital Exclusives Edition

Summary from Comixology: “Orphaned at a young age, Faith Herbert – a psionically gifted “psiot” discovered by the Harbinger Foundation – has always aspired to greatness. But now this once ordinary teenager is taking control of her destiny and becoming the hard-hitting hero she’s always known she can be – complete with a mild-mannered secret identity, unsuspecting colleagues, and a day job as a reporter that routinely throws into her harms way!

“Well, at least she thought it would… When she’s not typing up listicals about cat videos, Faith makes a secret transformation to patrol the night as the City of Angels’ own leading superhero – the sky-soaring Zephyr!

“But flying solo is going to be tougher than Zephyr ever thought when she uncovers a deep-rooted alien conspiracy. Two-bit burglars and car thieves are one thing, but when the world needs a hero to stave off a full-blown extraterrestrial invasion, will Faith find herself in over her head…or ready for her biggest challenge yet?”

Listen to this while you read it!

Tillie

PLAYING Warped 7.26 – 8.6

 

Generation Zero

Generation Zero Vol. 1

Summary from Comixology: Listen to this while you read it! “If you have a problem… If your parents won’t help… And if your cause is worthy… Log onto network #ZERO…because Generation Zero is listening.

“Years ago, the children of the experimental strike team known as Generation Zero were taken from their families by Project Rising Spirit, a private weapons contractor, and raised to be psychic soldiers. After years of taking orders, they have fought for and won their freedom.

“Now, the world’s most wanted teenagers have pledged to protect each other tooth and claw, while using their extraordinary abilities to right wrongs for a generation without a future… To fight for kids, just like them.”

Listen to this while you read it!

New Years Day

PLAYING Warped 6.16 – 8.6

 

Savage 

Savage #1

Summary from Comixology: Fifteen years ago, the world’s most famous soccer star and his former supermodel wife –pregnant with their unborn child – disappeared without a trace. The world believes they are dead… But, in reality, their private jet crash-landed on a mysterious, unknown island ruled by by prehistoric creatures from another time… This is the story of how they lost their humanity.”

Listen to this while you read it!

Knocked Loose

PLAYING Warped 6.16 – 8.6

 

Britannia

Britannia

Summary from Comixology: “On the fringes of civilization, the world’s first detective is about to make an unholy discovery? Ruled by the Fates. Manipulated by the Gods. Commanded by Caesar. In the year 65 A.D., one’s destiny was not his own. At the height of Nero’s reign, a veteran of Rome’s imperial war machine has been dispatched to the farthest reaches of the colonies to investigate unnatural happenings? In the remote outpost of Britannia, Antonius Axia – the First Detective – will become Rome’s only hope to reassert control over the empire’s most barbaric frontier and keep the monsters that bridge the line between myth and mystery at bay. From comics mastermind Peter Milligan (X-Statix, Shade the Changing Man) and incendiary artist Juan Jose Ryp (NINJAK, Clone) comes a psychological journey into terror, temptation, and bloodshed in Valiant’s latest magnum opus.”

Listen to this while you read it!

Fire From The Gods

PLAYING Warped 6.16 – 8.6

 

Bloodshot: Reborn

Bloodshot Reborn #1: Digital Exclusives Edition

Summary from Comixology: “Bloodshot’s nanites made him a nearly unstoppable killing machine. His enhanced strength, speed, endurance, and healing made him the perfect weapon, and he served his masters at Project Rising Spirit – a private contractor trafficking in violence – very well.

“Now, Bloodshot is a shadow of his former self. He lives in self imposed exile, reeling from the consequences of his past life and the recent events that nearly drove him mad. But when a rash of shootings by gunmen who appear to look just like Bloodshot begin, his guilt will send him on a mission to stop the killers, even if it means diving headlong into the violence that nearly destroyed him.”

Listen to this while you read it!

Bad Omens

PLAYING Warped 7.4 – 7.24

 

Ninjak

Ninjak (2015- ) #1: Digital Exclusives Edition

Summary from Comixology: “For the first time, Ninjak’s past and future collide in the pages of an all-new ongoing series from New York Times best-selling writer Matt Kindt (Rai, Mind MGMT) and superstar artists Clay Mann (X-Men: Legacy, Gambit) and Butch Guice (Captain America, Action Comics)!

“Then: Meet inexperienced MI-6 recruit Colin King on his first mission in the field as he learns the basics of spycraft and counterintelligence, and develops a volatile relationship with his first handler.

“Now: Colin King is Ninjak, the world’s foremost intelligence operative, weapons expert, and master assassin. And he’s hunting the Shadow Seven – a secret cabal of shinobi masters with mysterious ties to his training and tragic past.”

Listen to this while you read it!

I Prevail

PLAYING Warped 6.16 – 8.6

 

A&A: The Adventures of Archer & Armstrong

A&A: The Adventures of Archer & Armstrong #1: Digital Exclusives Edition

Summary from Comixology: “GET SMASHED…OR BE SMASHED! Meet Armstrong: Since the ancient city of Ur, this immortal adventurer has spent the last 7,000 years drinking and carousing his way through history alongside some of the greatest merrymakers the world has ever known.

“Meet Archer: A sheltered teenage martial arts master and expert marksman that was raised for a single purpose – to kill the devil incarnate. Little did he know that this undying evil was actually Armstrong (he’s actually a pretty good guy…once you get to know him) and, since hitting the road together, the two have become great friends and even better partners.

“Now: Archer is about to set off on his most dangerous mission yet – a quest into the mystic reaches of Armstrong’s bottomless satchel to liberate his friend and comrade from the clutches of the mad god Bacchus! (Okay, so, Armstrong went into the satchel himself to get a bottle of whiskey that he kinda misplaced and got stuck. It’s like the Amazon warehouse of arcane treasures in there…and he doesn’t exactly have a maid service.)

“Imprisoned in Armstrong’s satchel for centuries, Bacchus now commands a legion of monsters, goblins and golems bent on escaping back into the world of man and enacting revenge on their captor… Can Archer single-handedly combat the godly embodiment of intoxication himself – and rescue his best buddy – without becoming lost amongst Armstrong’s endless repository of bizarre artifacts and historical oddities in the process?”

Listen to this while you read it!

Valient Thorr

PLAYING Warped 6.16 – 8.6

4LN Comic Review: X-O Manowar (2017) #1

Writer: Matt Kindt
Art: Tomás Giorello and Diego Rodriguez
Publisher: Valiant Comics

Summary from Comixology:

Born under the oppressive thumb of the Roman Empire, Aric of Dacia learned warfare at an early age. It was amid such violence that he was abducted by an alien race. Forced into slavery, he survived where others perished. His escape would come from bonding with a weapon of immeasurable power: the X-O Manowar armor. With it, he returned to Earth…only to find himself stranded in the modern day. But that was a lifetime ago.

Now, far from home on a strange and primitive new world, Aric has begun a new life. Liberated from his past, he tends to his crops. Free from war. Free from violence. Free from the armor.

But the machinery of death marches his way once again. Conscripted into an alien army and thrown into an unforgiving conflict, the fury inside him finds voice as he is forced to embrace the armor once more. With it, he will decimate armies, topple empires and incite interplanetary warfare as he rises from SOLDIER to GENERAL to EMPEROR to VISIGOTH. They wanted a weapon. He will give them war!

XO2017_001_COVER-A_LAROSA

Robert Venditti’s X-O MANOWAR (2012) was the title that helped Valiant Entertainment launch itself into the modern era.   His take on X-O Manowar was poignant, and over the course of its fifty issue run, he transformed the raucous, Visigoth warrior into a king and peacemaker.  It was a fun journey, with all sorts of twists and turns, memorable villains and memorable fights.  After Venditti stepped away, I was slightly worried about who would eventually step in and take the reins of Valiant’s flagship character.  Lucky for us, Valiant superstar Matt Kindt was announced as the heir to the throne.

If you put all of the Valiant titles up on a wall and threw a dart at them, the chances of your dart landing on an issue Kindt worked on is fairly high.  During his time at Valiant Comics, Kindt has written UNITY, which happened to feature X-O Manowar, RAI, NINJAK, THE VALIANT with Jeff Lemire, and DIVINITY.  What I am trying to say is Matt Kindt is Valiant’s cleanup hitter.

In X-O MANOWAR #1 we find a more stoic Aric.  Tired of war and death, Aric left Earth behind and found another habitable planet where he could live in peace.  After burying his X-O armor, he finds solace tending the land and growing a sweet beard.  Unfortunately, war finds him even here, and he is forced to serve as cannon fodder in a war he has no interest in.

To me, X-O MANOWAR #1 feels like a mixture of RAI and the fantastic western “The Quick and the Dead”, with Aric playing the role of retired gunslinger forced to fight.  Matt Kindt, like we’ve come to expect from his work on RAI, tells an epic science-fiction tale, with plenty of good dialogue and just enough backstory to get you headed in the right direction without bogging you down.

Another high point in this debut is the art.  I can’t think of another book off the top of my head that looks quite like what this art team pulls off.  It sort of reminds me of the kind of art that in on the cover of old pulp science-fiction novels, and I love it.  The line work and colors just mesh together in a really cool way that matches the epic nature of the story.

Ultimately, X-O MANOWAR #1 is one of the most action packed debuts I’ve seen.  After the first few pages, the action picks up and keeps on going till the last page.  Kindt’s epic story-telling ability is on point, and this art team is just killer.  It doesn’t matter if you’ve never read a single Valiant comic before, this book is spectacular – a definite 5 out of 5.

X-O MANOWAR #1 hits the stands March 22, 2017, and you need it in your life.  Now here are some preview pages:

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XO2017_001_001

XO2017_001_002

XO2017_001_003

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XO2017_001_005

XO2017_001_006

XO2017_001_007

4LN Comic Review – Britannia #1

Series: Britannia
Writer: Peter Milligan
Artist: Juan Jose Ryp, with Jordie Bellaire on Colors
Publisher: Valiant Comics

Summary from Comixology: “On the fringes of civilization, the world’s first detective is about to make an unholy discovery…

Ruled by the Fates. Manipulated by the Gods. Commanded by Caesar. In the year 65 A.D., one’s destiny was not his own. At the height of Nero’s reign, a veteran of Rome’s imperial war machine has been dispatched to the farthest reaches of the colonies to investigate unnatural happenings… In the remote outpost of Britannia, Antonius Axia – the First Detective – will become Rome’s only hope to reassert control over the empire’s most barbaric frontier…and keep the monsters that bridge the line between myth and mystery at bay…

From comics mastermind Peter Milligan (X-Statix, Shade the Changing Man) and incendiary artist Juan Jose Ryp (NINJAK, Clone) comes a psychological journey into terror, temptation, and bloodshed – presented in an all-new prestige format limited series!”

Britannia #1

Ever since Valiant announced their (at the time) forthcoming new wave of comic series’ at this years Valiant Summit a few months ago, Britannia was the one I most anticipated. Admittedly, It was Juan Jose Ryp’s involvement that most excited me because he’s quickly become one of my absolute favorite comic artists just within the last year. His style is so visceral and detailed, and there is no one who can capture violence and brutality the way he can.

So after seeing Ryp involved I check out the premise. “The world’s first detective”? I mean, what does that even look like? I barely understand what detectives do NOW, let alone what the very first one would have done. It’s intriguing to say the least. There were no hints to the greater Valiant Universe that I couple pick out, so I was also curious how it fit in. After finally reading the whole first issue for myself, I can confidently say that even though I still don’t know where it fits in the Valiant Universe, it might be my favorite thing Valiant has put out in I-don’t-know-how-long.

britannia_001_004

Peter Milligan is one of those writers who does a ton of great work, but seems to mostly fly under the radar. In addition to (probably) writing every major Valiant character at some point in the past, he’s also done phenomenal work for Marvel and DC (go read his 5 Ronin series immediately), as well put out some great original series’ like The Discipline (Image) and New Romancer (Vertigo).

Britannia feels like a whole different beast than anything he’s done before (with *maybe* the closest thing being his brief run on The Eternal Warrior). To be honest, Britannia isn’t like anything that Valiant has even done before. It reads more like a creator-owned, independent series. The way it blends actual history and sci-fi/fantasy is incredibly brilliant, and the amount of mystery is perfect for keeping you hanging on without revealing too much.

The character interactions feel very natural, with the most compelling, in my opinion, being between Axia (our protagonist) and his servant/slave Bran. They have a very interesting relationship because Bran seems as if he’s a good friend to Axia, but he’s still very much aware of his place. I love how Milligan handles this. They’re like buddies, but also not because one of them is, essentially, a captive. I’m eager to see how their dynamic evolves over the rest of the issues.

britannia_001_005

I know I’ve already fanboyed all over JJR, but really, the guy’s artwork is flawless and beautiful. Beautiful in the way a lion stalks, attacks, and consumes a gazelle, kind of. It’s pure, and raw. There’s a panel (above) at the beginning where Axia and his soldiers just slaughter a group of cultists who kidnapped a girl and were going to sacrifice her. The way he depicts the blades tearing through the men, and the look on Axis’s face… it’s just so… satisfying.

Comic art often feels sterilized nowadays and I like that Ryp doesn’t filter himself. He puts every bit of who he is into that art and it’s the most magnificent middle finger to the mainstream, cookie-cutter bulls**t.

Additionally, Jordie Bellaire’s colors on this are just fantastic. I can’t think of a comic colorist who better nails the tone of the story with their color-work. The beautiful parallels of those reds and greens you see in these preview pages are amazing. With those two colors being used it should look like a Christmas theme but it doesn’t all. It’s menacing and dark.

britannia_001_006

One thing I’ll mention is… OK, so this book is rated “12+”. The thing about that is… there’s some elements at play here, and some situations that I can’t imagine most 12-year-old’s are mature enough for. Hell, I’M barely mature enough for it. As a parent who let his 9-year-old watch JAWS, I probably still wouldn’t be comfortable with him reading this comic at 12. Maybe… 14 or 15? I don’t believe in censorship of any kind, but I do think we do a disservice to our children by letting them consume stories with mature content sooner than they’re able to appreciate what it means to the plot. Like, yes, there’s a naked lady, but why is she naked and does it serve the story realistically or with a motivating purpose? What does the nudity mean? Not that it has to have a reason, but reason gives the story meaning.

Look, no judgement whatsoever if you do feel your adolescent child is mature enough to handle some of the themes in this book. Just wanted to put out a little PSA for parents who potentially might not know.

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I loved Britannia #1. It’s easily a 5 star issue, and may be my favorite single-issue Valiant comic of the year. I’m very much looking-forward to where this story goes, and seeing how Axia navigates the mystery. If you’ve never read a Valiant comic, read this. I promise you it stands out from anything else the publisher has ever put out, and you don’t need any backstory or context to understand.

Britannia #1 is on comic shop shelves tomorrow, or you can get it digitally by clicking the Comixology link at the top of the page.

 

Music Pairing – 

I jammed the new Heaven Shall Burn album, “Wanderer”, while reading this and it felt very right.

4LN Advanced Comic Review – Bloodshot Reborn #14 (New Arc)

Series: BLOODSHOT REBORN
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Mico Suayan
Publisher: Valiant Comics

Summary from Valiant Entertainment:

ALL-NEW ARC! ALL-NEW JUMPING-ON POINT! Welcome to “BLOODSHOT ISLAND”!

Stranded on a mysterious desert island, Bloodshot is running for his life! But as he tries to make sense of his surroundings, he’s quickly discovering that this is no ordinary tropical getaway… Surrounded by decommissioned relics of the same bloodstained project that created him – World War II Bloodshot, Cold War Bloodshot, Vietnam Bloodshot, and other antiquated experiments – Bloodshot is about to find out where Project Rising Spirit sends it old soldiers to die. Can this seasoned band of killers trust each other long enough to survive the threats that lie in the jungle around them…and unlock the secret at the heart of the island’s existence before they’re each permanently retired? And who or what is the sinister force called DEATHMATE that now hunts them at every turn?

This summer, superstar creators Jeff Lemire (Extraordinary X-Men) and Mico Suayan (BLOODSHOT REBORN) send Bloodshot screaming into his most action-packed adventure yet as “BLOODSHOT ISLAND” ups the ante for the Valiant Universe’s most formidable soldier!

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This book has been on almost every Valiant fan’s radar since they announced it a while back.  They teased us with images of more Bloodshots (one looking like a mix between Bloodshot and Robert Downey Jr.’s character in Tropic Thunder) which was like throwing chum in the water for fans.  Needless to say there was a lot of hype leading up to this book.  For many people, that much hype can lead to unrealistic expectations and ultimately being let down by the very thing that you loved most….  Was that too much?  Anyway, worry not Jeff Lemire and Co. will not let you down.  This book is phenomenal.  What follows is a spoiler-free look at BLOODSHOT REBORN #14 “BLOODSHOT ISLAND.”

As you might have guess by the description above, this plot is reminiscent of The Most Dangerous Game… except exponentially more dangerous because there is a mysterious new character that shares a name with a particularly infamous crossover event from the 90’s, and she’s powerful enough to hunt multiple Bloodshots.

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Yes, as shown in the previews, BLOODSHOT ISLAND is full of multiple Bloodshots that hail from multiple periods of conflict (Vietnam, Gulf War, etc), and they have their own canine side-kick appropriately named Bloodhound (before reading this issue, I was hoping that was the name of the dog… that or Bloodspot).  And yes, it is as awesome as it sounds.

Jeff Lemire is setting up a plot that is brilliant as it is terrifying.  This particular issue plays out like a science-fiction, horror film, with a some mind-blowing action sequences beautifully illustrated by the talented Mico Suayan.  His art is insanely good.  Every panel is packed with detail, and all of the character designs are perfect.  I was kind of worried because on the cover, the villain has ENORMOUS hands.  Luckily within these pages, her design is great, and seeing her in action is awe inspiring.  Mico also treates us to a two page splash where we get our first look at the Squad and it is is mesmerizing!

I was fortunate enough to read this book early, but I still can’t wait for Wednesday so I can see how it looks on the actual page.  For new readers, this is a good jumping, but be warned – Valiant is addicting.  BLOODSHOT REBORN #14 is a mind-bending 5 out of 5, and needs to be in your hands this Wednesday.

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EXCLUSIVE Interview with Chance Butler, Valiant Cover Artist

If you haven’t been reading Valiant’s 4001 A.D. event, you really need to. It has been spectacular thus far, and the hits just keep on coming.  Each main issue has a plethora of fantastic covers, and one in particular has been gaining some attention.  I am speaking, of course, about the 4001 A.D. Action Figure variants designed by our good pal Chance Butler from ComicCollectorLive.com.  We were lucky enough to sit down with Chance to talk about where he gets his love of comics, what it’s like to have his cover art published by Valiant Comics, and what goes into creating the fantastic Action Figure variants.  Enjoy!

 

4LN – When did you first get into comics?

Chance Butler – Well, my dad has always been a collector so it was pretty much decided for me at birth! Before I could read I would flip through his Amazing Spider-Man collection and look at the pictures. I always thought it was interesting. As I got older I started reading and started collecting my own comics. I really liked to collect Ben Reilly when I was young… I think it was that sweet costume.

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4001 A.D. #1 CCL Variant

 

4LN – Do you recall any specific moment that you realized you had a talent for art?

CB – I do actually! I remember grabbing a Star Wars coloring book and a blank sheet of paper and trying to draw Yoda just like the coloring book had him printed. I finished my (somewhat crude but good for a 6 year old) Yoda drawing and proudly presented it to my parents who then hung it up on the fridge for everyone to admire (pretend to like).

4LN – Was comic book art something you were always interested in doing?

CB – Well, as I got older comics stuck with me. I would spend my time in school doodling superheroes and working on anatomy instead of paying attention. That didn’t really help my game in high school much. Turns out girls don’t like drawings of Spider-Man… but now I’m just rambling.

I certainly loved drawing comic characters. I never really anticipated being able to draw for an actual publisher, it was just something I did in my free time. I always wanted to be a graphic designer so it was really cool to get to do these action figure variants. I got to kind of merge my graphic design and art skills.

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4001 A.D. #2 CCL Variant

 

4LN – The covers you’ve designed for the Comic Collector Live variants of Valiant Comics’ “4001 A.D.” are the first time you’ve worked with a major publisher. What has that experience been like for you?

CB – It’s definitely been a positive experience, and I’m thankful for the opportunity that Comic Collector Live gave me. Working with Valiant is awesome, they’re a bunch of geeks and you can tell they really care about their fans and the content they produce. Discussing ideas with them is very akin to a bunch of guys sitting in a living room eating pizza and talking about how awesome it would be for X-O Manowar to be a deluxe giant sized figure in a big box. And then someone’s mom walks in and asks us to please put our drinks on coasters for like, the fourth time. And she just stands there while we remain silent because we don’t want her to call us lame for talking about action figures. At least that’s how I imagined it in my head when we were emailing back and forth.

4LN – What kind of effort has gone into designing the covers? Have you had to re-familiarize yourself with any of the Valiant characters for inspiration?

CB – The covers are a two-step process really. Half of it is trying to create a realistic looking action figure box, and the other half is producing the art to go in/on that box. The most effort goes into the portraits. I learned something new with each one, and this fourth one sure is puuurty!

You know, I’ve been a big Rai fan for a while now so I was pretty confident with him as the first cover, but X-O Manowar, Bloodshot, and Eternal Warrior are new to me! I enjoyed researching the characters and learning their quirks. I have to say, since doing these covers I have become a pretty big Bloodshot fan!

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4001 A.D. #3 CCL Variant

 

4LN – Two of your “4001 A.D.” covers are officially out, the third one will drop in July, and the final cover will hit comic shop stands in August. Do you have other work on the horizon we should be on the lookout for?

At the moment, no. But I don’t think you’ll be seeing the last of me just yet! Do keep an eye out for my ad for Comic Collector Live. It’s in every DC title for the month of June!

 

Lightning Round:

4LN – What is your favorite single issue of a comic?

CB – Uncanny X-Force 35. That whole run was great but that one issue gets me.

4LN – What is your dream mode of transportation?

CB -Flight! But not the lame plane kind, the cool “I have wings” kind!

4LN – What’s your favorite way to kill time?

CB -PC gaming!

4LN – Star Wars or Star Trek?

CB -Star Trek. The Holodeck is way too cool for this world.

4LN – Finally, if you could own any movie prop, what would it be?

CB – Gotta go with the Deadpool movie mask. Animated eyes and all.

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4001 A.D. #4 CCL Variant

 

I’d like to personally thank Chance for taking the time to chat with us.  You can find his Action Figure variants here!

4LN Video Podcast – Episode 1: Warcraft, E3, and Favorite New Comics

Welcome to the first ever 4LN Video Podcast! This is something we’ve wanted to do for a long time, and after getting our feet wet with a couple of unboxing videos we decided it was time to give it a shot! We brought our good friends Tyler and Dave along to chat about the new Warcraft movie, what we’re looking forward to from E3, and which comics from the past week we really dug! Check it out and enjoy!

 

(Editor’s Note: This podcast was recorded on Sunday, June 12th, so make sure to check out our E3 coverage from the past couple of days here and here.)

The Valiant Summit 2016

From Valiant Comics:

As revealed today during the #ValiantSummit 2016 event live from New York City’s renowned UCB Theatre, Valiant Entertainment is proud to announce “THE FUTURE OF VALIANT” – an all-new wave of ongoing series, prestige format projects and standalone events from a star-studded roster of some of comics’ most visionary talents. Beginning in July with the first, much-demanded ongoing series for the breakout hero of the year, FAITH, “THE FUTURE OF VALIANT” will extend throughout 2016 with a total of seven epic series – each introducing an innovative array of new concepts and characters…and firmly establishing Valiant’s place as the premier publisher of creative storytelling in comics today:
  • FAITH #1 by Jody Houser, Pere Perez & Marguerite Sauvage in July
  • GENERATION ZERO #1 by Fred Van Lente & Francis Portela in August
  • BRITANNIA #1 (of 4) by Peter Milligan & Juan Jose Ryp in September
  • BLOODSHOT U.S.A. #1 (of 4) by Jeff Lemire & Doug Braithwaite in October
  • HARBINGER RENEGADES #1 by Rafer Roberts & Darick Roberston in November
  • SAVAGE #1 (of 4) by B. Clay Moore, Clayton Henry & Lewis LaRosa in November
  • DIVINITY III: STALINVERSE #1 (of 4) by Matt Kindt & Trevor Hairsine in December

“With ‘THE FUTURE OF VALIANT,’ Valiant is entering an ambitious new phase – one that will challenge not only the size and scale of the stories we choose to tell, but even the very notion of what a Valiant comic can be,” said Valiant CEO & Chief Creative Officer Dinesh Shamdasani. “In just a short time, Valiant has established itself as the industry’s best reviewed publisher and a creative force to be reckoned with. Now, with ‘THE FUTURE OF VALIANT,’ we’re taking the mission of creating the best comics possible even further, and expanding with astonishing new concepts, a bold line-up of new characters, and one of the most talented rosters of creative talent working anywhere today.”

“Within the past year alone, Valiant has made unprecedented strides by bringing some of comics’ most celebrated characters to the fore. But DIVINITY and FAITH were just the first salvos,” said Valiant Editor-in-Chief Warren Simons. “In ‘THE FUTURE OF VALIANT,’ we’re about to witness the next great Valiant heroes of tomorrow come roaring out of the gate with GENERATION ZERO, BRITANNIA, and SAVAGE. And we haven’t even revealed the full extent of what’s coming for BLOODSHOT U.S.A. and HARBINGER RENEGADES, let alone the universe of new ideas that is DIVINITY III: STALINVERSE… For new fans or old, this is a phenomenal time to find out why Valiant has succeeded in building the most acclaimed and accessible line of comics on the shelves.”

Rewatch all of “THE FUTURE OF VALIANT” announcements on Twitch HERE with an exclusive live stream of today’s #ValiantSummit 2016 event, or find complete details on each series individually below:

FAITH #1
Written by JODY HOUSER
Art by PERE PEREZ and MARGUERITE SAUVAGE
Cover by KEVIN WADA
ONGOING SERIES | BEGINNING JULY 2016

AN ALL-NEW ONGOING SERIES! The high-flying hero that captured the imagination of the world is back with a colossal new comics milestone!In a city under siege by robots, aliens, monsters and even worse… celebrities, there is only one woman the people of Los Angeles can count on: the stratospheric superhero called Faith! Aspiring reporter by day and dedicated crime-fighter by night, Faith has tackled every obstacle in her path with confidence – like those crushing deadlines at work, the long-distance boyfriend half a world away, and the missing back issues that plague her comics collection! But, unbeknownst to her, Faith is about to collide with the one force she never saw coming: an up-and-coming super-villain bent on snuffing her out once and for all! But who is lurking behind the mask of her new foe…and could they just be the one person capable of rendering Faith powerless?

Jump on board now to find out why Valiant’s one-of-a-kind hero is inspiring a whole new generation! Be here as FAITH moves from her sold-out mini-series…and into the history-making debut of her first-ever ongoing series!

GENERATION ZERO #1
Written by FRED VAN LENTE
Art by FRANCIS PORTELA
Cover by STEPHEN MOONEY
ONGOING SERIES | BEGINNING AUGUST 2016

Because you demanded it! Exploding out of the pages of HARBINGER WARS comes AN ALL-NEW ONGOING SERIES starring GENERATION ZERO from New York Times best-selling writer Fred Van Lente (IVAR, TIMEWALKER) and blockbuster artist Francis Portela (FAITH)!If you have a problem… If your parents won’t help… And if your cause is worthy… Log onto network #ZERO…because Generation Zero is listening.

Years ago, the children of the experimental strike team known as Generation Zero were taken from their families by Project Rising Spirit, a private weapons contractor, and raised to be psychic soldiers. After years of taking orders, they have fought for and won their freedom. Now, the world’s most wanted teenagers have pledged to protect each other tooth and claw, while using their extraordinary abilities to right wrongs for a generation without a future… To fight for kids, just like them.

One of those kids is Keisha Sherman, whose boyfriend just turned up dead after a suspicious car crash in Rook, Michigan – a newly booming tech town that sprang from rags to super-riches seemingly overnight. When Keisha makes a desperate plea into her webcam, the local high school suddenly finds itself with several unusual new students… But as word of Generation Zero’s presence spreads rapidly through the halls, this volatile band of teenage upstarts is about to discover that they’re far from the most extraordinary thing lurking behind Rook’s stainless-steel facade..


BRITANNIA #1 (of 4)
Written by PETER MILLIGAN
Art by JUAN JOSE RYP
Cover by CARY NORD
PRESTIGE FORMAT LIMITED SERIES | BEGINNING SEPTEMBER 2016

On the fringes of civilization, the world’s first detective is about to make an unholy discovery…Ruled by the Fates. Manipulated by the Gods. Commanded by Caesar. In the year 65 A.D., one’s destiny was not his own. At the height of Nero’s reign, a veteran of Rome’s imperial war machine has been dispatched to the farthest reaches of the colonies to investigate unnatural happenings… In the remote outpost of Britannia, Antonius Axia – the First Detective – will become Rome’s only hope to reassert control over the empire’s most barbaric frontier…and keep the monsters that bridge the line between myth and mystery at bay…

From comics mastermind Peter Milligan (X-Statix, Shade the Changing Man) and incendiary artist Juan Jose Ryp (NINJAK, Clone) comes a psychological journey into terror, temptation, and bloodshed – presented in an all-new prestige format limited series!

BLOODSHOT U.S.A. #1 (of 4)
Written by JEFF LEMIRE
Art by DOUG BRAITHWAITE
Cover by KANO
STANDALONE EVENT SERIES | BEGINNING OCTOBER 2016

In Bloodshot we trust! Project Rising Spirit – America’s greatest exporter of classified weapons technology – has achieved a breakthrough: a contagious, airborne nanite dispersion prototype that can turn the population of any city into an army of indestructible soldiers. A doomsday virus capable of destroying an enemy nation from the inside out. A machine-made pathogen that can completely rewrite human physiology…and hardcode every man, woman, and child with the same cutting-edge technology that created their greatest weapon: Bloodshot.

But now…Project Rising Spirit’s top-secret contagion has been released onto the streets of America’s greatest metropolis: New York City. As mayhem engulfs Manhattan, Bloodshot must lead the most dangerous invasion ever waged on American soil and keep a runaway pandemic from toppling armies and governments…and threatening to destroy humanity itself.

In the tradition of THE VALIANT, the Big Apple turns blood red in pivotal new standalone comics event from New York Times best-selling writer Jeff Lemire (BLOODSHOT REBORN, Extraordinary X-Men) and superstar artist Doug Braithwaite (ARMOR HUNTERS, Justice)!

HARBINGER RENEGADES #1
Written by RAFER ROBERTS
Art & Cover by DARICK ROBERTSON
ONGOING SERIES | BEGINNING NOVEMBER 2016

Anyone you know could become a psionically powered “harbinger” with the potential to reshape the course of human history. Your neighbor. Your boss. Your best friend. Your kids. Six months ago, a secret team of renegade whistleblowers leaked the existence of these extraordinarily dangerous individuals to a stunned world. Today, all across the country, crude, DIY psiot activation attempts have left hundreds brain damaged…or worse. The emergence of a new psiot in a community often leads to riots and mass violence. Gun sales are through the roof.

America is terrified of what could happen next.

With this revolutionary upheaval now in motion, Kris Hathaway, John “Torque” Torkelson, Faith “Zephyr” Herbert, and Peter Stanchek are about to discover their calling. Together, the HARBINGER RENEGADES are moving from town to town, building their ranks, and subverting authority one mind at a time…and setting out to prove once and for all that behind their power, there has always been a purpose.

This November, the most fearless superteam in comics is going underground for AN ALL-NEW ONGOING SERIES from rising star Rafer Roberts (A&A: THE ADVENTURES OF ARCHER & ARMSTRONG) and superstar artist Darick Robertson (Happy!, The Boys)!

SAVAGE #1 (of 4)
Written by B. CLAY MOORE
Art by CLAYTON HENRY and LEWIS LAROSA
Cover by LEWIS LAROSA
PRESTIGE FORMAT LIMITED SERIES | BEGINNING NOVEMBER 2016

Fifteen years ago, the world’s most famous soccer star and his former supermodel wife – pregnant with their unborn child – disappeared without a trace. The world believes they are dead… But, in reality, their private jet crash-landed on a mysterious, unknown island ruled by by prehistoric creatures from another time…This is the story of how they lost their humanity.

This November, acclaimed writer B. Clay Moore (Hawaiian Dick) and explosive artists Clayton Henry (HARBINGER WARS) and Lewis LaRosa (BLOODSHOT REBORN) present a relentless epic of survival in a cold-blooded land ruled by instinct alone as SAVAGE makes his brutal entrance into the Valiant Universe!


DIVINITY III: STALINVERSE #1 (of 4)
Written by MATT KINDT
Art by TREVOR HAIRSINE
Cover by JELENA KEVIC-DJURDJEVIC
PRESTIGE FORMAT LIMITED SERIES | BEGINNING DECEMBER 2016
Earth has a new god. The world you know is gone. Welcome to the Stalinverse, comrade.
So there you have it folks! All the great new Valiant series’ to get excited about through the end of the year and beyond! Most of these series were teased in the Valiant 2016 Free Comic Book Day preview comic, but there are two significant absences… Psi-Lords, and Shadowman. Both were also teased with full page ads in the FCBD issue but were not mentioned during the summit so I guess we’ll just have to keep a lookout for info on those in the future. There’s still much to be enthused about with what was announced though, so let us know in the comments below which newly announced Valiant series you’re most excited about! ¡Viva la Valiant!