X-O Manowar: Valiant's Biggest Series Launch of All Time
X-O MANOWAR (2017) Volume 1: Soldier
X-O Manowar Volume 1: Soldier, Valiant's biggest series launch of all time, hits shops on July 26th, 2017 with issue one releasing March 2017. X-O Manowar will be the spine of the Valiant Universe in 2017 and beyond, as the events of that series will affect and influence the rest of Valiant's publishing line. The series will be written by Matt Kindt, who will be joined by an all-star roster of artists including Tomas Giorello, Doug Braithwaite, Clayton Crain, Ryan Bodenheim, and Mico Suayan. The story will begin with Aric of Dacia on a foreign planet, trying his best to avoid warfare and any relationship with the X-O Manowar armor. However, he is quickly conscripted into an alien army and forced to battle in a planet-spanning war. The series will be broken into three-issue that will chronicle X-O Manowar's rise from SOLDIER to GENERAL to EMPEROR to VISIGOTH, with a different artist tackling each arc.
In anticipation for this launch and for the events leading up to it, make sure to stock up on these X-O Manowar titles:
|X-O Manowar Classic Omnibus Volume 1
|X-O Manowar Deluxe Edition Book 2
|X-O Manowar Deluxe Edition Book 3
|X-O Manowar Deluxe Edition Book 4
Check out this excusive interview with Valiant Publisher Fred Pierce, Valiant Director of Sales Atom! Freeman, and Valiant VP of Marketing and Communications Hunter Gorinson.
Valiant is hailing X-O Manowar as one of their biggest launches ever. What makes this launch so important to Valiant, and how are you making it one of your biggest ever?
FRED PIERCE (FP): X-O Manowar is arguably our most iconic character, and has always served as the bedrock of our universe. So, when we decided it was time to launch his new series this spring, we knew that we had to make it a launch that was worthy of the character’s caliber and importance to the greater Valiant Universe. When this book launches, we want retailers and fans to know that this is a title no reader can miss.
HUNTER GORINSON (HG): It’s also worth noting that we’re launching this series with the year’s worth of stories fully mapped out. We’ve already announced the arc breakdown for the first 13 issues, and you’ll soon see why we feel confident in calling this the ultimate X-O Manowar story ever told. Series writer Matt Kindt is leading a truly blockbuster roster of artists – including Tomas Giorello, Dough Braithwaite, Clayton Henry, Ryan Bodenheim, and Mico Suayan – to chart Aric’s rise from solider to general to emperor of a new and exotically beautiful, but also war-torn and brutal, alien planet. This series is at the heart of Valiant’s plans for 2017 and beyond, so make mistake: X-O Manowar is the most important book Valiant will be publishing in the New Year.
Furthermore, we’ve also heard that X-O Manowar will serve as a launch pad for the rest of Valiant’s publishing plans from March 2017 and beyond. How will this series, and its publishing strategy, influence the rest of Valiant?
FP: X-O MANOWAR #1 will be our first launch of the year, and we’re hoping it will serve as a template for some of our other big launches, including the recently announced BLOODSHOT SALVATION series from Jeff Lemire. With X-O MANOWAR, we plan to launch new titles with an extensive plan mapped out and announced from the beginning. By doing this, we’re letting retailers know that we have a solid plan for our titles. They all have a lasting quality and strength every bit as potent as the launch issues.
What’s the premise of this new X-O Manowar series? Where will we find the character at the beginning of this story?
HG: The series begins with Aric of Dacia living on a new world, trying to live a peaceful life free from conflict and estranged from the armor that has brought him so much strife. Of course, that peace doesn’t last very long. When one of the planet’s armies conscripts him into a war he wants no part of, Aric will be forced to don the armor once more and embrace his inner warrior. From there, we’ll see him rise from slowly rise through the ranks, eventually conquering his entire adopted world and the numerous warring factions that tore it apart. But as he charts his course from the trenches to the corridors of power, he’s going to find himself growing more hardened and more brutal – a true man of war.
This series is going to have five of your best-known artist working simultaneously on the first year of stories. How will these artists contribute to the series, and how is writer Matt Kindt preparing for this exciting undertaking?
FP: We’re incredibly lucky to have some of the best artistic talents in the industry working at Valiant, so it only made sense that we let them all try their hand at X-O MANOWAR. Each artist will tackle a different arc of Matt’s story and phase of Aric’s progression. Tomas Giorello will open the series with “Soldier,” followed by Doug Braithwaite on “General.” Then, Clayton Crain will illustrate the “Emperor” arc, followed by Ryan Bodenheim who will draw a one-issue bridge; then Mico Suayan will draw “Visigoth.”
HG: As we mentioned before, Matt Kindt came to us with the first full year of X-O MANOWAR entirely mapped out. This has given us the ability to get all of them working simultaneously across the first four arcs. That’s the only way to ensure that we get truly stunning, top-tier artwork on every issue, and guarantee the series will hit stands on a consistent monthly schedule. X-O MANOWAR is going to tell a monumental story that will form the backbone of where the Valiant Universe is headed over the coming year. This is our flagship character and, as always, this series is built to be a perfect introduction to the wider Valiant line. Each issue should be statement of quality and we’re setting out to exceed readers’ expectations each and every month.
It was also recently revealed that your Free Comic Book Day 2017 Gold-Level title is anchored on X-O Manowar with a brand-new prelude story to the series. What can you tell us about this prelude, and the other Valiant surprises you have in store for Free Comic Book Day 2017?
FP: We’re releasing the Gold-Level X-O MANOWAR FCBD SPECIAL for Free Comic Book Day 2017, and it’s going to have an entirely new prelude story to X-O MANOWAR written by Matt Kindt himself. We also recently announced that we’ll be revealing more secrets to BLOODSHOT SALVATION in another all-new story written by Jeff Lemire, which will introduce a brand-new character into the Valiant Universe. We’ve never had a Free Comic Book Day title filled with this much original content before, so we think fans will be incredibly excited by all of the can’t-miss surprises and developments that the X-O MANOWAR FCBD SPECIAL will have in store.
Atom! Freeman (AF): Exactly. We've heard from fans and retailers alike that what they wanted most from our Free Comic Book Day offerings are new stories, not reprinted material. So, we’re excited to task our most talented creators with building new stories for some of our most exciting stories this year.
Valiant is also introducing a special edition set of the series’ first three issues, which will be available to those who preorder the entire set by January 26. Could you break down what’s in these special editions, and why they’re worth preording now?
FP: For X-O MANOWAR, we wanted to find a way to reward readers who go into their shops in advance and pre-order the Valiant titles. The X-O MANOWAR #1-3 PRE-ORDER EDITIONS, are that reward. They should really incentivize readers to order the first three issues of the series at once. These three issues will only be available as a pre-order bundle, which retailers must order by the first issue’s initial on-sale date of January 26th. The retailers and fans that do pre-order all three issues, however, will be rewarded with massively expanded editions of the series’ first three issues. Each Pre-Order Edition will clock in at 48 pages each, and will have loads of bonus content and trade paperback-style extras, including creator commentary, behind-the-scenes looks at the book’s creation, and a special cover by X-O MANOWAR interior artist Tomas Giorello. It’s certainly something that fans and collectors will not want to miss out on.
AF: Since our launch in 2012, we've always put a priority on motivating fans to make the retailer's job easier. Nothing does that quite like preordering. So, we are adding to our list of innovations with the Preorder Edition of X-O Manowar #1 - #3. We are working with both ComicSuite and MOBY to make sure that our retailer partners with POS systems are able to take those orders. Retailers and fans alike need to make sure that they don't miss the deadline to order these unique versions of the biggest Valiant book ever. All three issues will only be available to order before the initial order date on #1, January 26th. After that, no more copies will be made available, and subsequent expanded issues will not be offered in later solicitations.
Tell us a little about the new variant program that Valiant is unfolding with X-O Manowar. What will the cover lineup look like throughout this series, and how can retailers obtain them for their stores?
AF: The first thirteen issues of X-O MANOWAR will have a consistent cover lineup that will look like this: All A shelf covers will be by Lewis LaRosa, with a B shelf cover that, for each arc, will have the same high profile artist illustrating three standalone covers. For example, Kenneth Rocafort is doing the B covers for #1, #2, and #3. We’ll also have a three-part, interconnecting cover for each art; the first of which will be done by the incomparable Mico Suayan. Finally, each issue will get a high-end incentive cover illustrated by the industry’s best and brightest. We’re starting with an outstanding cover by J.G. Jones for issue #1, which should give you an idea of the bar we’re setting here.
FP: Right. And this lineup was designed in a way that encourages fans and retailers to enjoy the collecting experience, but not overburden them. Our goal here is to clarify how variants are approached in the industry by giving as much information to collectors as possible, well ahead of time, so that they can plan accordingly.
On that note, X-O Manowar #1 is going to have a 1:500 variant printed on brushed metal. What’s the story behind this cover, and how can retailers get a copy?
FP: We wanted to put a significant amount of “weight” behind this launch, and have it reach as many fans and retailers as possible. A metal cover-which may be one of our most innovative ideas yet—is certainly a big step in achieving that. Finding a way to engineer this was a considerable feat, filled with many phone calls to many printing plants to find out just how you can print a comic book cover on a sheet of metal. Ultimately, we were able to find the technology that would allow something as crazy as a metal cover to actually work. The Valiant staff keeps coming over to see the sample copies I have in my office, so I think readers will be similarly blown away by it.
AF: It’s true... this is definitely one of our more inspired ideas. But, this cover is going to be extremely rare, and is limited to one per store. Only one copy can be ordered by retailers who place a qualifying order of 500 copies or more of X-O MANOWAR #1. If you need more information on how to qualify for the X-O MANOWAR #1 Brushed Metal Variant Cover, just head to the Diamond Retailer Site under order code: JAN172118.
Is there anything else that retailers should know about X-O Manowar?
HG: The events of X-O MANOWAR are going to have a colossal impact on the Valiant Universe going forward. Just because Aric’s new adventurers are taking place off world doesn’t mean they won’t have a major impact on other heroes on Earth or that the character’s absence won’t be felt. He’s our most powerful hero and his absence does raise a lot of questions – eagle-eyed readers have already seen other character question his whereabouts in titles like BLOODSHOT U.S.A. So, without a doubt, this series marks a major turning point not just for the character, but the entire universe, and X-O MANOWAR is going to feature some of the biggest moments and events in Valiant’s history thus far.
FP: I couldn’t agree more. And with 2017 marking the 25th anniversary of X-O Manowar, you can bet that we’ll have even more surprises coming right around the corner.