Daniel Kibblesmith Takes On Valiant's Superheroes Before They Were Legends

Valiant is proud to announce that VALIANT HIGH – the FIRST ALL-AGES ESCAPADE from rising star Daniel Kibblesmith (QUANTUM AND WOODY!, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert) and Eisner Award-winning artist Derek Charm (Jughead, Star Wars Adventures) – is coming to comic shops everywhere just in time for summer vacation!

Get ready for your first day of school inside a hilarious reimagining of Valiant's award-winning superhero universe – one where the next world-ending cataclysm will have to wait until after prom night!

Before they became legends, the world's most formidable heroes were roaming the halls at Valiant High – a super-powered preparatory academy where Aric "X-O Manowar" Dacia is a record-setting running back, Colin "Ninjak" King is a debonair foreign exchange student, and Coach Bloodshot is way, way too into dodgeball.

Now, Amanda "Livewire" McKee and her best friend, Faith "Zephyr" Herbert, are taking it all in for the first time at the one high school where power trumps popularity!

You've never seen the heroes of the Valiant Universe quite like this before! Available September 2018, find out firsthand why Valiant's first dose of all-ages adventure is a pitch-perfect entry point for new fans and longtime readers alike.

in the tradition of Archie and DC Super Hero Girls, this side-splitting adventure takes place outside of Valiant's standard continuity…and comes packed with all-new incarnations of virtually every Valiant hero and villain! Daniel Kibblesmith talks to Diamond about the upcoming series and how he worked with these iconic characters in their developmental years. 


ASHLEY KRONSBERG: For new readers to the Valiant Universe, can you tell us about the background of Valiant High? What makes this a great jumping on point for new readers?

DANIEL KIBBLESMITH: One of the great things about the Valiant Universe is that the current incarnation has only been around for like five or six years – so if you’re inclined, you can pretty much catch up from the beginning, which is exactly what I did.

Basically, I wanted any new Valiant reader to have the same experience of discovering the characters that I had, so I took all my favorite characters and relationships from those first couple years of Valiant stories and packaged them as high school archetypes. So, if you like the Valiant High version of Livewire, or Bloodshot, or Faith, you can smoothly move on to their grown-up superhero selves and hopefully instantly recognize them as the same character.

KRONSBERG: What got you involved with the series? How did you construct the younger, still-developing personalities of these characters who have a rich history in the Valiant Universe?

KIBBLESMITH: I’d done some short-form humor stories for Valiant at that point (fake ads in Bloodshot #25, fake G.I. Joe-style PSAs in Unity #25). Then-Valiant editor Tom Brennan emailed me out of the blue to ask if I’d be free to write a teen soap opera story. I replied back in all caps: “LIKE ARCHIE?” I turned out not to be that far off. It was really intuitive to assign everyone to their different high school archetypes because their personalities are so complete; Quantum is the wannabe-hero hall monitor, Woody is the absentee delinquent, Doctor Mirage puts her doctorate to work as a science teacher, Aric’s armor becomes a football uniform. That role assigning was definitely the most fun part of writing Valiant High.

KRONSBERG: Is Valiant High an in-continuity story to the current universe? Can readers expect more high school stories from these characters?

KIBBLESMITH: It’s not in continuity, so hardcore Valiant fans don’t have to worry about where it fits in, and new readers don’t have to worry about being caught up. It’s your classic “high school alternative universe,” as they say in the fanfic communities. We’d love to do more stories in the future if people write in and ask for them! Let us know!

KRONSBERG: What inspirations did you draw on to influence how you wrote the book?

KIBBLESMITH: Certainly, my own angst-filled high school experiences. But I’m also a big fan of other comic book alternate universes. Obvious comparisons are high school ones, like the “X-Men: Evolution” cartoon, which I love, especially baby Nightcrawler. But also, other alternate universes that play the same game of “Under these circumstances, Who would be Who?” So, Marvel’s 1602 was a big influence, too, in terms of mapping personalities onto their comparable archetypes.

KRONSBERG: Was there any character you had the most fun writing? Was there one that posed more difficulties than others?

KIBBLESMITH: I loved writing Doctor Mirage, because, like her, I myself am a tired grown-up, and revisiting all the high school feelings was emotionally exhausting. I loved every second of writing Livewire and Faith’s friendship – same with teenage Ninjak and Peter. Aric was a little tricky because I wanted him to sound vaguely like a foreign exchange student, but to keep it subtle. And I didn’t even bother with Woody, because as a teen he’d probably be too vulgar to be in an all-ages comic.

KRONSBERG: While the high school experience has some universal similarities, what was it like building this experience with superpowered teenagers? What kind of differences and obstacles did this pose for the characters that are unique to this story?

KIBBLESMITH: The differences from reality weren’t really obstacles because they were sort of the entire point ¬¬– to write a super-powered high school story. The high school drama and the superhero drama are working in tandem, and one isn’t an accessory to the other. So, everything is building to the homecoming dance, while everything is building to the final villain battle and – surprise! They’re the same thing. That’s one of the things superhero comics do best, making metaphors literal, or visual, and intertwining the text and subtext to get all meta.

KRONSBERG: Finally, who is your favorite Valiant character and why?

KIBBLESMITH: GIN-GR from Unity (and – spoiler – Valiant High). Because she’s a big purple robot with a smiley face who people live inside, and sometimes she blows up cities, but afterwards she’s sorry.

“✮✮✮✮✮... This fun book is full of win. A great choice for all ages…" – All-Comic

“Utterly fun and action-packed.” – io9

"✮✮✮✮½... A new and unique take on the Valiant Universe and characters… Fresh and entertaining.” – Graphic Policy

“A fun, light-hearted take on the Valiant Universe… There’s a lot of personality in these pages.” – The A.V. Club

“✮✮✮✮... A perfect read for any Valiant comics fan who wants to have a good time.” – Geeked Out Nation


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