The first top in Valiant Entertainment's 25 year anniversary con tour begins at Emerald City Comic Con 2015, and for their "25 Years of Valiant" panel they had a lot to cover, including.... well, death.
Valiant's Director of Marketing, Communication and Digital Media Hunter Gorinson opened the panel by introducing panelists Jeff Lemire, Matt Kindt, Jen Van Meter, Clayton Henry, Kyle Andrukiewicz, and Dinesh Shamdasani.
Gorinson then moved to discussing The Valiant, a book which had its genesis at 2014's ECCC. Gorinson promises spoilers for The Valiant ahead. He quickly spoiled the death of the Geomancer and the introduction of the new Geomancer, talking about Bloodshot's big moment, becoming human again.
"There's a very good reason we're spoiling this. We didn't just do it because we're evil," said Shamdasani.
"As many of you know, once a year we like to do a big event. The events of The Valiant are going to lead into The Book of Death in July. Dinesh, can you say anything about it?"
"I've already said too much," quipped Shamdasani, promising more info at WonderCon next weekend.
"Bloodshot discovers that even though the nanites are gone from his body, they're not gone, and that kind of kicks off Bloodshot Reborn #1," said Lemire. "I've got 13 issues scripted now, and 25 issues plotted. It's a real big story."
"That's a great entry point into Valiant, Bloodshot Reborn #1," said Gorinson, leading into talking about a new webseries entitled Valiant Origins that will consist of vignettes designed to bring new readers up to speed on the characters. Gorinson showed the first vignette, featuring Bloodshot. The vignettes will come out every two weeks.
Matt Kindt talked about bringing Ninjak into his own book. "I've loved that character since the '90's when he first came out. He's a ninja and a spy. I love that character so much." Kindt told a story about dropping his prized Ninak ring in a public toilet, where he had to retrieve it.
"We're getting glimpses of his childhood, of his origins where he wanted to be a spy. I'm just so sick of origin stories where his parents are killed, and then he goes out and wants to be a spy, so I was able to structure it in such a way that we avoided that trope."
Next, Jen Van Meter talked about The Death-Defying Dr. Mirage. "I love the humor and the sensibility of the comics from the '90's. It was a great comic, something I adored at the time. When Valiant asked me what I wanted to do with Shan in Shadow Man, we didn't know much. We sent her on an Orpheus story, where she has to find the one ghost she can't speak to, her husband."
"I'm excited to get to do more," she said, confirming her ongoing inolvement with the title. The entire art team will return for the next volume, The Death-Defying Dr. Mirage: Second Life.
Attention turned back to Kindt, discussing Divinity. "It's confusing. That first issue is confusing. Only until issue 2, which explains everything."
"I really wanted to do a big, fun cosmic story, but also a small story about this guy, and his life, and what it's like having all the power in the world, and what happens to you with that."
"I had a self-contained story idea, but when I wrote the last page of issue four, I did this thing that could totally set up the next story."
Up next, Clayton Henry talked Ivar, the Timewalker. "When we first started the book, I had to actually design the character. We went back and forth, Fred Van Lente and I had an idea that we wanted to go for, which is a kind of an adventurer, but he wound up being kind of the Hugo Boss model type, which is fine with me."
"I've had to do a ton of reasearch," said Henry, discussing Ivar the Timewalker's centuries spanning setting. "Fred knows eerything about history, and he wants to throw it all in there, and I'm like, 'I have to draw this!'"
James Asmus has joined the panel to talk about Quantum and Woody Must Die. "The guys find themselves with mindgames played on them. If you aren't familiar with the book, we introduce you to their backstory by kind of showing what has actually happened, and what was kind of inceptioned into them."
"What is the deal with the goat and his pregnancy?" asked Gorinson.
"If you don't know, there's a female goat with the brain of their father copied into him. At the end of the first year, it was discovered that the goat was pregnant, and we're gonna find out what he's been impregnated with that will be unleashed upon the world."
Time for audience Q&A.
A fan asked about any upcoming Valiant movies.
Shamdasani recalled the announcement that Valiant has partnered with a Chinese firm to begin adapting cinematic versions of the characters. More announcements will come soon.
Shamdasani joked that Clayton Henry will appear and die in every movie. "If Matt can dig his ring out of the toilet, I can die onscreen,"quipped Henry.
A fan asked about the return of the Renegades, which Gorinson referred to the upcoming FCBD release.
A young woman explained how emotionally moved she was by the character of Faith, whose body type reflects her own, prompting thunderous applause, and leading Shamdasani to explain how the original Valiant creators were always trying to push the boundaries, and find new characters, a tradition that the current team is trying to uphold.
A fan asked about the correlation between the death of Geomancers and the end of great civilazations.
"You've put more thought into it than we have," joked Lemire.
"Are you sure McHenry's dead?" said Shamdasani. "She's inside the goat!" joked Asmus.
A fan asked if there would be more books per month.
"We don't really look at the number of books so much as the quality. We're not capped at 9,"said Shamdasani.