Official Description: As New York's own Valiant Entertainment steamrolls into yet another super-summer, find out what the future holds for their power-packed VALIANT FIRST line-up of new series – including RAI, ARMOR HUNTERS, THE DELINQUENTS, THE DEATH-DEFYING DR. MIRAGE, and more – right here! Join an all-star panel of Valiant creators and staff, including Fred Van Lente (The Delinquents, Archer & Armstrong), Joe Harris (Armor Hunters: Bloodshot), Executive Editor Warren Simons, and Chief Creative Officer Dinesh Shamdasani, for an exclusive round of news, artwork, and announcements – only at Special Edition: NYC!
Valiant Marketing Director Hunter Gorinson started the panel with introductions: Alejandro Arbona - assoc. editor, Robert Gill, Joe Harris, Josh, Warren Simons, and Dinesh Shamdasani.
If you head to Oren's Daily Roast in NYC, you can get an X-O Manowar Green Tea Blast - and with any Valiant Comic in your hand, you get 10% off. Shamdasani said it's colored off the blast of X-O's armor. They've put Terry Dodson art up in there stores, and if you buy one of these, you get an X-O jacket for your cup, which then gets you a free comic book and 10% off at Midtown Comics.
Next up, the announcement that Madefire and Valiant have teamed up to add some limited motion and sound effects/soundtrack to their comics. It's a new way of viewing a comic book, meant to present it in more cinematic fashion, that has been used with other publishers. The room applaused to the preview of Unity #1 that was shown as a demo.
The first issue of Armor Hunters has sold out at Diamond as of Friday, only two days after sale, which is "much faster than [they] anticipated," Gorinson said. A second printing will come out alongside #2 on July 9, 2014.
Simons talked about the series, explaining that X-O Manowar is actually an alien armor on a human host named Aric. The first issue reveals that the armor might actually be very dangerous for its host - as well as the planet that host inhabits. The end of the first issue spells "very bad news" for a North American City, and #2 will deal with the fallout right away.
If you go to valiantuniverse.com/armorhunters and enter your name, you'll get your own custom Armor Hunter name and design, something they did just for fun.
Next up was Armor Hunters: Bloodshot, a mini-series taking place alongside the main story. Writer Joe Harris said it all takes place in the facility containing Malgam, another former Armor host. "It's pretty hardcore for a book that's already killed its main character many times in so many ways," said the editor of the series.
Armor Hunters: Harbinger with art by Robert Gill and Romulo Farjardo features the kids from Generation Zero, who try to help the people of the aforementioned North American city that has a disaster at the end of the first issue of the main series. Gill said he's having "a lot of fun drawing these, with a million little things he has to draw and design." There's a giant robot and a million tiny robots he's having to draw each issue.
Harbinger #25 is an anniversary special featuring the Renegades, Harada, everything that has been built up so far. Simons said that it blows up everything that's come so far in the first two years of the book, and also includes special back-up stories by Justin Jordan, Lucy Knisley, Vivek Tiwary, and more. "It's a jam packed issue. One of the things Joshua Dysart and I talk about a lot is where the book goes after this."
Right after #25 is Harbinger: Omegas, a three-issue mini-series that takes place and covers what happens after Harada and Peter have their big battle and are revealed to the public. The story will go back and forth between the two, and will take the place of the ongoing for that time. "Part of the renegades' mission was to bring Harada down," said Simons, "but what they've done will not have good repercussions for the universe." Arbona said the series has "explored each point of view in very interesting ways."
Archer and Armstrong #25 features a main story by Fred Van Lente and Clayton Henry (the original creative team), and puts the characters back to where they were in issue #1. There are also backup stories by many "surprise guests," and a (if you're of age) A&A drinking game in the issue that encourages a re-read (but read responsibly, folks).
Karl Bollers is stepping in for a one-shot issue with A&A #24, which features a secret origin story for Mary Maria. The story "involves an assassination mission that reveals secrets about her past," Johns teased.
Q2: The Return of Quantum and Woody is a five issue series coming form Christopher Priest and M.D. Bright and launches in October. Arbona said "this is hugely exciting. We announced this last year and then were pretty quiet about it. But Bright has been turning in pages at a steady clip and it's almost done. The story begins with them separated for over a decade, when Woody sees Quantum on the news back in age, with a new teenage sidekick. Woody goes to confront his old partner and former best friend. There is also a new Quantum, being coached and mentored by Eric." The story is in the original continuity of the series, by its creators.
There is also an Omnibus that includes "the entire run and every possible short story, piece of extra material." It's more than 600 pages long, coming in October. This is the first of more Omnibi "coming down the pike." It comes out the same day as Q2 #1.
The Delinquents features the new-continuity Quantum and Woody and Archer & Armstrong teaming up, following an "ass map," as written by James Asmus and Fred Van Lente and drawn by Kano. The series is meant to be an irreverent adventure that directly follows Quantum and Woody #12, which just went to the printer on Friday. "Not to spoil too much, but they'll become heroes for cash," Arbona teased.
There will be a series of variant covers that, put together, is a fully-playable board game themed around the story. "It's four covers long, a space for every state, and in that space is something terrible about your favorite state," Johns said. There will also be supplemental material in the books adding more tokens for different characters in the Valiant Universe. Each character will have special abilities in the game.
The Death-Defying Doctor Mirage by Jen Van Meter and Roberto De la Torre launches in September as a five-issue mini-series.
The series features the new female Dr. Mirage introduced in Shadowman, and Arbona said there are three pages of the first issue that have choked him up everytime he has read them, from script to inks to the finished art. "No prior knowledge needed," though, they promised.
Rai is a book "we're incredibly proud of," Gorinson said. The book, by Matt Kindt and Clayton Crain, takes place in Japan in the year 4001. Simons said "the stuff hitting the pages is absolutely visionary." Because they believe in the team and Crain's digital painted artwork, they have decided to keep the creative team in-tact after the first arc, which ends in August. There will be a three-month hiatus, and the series will return as Rai #5 in December 2014. They'll then publish 5-8 monthly as well. There will be "something with Rai" for the period in-between, though. More on that later.
Also in October, Valiant is once again doing their One Dollar Debuts, re-releasing A&A #1, Harbinger #1, Q&W #1, Rai #1, Unity #1, X-O Manowar #1, and the Valiant Universe Handbook.
The panel went into fan Q&A.
"Any plans for Shadowman after End Times?" Arbona teased, "After you read #3, your questions will change. I absolutely guarantee you have no idea where this story is going. Save your questions for after that issue."
The Madefire releases are $3.99, and right now they plan to just do Unity 1-5, but may do more after that.
Jim Califiore is doing a special variant cover for Archer & Armstrong #25.
"There are exciting developments for The Goat in Quantum and Woody #12," Arbona promised.
Gin-Gr the giant death robot will get a talking cover for Armor Hunters #4. The robot will also have its own origin story as a back-up in Unity #10 which Simons says "is not to be missed."
"There are things going on there," Shamdasani teased about some Valiant properties going to film and TV, but nothing he could talk about directly yet. "I know Bloodshot has leaked out, being directed by Matthew Vaughan, though."
Speaking of Bloodshot, the series will resume with #24 in October, after the Armor Hunters-themed mini-series, Valiant confirmed.
Could Barry Windsor-Smith come back to Valiant? "We'd be honored, and he's welcome any time," said Simons.