All of us have holiday traditions: some of us watch A Charlie Brown Christmas each year, some of politely ask the three major shared comics universes (Marvel, DC, Valiant) to make some changes to their comic lines to please our interests. Wanna guess which one we are doing today?
First up this year is Valiant, which continues to grow and mature each and every year. If you’ve got any suggestions, let us know in the comments.
So, without any further ado:
Even more inter-connectivity!
Some of the best Valiant books have been isolated from the rest of the Valiant universe. My personal favorite, “Britannia” practically exists in its own continuity. Its awesome that Valiant is taking risks on books other than traditional superhero fare, but it would be cool if all the books felt a bit more connected. Have an Anni-Padda brother show up, or reference other historical events from other series. We don’t need more full crossovers, but some cameos and references would go a long way to making the universe feel shared.
More characters getting ongoings
Doctor Mirage is one of the coolest Valiant characters. So is Livewire. Punk Mambo has a ton of potential. As of yet, none of them have gotten their own ongoing series. Ninjak and Eternal Warrior are rebooted and retooled annually, but Valiant has built up an amazing pantheon of heroes. With the right push, any of them could become the next big thing.
Encyclopedia of the Valiant Universe
I love comic book handbooks, and Valiant has one of the most fascinating and diverse superhero worlds ever. It gets tricky to explain sometimes, so a guidebook would be handy and fun. Right now, I have to rely on the Valiant tabletop RPG (by Catalyst Game Labs) which is totally awesome, but Valiant has come far enough that its time we had an official encyclopedia. Along with characters and teams, I’d love to see the official timeline, and all the crazy locations and magical artifacts they have floating around out there.
More Diversity on, and especially behind, the page
Valiant, I really like you, but, you’re kinda boring. It’s all a little dude heavy. The evolution to original Wildstorm’s view of super heroes you may be, but you’ve yet to come even close to the diversity of characters on the page. I can count on a single hand the amount of LGBTQ characters, with the numbers for other minorities being better if in a similar vein. As a publisher unburdened by 50+ years of a fanbase or continuity, why play by those rules?
You purposefully publish a small number of books, which means space is limited. So why is your line dominated by Matt Kindt and Jeff Lemire? They are both excellent writers, but it also helps to close off spots that could be used to find new talent. You helped make Jody Houser with “Faith,” go find more writes like her. It’ll help with the above problem immensely.
Use Your Size to Experiment
You keep things small, and that’s smart. However, you tend to run things like traditional comic publisher focusing on single issues before collecting them in trades. That’s not where the market is growing, as a small company experimenting and trying to exploit new markets is a must. So, try new things. You put out a lot of miniseries, do they all need to be published piecemeal? Why not put out a standalone “X-O Manowar” graphic novel. You aren’t averse to doing a series of one shots, why not make them graphic novellas and evergreen?
Not Everything Has to be Told in 4 Issues
Not every story can be told, well, in 4 issues. Sometimes 5 is what you need, especially when sticking within normal single-issue page length. Most recently with “Rapture” my biggest take away was that it would’ve been better if it had an extra issue. If you’re going to focus on mini-series, why are they the same length as a normal arc in one of your ongoing titles?
There are a healthy number of Valiant characters who deal in the dark arts of some kind, and we’ve seen series/guest spots from lots of them lately: Doctor Mirage, Shadowman, etc. Why not put together a team of these characters, and build up that corner of the Valiant Universe a little more? While it is fun to have all the books intersect, give 10-12 issue to a team that isn’t interested at all in space or time travel, and then let them pop up elsewhere/welcome guests to their own book.Continued below
Let Dysart Do His Thing
No disrespect to anyone else who has touched the “Harbinger” characters since Joshua Dysart took a sabbatical a couple of years ago, but none of them have created stories that felt remotely like what he was doing with the book. Part of this is just pure preference on my part, but I think Dysart’s work has been the best Valiant has offered since its relaunch, and so I want more of it. Now, I know that Dysart has been taking time to do other things, but hopefully he’ll be ready in 2018 to jump back in and close out one of the most underrated runs in the last 20 years of comics.