Valiant Reworks Website, Posts Free Comics (If You Can Find Them)
I’m not convinced that “we’ve redone our website” is really news, but the ValiantEntertainment.com redesign has a few features that all comic publisher sites should consider. Some of them are basic, so it’s surprising that I need to point them out, but as a member of the press, sometimes I give up on covering something because I can’t find a suitable image of a cover or the details of a creative team on the official website. Valiant is addressing these concerns by providing:
A complete list of their publications. Now, doing this for the last five years, since Valiant relaunched its comics in 2012, is a lot easier than the last 75 or so, but as a newer publisher, giving fans, potential readers, and other interested parties “a complete breakdown of every comic book, trade paperback, deluxe edition hardcover, and omnibus [with] a distinct synopsis, complete cover gallery, interior page preview, and a link to find your local comic shop” makes for a comprehensive resource.
An archive of all their news and announcements — which most often, means previews of upcoming titles, solicitations, and reprint mentions.
A full release calendar along with dates of appearances and events, as well as a merchandise store.
And a bit of a mixed message:
Not sure where to jump into the adventures of your favorite heroes? For the first time online, fans can now browse a selection of official Valiant reading orders and suggested starting points for each of its biggest series!
On the one hand, more reference is great — particularly if it’s kept up. (The biggest problem with large information initiatives like this is having confidence that the company has thought about maintenance, so all these great resources are still valuable and updated six months from now.) On the other, a five-year-old company already has so many crossovers and events and confusing timelines that this is needed? That’s the kind of thing that drove so many away from the big two American corporate superhero publishers that Valiant’s trying to compete with.
Finally, the reason I’m talking about this update —
Free comics and jumping-on points
For a limited time, Valiant is releasing 12 of its most acclaimed and fan-favorite debut issues and jumping-on points online exclusively at ValiantEntertainment.com!
ARCHER & ARMSTRONG (2012) #1
Written by Fred Van Lente; Art by Clayton Henry
Continued in ARCHER & ARMSTRONG VOL. 1: THE MICHELANGELO CODE TPB
BLOODSHOT (2012) #1
Written by Duane Swierczynski; Art by Manuel Garcia & Arturo Lozzi
Continued in BLOODSHOT VOL. 1: SETTING THE WORLD ON FIRE TPB
BLOODSHOT REBORN #1
Written by Jeff Lemire; Art by Mico Suayan
Continued in BLOODSHOT REBORN VOL. 1: COLORADO TPB
THE DEATH-DEFYING DR. MIRAGE #1
Written by Jen Van Meter; Art by Roberto de la Torre
Continued in THE DEATH-DEFYING DR. MIRAGE TPB
Written by Matt Kindt; Art by Trevor Hairsine
Continued in DIVINITY TPB
FAITH (LIMITED SERIES) #1
Written by Jody Houser; Art by Francis Portela
Continued in FAITH VOL. 1: HOLLYWOOD & VINE TPB
HARBINGER (2012) #1
Written by Joshua Dysart; Art by Khari Evans
Continued in HARBINGER VOL. 1: OMEGA RISING TPB
HARBINGER RENEGADE #1
Written by Rafer Roberts; Art by Darick Robertson, Juan Jose Ryp, and Raul Allen
Continued in HARBINGER RENEGADE VOL. 1: THE JUDGMENT OF SOLOMON TPB
Written by Matt Kindt; Art by Clay Mann and Butch Guice
Continued in NINJAK VOL. 1: WEAPONEER TPB
QUANTUM AND WOODY (2013) #1
Written by James Asmus; Art by Tom Fowler
Continued in QUANTUM AND WOODY VOL. 1: THE WORLD’S WORST SUPERHERO TEAM TPB
THE VALIANT #1
Written by Jeff Lemire and Matt Kindt; Art by Paolo Rivera
Continued in THE VALIANT TPB
X-O MANOWAR (2012) #1
Written by Robert Venditti; Art by Cary Nord
Continued in X-O MANOWAR VOL. 1: BY THE SWORD TPB
Now sure, as you can see from the text, these free tastes are designed to drive you into your local bookstore or library to find out what happens, since no #1 is a complete story anymore. But I like telling readers about free comics. However, after it took me five minutes of poking around the site with no free comics found, I had to email their Marketing VP (who did a terrific job getting back to me quickly) to find out where they were.
Turns out that you go to the Comics link from the top nav, then to the individual series page you’re interested in. If there’s a free issue available, there’s a “free first issue (PDF)” link near the top. (Strangely, on their Comics page, they have a link titled Free Comic Book Day that goes to nothing. I would think this would be a good place to list them all.) So because I love you, I have linked them directly in the list above.
On the negative side, their responsive design means huge, overwhelming, busy art images on a computer screen. I’m sure it looks better on mobile, which is where all the kids surf, right?