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Christmas Comics Cavalcade: X-O Manowar #26 (Valiant Comics)

Posted in christmas comics with tags , , , , , , , on December 14, 2013 by Christopher Pearce

ChristmasComicCavalcade

This week on the Christmas Comics Cavalcade, we’re looking at X-O Manowar #26, written by Rob Johnson and Jorge Gonzalez, with artwork from Rik Levins and Mike DeCarlo, published by Valiant Comics in December of 1993. Cover price was $2.25.

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Valiant Comics was an outfit which began by publishing new stories featuring classic Gold Key/Western characters like Magnus: Robot Fighter and Solar: Man of the Atom, eventually extending into brand new characters specifically created for the company. Print runs on the early Valiant comics were relatively low for the era, especially on those original properties. This spurred massive collector interest in the books and for about five years, Valiant gave Marvel and DC Comics a run for their money in terms of market share. Ultimately, Valiant sunk into a morass of intellectual property missteps and irrevelency when the comic company was bought by video game giant Acclaim.

Most of Valiant’s stable of characters were not regular reading for me as a kid, but I was a fan of X-O Manowar. The high concept of the series involved Aric of Dacia, a Visgoth warrior who was abducted by aliens. During his abduction, he came into possession of a highly advanced, sentient alien battle armor. He escaped his captors with the armor but as a consequence, ended up displaced in the 20th century. X-O Manowar was essentially “Conan as Iron Man,” which made for a fitfully fun read.

One of the hallmarks of the Valiant Universe was an incredibly tight inter-company continuity between titles. While Marvel and DC comics were curating a continuity between dozens of titles, the overseers of Valiant only had to worry about coordinating a maximum of 12 books. To wit, something that happened in X-O Manowar would become a plot point in Bloodshot or Eternal Warrior, and so on. In the go-go collector market of the 1990’s, this attention to continuity detail encouraged comic buyers to keep apace with EVERY one of Valiant’s titles, lest they miss out on some small aspect of the story. As such, all of Valiant’s comics in December of 1993 were holiday themed issues with a decent amount of continuity between them. I had originally (and over ambitiously) wanted to look at a whole BUNCH of the holiday themed titles published in this month, but I decided to focus on X-O this year. Perhaps we’ll look at some of the others sometime in the future.

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