We Love Valiant Comics: X-O Manowar

During the 90’s, a bunch of “superstar” artists left Marvel Comics and formed the Comic Book “Super” company, Image Comics. Fans were eager to see what these industry superstars would create and the hype around it was unlike any other in the history of the industry.

But once released, the majority of the fans were disappointed. Each book felt like it was rushed, with no thought to the story or character development whatsoever. A lot of it felt like rejected characters and stories from Marvel and as the cherry on top, the books were always late with forgettable stories.  Yeah, the art of the story was tossed aside in favor of dazzling splash pages and gimmick covers that just looked… “cool.” (Go ahead, tell me a classic Image story line. I dare you.)

Yes, those were the dark times indeed.

But through the darkness, there was a light. And that light was Valiant Comics. Founded in 1989 by former Marvel Editor-In-Chief Jim Shooter, only the most hardcore of the hardcore comic book fans even knew of Valiant’s existence. But thanks to a newly created Comic Book Price Guide magazine called Wizard, Valiant Comics became an overnight, household name.

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Almost immediately after grabbing the cover for Wizard’s issue number seven, fans flocked to their local comic book store in search of Valiant comics. And like that, the Valiant Comic book back issue market blew up… big time. Among the favorites was a comic book which featured a character that was part Iron-Man/part Thor and who graced the cover of that Wizard Magazine that launched the Valiant era.

And that book was X-O Manowar.

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Aric of Dacia, a Visigoth barbarian who fought a vicious war against the Romans, was the man underneath the X-O armor. Born during the fifth century in Europe, Aric was a savage who took what he wanted and killed any Roman that got in his way. One night, while Aric and a few of his clan were on a midnight raid, they ran into a few Spider-Aliens, an extraterrestrial race that resembled an Earth Spider, as the aliens were taking a few human subjects towards their space ship. Aric, always brave, pulled out his sword and charged the spider-Aliens. Aric was no match though. He was knocked out and taken aboard the spaceship.

For years, Aric and other captives lived their lives as slaves aboard the Spider-Alien ship. In a funny Easter egg, there was even a captive that looked eerily like Elvis. Yes. You read that right. Elvis.

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So with the help of a map by the way of “Elvis”, Aric led a revolt of the other slaves and took it to the Spider-Aliens. During the revolt, Aric happened upon the hallowed Temple of the Vine and discovered the X-O armor. Aric then bonded with the sentient armor, the first being to ever do this. He then battled the Spider-Aliens and broke out of the ship and into space with the x-o armor on. When Aric returned back to Earth, he discovered that 1,600 years had past while he was on the ship and he was now a man, out of place in modern times (Like Captain America.)

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Now the story ends here, but trust me, it continues in the issues of X-O Manowar and it does not disappoint. So go pick up a copy of X-O Manowar #0 (which that amazing origin story is told) and thank me later. As for now, I’ll just leave you with this. The new Volume of X-O Manowar from Valiant and the original 1992 first issue.

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