The relaunch series for Valiant by Matt Kindt and Tomas Giorello with Aric of Darcia, ancient barbarian turned cosmic warrior, the X-O Manowar. The character was created by Jim Shooter and Bob Layton, and has been compared to Iron Man, the comic upon which Bob Layton found his greatest fame.
At at the peak of that fame was "Demon In A Bottle", the storyline that ran in Iron Man #120-128 published in 1979 plotted by David Michelinie and Bob Layton, with script by Michelinie. John Romita, Jr. pencilled the breakdown sketches, with Layton providing finished art and drawing this cover.
So the X-O Manowar #1 variant cover homages that cover, the co-creator of X-O Manowar homaging his own work from Iron Man in 1979, the series that most inspired X-O Manowar in 1992, for a relaunch of that comic in 2017.
Larry Docherty of Larry's Comics of Lowell, MA tells me,
Mr Layton's cover to #128 is one of my favorite Marvel covers from that period. Since the 1990's I have absolutely loved Valiant & have considered X-O to be the lines Iron Man. What-If Conan found Tony Stark's armor.
I've commissioned a couple hundred shop exclusive variant covers over the years. A shop variant used to be exciting & special, but they quickly became commonplace, cluttering the market & confusing customers.
In 2016 I stopped ordering variants entirely & decided that to continue it would have to be for a good reason. Bob Layton creating a homage for my shop is pretty bad ass.
I'm back reinvigorated & energized with a pretty cool idea.
I'm not going to sell my shops "Visigoth in a Bottle" X-O #1 cover, I'm going to give it away FREE with the purchase or donation of a Valiant TPB or HC. I want to use the variant to spread the good word of Valiant. I generally think that the entire line is under most fans radar, it's so good, so high concept.
Swing by the shop. Buy a Valiant TPB for yourself & get a FREE rare comic. Keep the TPB for yourself & read what I consider to be the finest, wholly unique, Independent Super-Hero mythology being published today. Or if you already have all the trades, consider spreading Valiant love & donate it to a school, library or club.
It's my goal to donate a complete set of Valiant graphic novels to the Lowell Pollard Memorial Library to let everyone in my home town know the splendor that is Valiant. I'll do mail order on these if you donate a TPB to the cause. $25 delivered to USA, paypal: firstname.lastname@example.org