Valiant has been touting their recently announced X-O Manowar series by writer Matt Kindt with artists Tomas Giorello, Doug Braithwaite, Clayton Crain, Ryan Bodenheim and Mico Suayan, as "Valiant's most important first issue of all time"…
Looks like they're about to put their metal where their mouth is.
Just unveiled at ComicBook.com, the publisher has just announced a 1:500 variant for the series' first issue that they're calling the X-O Manowar #1 Brushed Metal Variant – and, yes, it's made out of real life metal.
Featuring cover artwork by Monica Palosz printed by a new process on an "actual brushed aluminum metal sheet", the Brushed Metal Variant will only be available to retailers who order 500 copies of X-O Manowar #1, but will be limited to one copy per store.
For its part, however, Valiant has indicated that this is the farthest they intend to push the variant game for some time. As CEO Dinesh Shamdasani told ComicBook.com:
Marvel ad DC are being incredibly aggressive in the marketplace right now. There is a battle for shelf space and one in five thousands are just one of the nuclear options they have pulled out of the armory over the past 12 months. We'd be foolish to believe that we could continue to succeed in this climate without at least approaching the kinds of tools they're using…
…[But] we're constantly looking for ways to increase the effectiveness of our programs and, therefore, reduce the quantity of covers. We're a storytelling company. Variants are, at best, secondary at Valiant. With X-O Manowar, we're attempting to redefine how variants are approached in the industry by working very far ahead and providing as much information to the collector as far in advance as possible.
In the same interview, Valiant execs also outline a new rigidly defined variant program for the X-O Manowar series that will see a limited and consistent number of covers across each issue and three-issue story arc for the series – a first for any major publisher, including the Big Two,
Back in 2012, Valiant gave us the subscription variant cover, which was then widely copied by other publishers. With the ever increasing number of variants widely bemoaned across the industry, today's news makes them the first to publicly limit themselves in that regard…
Might others soon follow them once again?