Valiant Entertainment kicked off its latest incarnation last year with four series based on the original Valiant properties (it’s a long story), and this month the company debuted its first digital-first comic, Valiant 8-Bit Adventure: Unity #1.
Unity is Valiant’s first big crossover, and back in September, they put a QR code on the cover of the first issue that led to a little video, done in the retro-gaming style known as 8-bit, which gave a brief introduction to the different characters in the crossover.
Now they are going a step further with a digital-only comic that features several of their characters training for the big battle. It’s a Guided View Native comic, which means it uses comiXology’s Guided View features to create digital-only effects such as word balloons dropping into place and panels popping up when the reader swipes the screen. When you read a regular comic, you go page by page or perhaps panel by panel, but with a Guided View Native comic, the creator can reveal the scene a little at a time.
That technique works quite nicely with this little comic, which features three of the Valiant characters: Livewire, Ninjak, and Eternal Warrior. The conceit is that the three of them are doing a training exercise that’s a video game, so the comic starts out with a fairly realistic style and then shifts into 8-bit when the action begins. The story unfolds exactly like an arcade game—the three characters are searching for three gems, hazards appear out of nowhere, and various types of points are tallied at the top of the screen. While the story is pretty simple, it’s fun to watch the whole thing unfold as if the characters were really in a game (yet able to control themselves). There’s a bit of a twist at the end, and then it goes back to the real-life style. It’s not really necessary to be familiar with the Valiant characters to enjoy this comic; everything you need to know is there, although obviously it’s more fun if you know the characters who are being gently parodied.
With this first comic, Valiant follows DC’s tactic of using a digital-first comic as a story that is not necessary to follow the continuity of their other series and is easily accessible to first-time readers. If the story whets your appetite for more Valiant, comiXology carries all their regular series as well.
A former book editor and newspaper reporter, Brigid Alverson started MangaBlog to keep track of her daughters¹ reading habits and now covers comics and graphic novels for Comic Book Resources , School Library Journal, Publishers Weekly Comics World, Robot 6, and MTV Geek. She also edits the Good Comics for Kids blog at School Library Journal. Brigid was a judge for the 2012 Eisner Awards. Send her an email to email@example.com