Last October, digital comics distributor ComiXology announced that it would start publishing original content with exclusive comics. The first of those exclusives, Adventure Time Marshall Lee Spectacular, was released last month, and next week sees the debut of Valiant High, a new series that reimagines the superheroes of Valiant Comics as high school students and faculty. Written by Daniel Kibblesmith of The Late Show With Stephen Colbert with art by Derek Charm and colorist David Baron, Valiant High offers a fun, light-hearted take on the Valiant universe, rooted in the heightened drama of adolescence. Kibblesmith has done great work with short stories in assorted Valiant anniversary issues, and he gets the opportunity to let his sense of humor run wild as he offers his distinct interpretation of Valiant’s characters in a brand new setting.
Derek Charm has established himself as an exciting young talent with a particularly strong handle on teen characters in books like Archie’s Jughead and Valiant’s Generation Zero, making him the perfect artist to draw Valiant High. This exclusive preview of next week’s Valiant High #1 introduces readers to new versions of some of Valiant’s most popular characters like Amanda “Livewire” McKee, Faith “Zephyr” Herbert, Aric “X-O Manowar” Dacia, and Bloodshot, who is Valiant High’s overly aggressive gym teacher. The red circle on Bloodshot’s chest being turned into a basketball is a great touch, and Charm has put a lot of thought into how the characters’ superhero costumes translate into everyday school-wear.
There’s a lot of personality in these pages, and David Baron’s bright colors add extra energy to Charm’s linework. The flatness of the color rendering evokes the look of old-school Archie Comics, and it’s a smart creative choice that shows how Valiant High is embracing the history of teen comics to do something fresh with Valiant concepts. Readers can venture further into the halls of Valiant High when the first issue hits ComiXology on February 22, but in the meanwhile, here’s a quick orientation to the academic setting.