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Indie comics news: Valiant's 3rd summer, IDW turns 15, and comics' global reach

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Valiant to launch new titles and cancel one as relaunch enters third year!

Years removed from its' prime in the 1990's, Valiant Entertainment began its official relaunch of its comic book publishing arm in summer 2012 with four titles - "X-O Manowar", "Harbinger", "Bloodshot" and "Archer & Armstrong". This trend continued with the launch of more titles last summer, and the company is set to continue starting this coming May with the launch of several more titles. Although the Valiant universe has more comic books on the shelves now than in summer 2012, the publisher is still seeking to limit themselves to 8-10 titles a month; nominal compared to many other third party companies.

To this end, May sees the relaunch of Valiant's first original character from 1991, "Rai" by Matt Kindt and Clayton Crain. The character was originally a spirit guardian who protected Japan through various incarnations in the 41st century, created by former Marvel Comics editor in chief Jim Shooter. June will see the debut of "Armor Hunters #1" by Robert Venditti and Doug Baithwaite. July will see "Armor Hunters: Bloodshot #1" by Joe Harris and Trevor Hairsine as well as "Armor Hunters: Harbinger #1" by Joshua Dysart and Robert Gill. August will bring about "The Delinquents #1", written by Fred Van Lente and James Asmus, with art by Kano, which sees the heroes of both of their buddy books ("Archer & Armstrong" and "Quantum & Woody") team up. September will see "The Death-Defying Dr. Mirage #1" by Jen Van Meter and Roberto De La Torre. That is the relaunch of a "Shadowman" spin off originally created in 1994 by Bob Layton and Bernard Chang.

The company also confirmed that "Bloodshot and the Hard C.O.R.P.S." will be coming to an end, although not before a crossover with "Archer & Armstrong" starting next month. There also will be another launch in October, but it is kept under wraps. Valiant Entertainment won the Gem Award offered by Diamond Distribution for 2012 and has since eked out a place among a far more different market than in its heyday in the 90's.

ReedPop teams with Oz Comic Con for cons down under!

The comic book world continues to be a small one after all as two convention titans join forces! Oz Comic Con, which produces pop-culture conventions and events in Australia, has just announced a working partnership with ReedPOP, the company which produces and runs the biggest conventions in North America. The biggest of the ReedPOP cons is the annual New York Comic Con, but others include C2E2 and the Penny Arcade Expo (PAX). This will not only enhance the convention experience for Aussies, but will also inevitably allow Australian comics and/or creators to gain more access and publicity worldwide. Considering the strong ties between the U.K. comics scene and that of North America - which has only strengthened in the past year with the rise of Titan Comics - it was perhaps only a matter of time before Australia's scene would seek to expand. More culture and talent only means a better experience for fans of all ages.

IDW celebrates 15th anniversary with bizarre crossover!

Believe it or not, it was been 15 years since IDW Comics first began publishing back in 1999. Among their first titles was "30 Days of Night", which became their first hit and mass media adaptation. Since then, other creator owned hits include "Locke & Key" and their licensed properties include "Transformers", "G.I. Joe", "My Little Pony", "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles", "Ghostbusters", and lately "The X-Files". The company has since climbed its way to the number four spot of the top five comic book publishers of 2013, according to Diamond Distribution.

Timed nicely with this anniversary is a brief crossover between three of their licensed comics - "The X-Files", "Transformers", and "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles". Why? All titles are at the end of the alphabet. In a story called "X-Files: Conspiracy" sees the character known as "the Lone Gunman" traveling across dimensions in search for a cure for a mystery illness. This crossover won't take part in the core titles, but will instead take place via two one-shots. There will be "Conspiracy: TMNT" by Ed Brisson and Michael Walsh and "Conspiracy: Transformers" by Paul Crilley and Dheeraj. IDW has done similar crossovers with their licensed properties in similar fashion in the past.

ComiXology's scope rises with trip to India!

The leading digital comics distributor ComiXology continues to spread its influence beyond North America. After having opened a branch in France, the company spent the weekend as a presence at Comic Con India in New Dehli for the first time. ComiXology's main Tumblr has photos and thoughts about their trip.

ComiXology also revealed more raw data about the reach of their app, which was the #1 non-gaming app in the U.S. as well as the top app in India, France, Germany, Spain, Belgium, and the U.K. in 2013. In addition, roughly 51% of ComiXology users reside outside the U.S.; the highest concentrations of their users are in Canada, Mexico, Brazil, the U.K., Australia, Japan, and China. There are even, amusingly, 15 users in Cuba who are either defying the decree of their dictator or are hypocritical members of the ruling class.

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