Home Culture Diversity First look: Faith #2 and how Valiant got a viral hit

First look: Faith #2 and how Valiant got a viral hit


Valiant Comics relaunched as a publisher in 2012, and they’ve certainly done most things right since then, putting out quality comics with high level talent, and reaching out to fans on all levels—as the support for CEO Dinesh Shamdasani in our Person of the Year voting shows. They’ve gotten attention for relaunches of long running characters like Bloodshot and Quantum and Woody, and the well-received The Valiant and Book of Death events. And for their movie deals with China.

But they’ve never had anything like Faith.

One of their legacy characters—under the name Zephyr she was the leader the Harbinger Renegades team—Faith Herbert was an appealing figure, as a girl who is actually a comics fan, and also as a female superhero who didn’t fit into traditional notions of what a superheroine looks like. From the headlight comics of the 50s to the pneumatic bad girls of the 90s, comics have been synonymous to many for idealized and sometimes overly sexualized images of women. That’s changed a lot, but a heroine like Faith pushed the envelope even more.

So when Valiant announced a four-issue mini series starring Faith written by Jody Houser with art by Francis Portela and Marguerite Sauvage it seemed like a sound publishing decision. But Valiant couldn’t have known that the comics would hit at a time when diversity of every kind would become the driving force for what readers are looking for in their comics. I’d never seen anything from Valiant catch on in social media like Faith, with Jelena Kevin Djurdjevic’s beautiful cover quickly posted everywhere and becoming a symbol of what Valiant was doing for 2016. (Disclosure: Valiant ran several Faith wrapper ads on the Beat (as well as other websites) but this visibility certainly helped get the book out there.)

I’d discussed Faith with folks from Valiant. We all wondered if vocal fan tweeting would carry over to sales. Sometimes it seems like the books with the biggest online support still don’t find purchase in the larger comics market. But it seems the market has responded this time. Faith #1’s first printing sold out before it was even published on Wednesday, and a second printing looks like it will go the same way. Reviews have been good and writer Houser has become a strong spokesperson for the book.

I asked Valiant publisher Fred Pierce about the success of Faith and he confirmed that it’s been an overperformer.”From every standpoint – from the immediate sell-out on issue #1 to the hugely positive response from fans and critics – the support for Faith has been phenomenal,” he told The Beat. “This series is certainly an affirmation that she has found footing as a real breakout. In terms of impact, it’s already exceeded all expectations and Jody, Francis, and Marguerite have done a sensational job in giving Faith the solo debut she deserves. We’re confident that the audience for Faith is only going to continue to grow from here.”

We’ve all seen examples of attempted diversity fail when they didn’t have a strong creative team or marketing support. One of the reasons Miles Morales succeeded—and the new Ms. Marvel and lady Thor have been sales hits—is that these books had great creative teams that believed in the stories they’re telling. Faith’s success thus far is certainly more proof that you can get the attention of fans/readers but to keep it you need to have the whole team to back it up.

Valiant has just released a preview of FAITH #2. The issue goes on sale February 24th.

Faith “Zephyr” Herbert has just set out on her own with a new city, a new job, and a new secret identity…but, just when it when she thought it was safe fly solo as Los Angeles’ leading superhero, her former teammate – and ex-boyfriend – might just bring her high-spirited solo career crashing back down to Earth! And, as if that wasn’t bad enough, there’s a conspiracy brewing in the Hollywood Hills that’s going to threaten the lives of Faith’s fellow psiots and new friends alike…and a volatile new alien threat that nobody saw coming!

Written by JODY HOUSER
$3.99 | 32 pgs. | T+ | ON SALE NOW!

FAITH #2 (of 4)
Written by JODY HOUSER
Cover C by FRANCIS PORTELA (DEC151656)
Variant Cover by COLLEEN COOVER (DEC151657)
$3.99 | 32 pgs | T+ | On sale FEBRUARY 24 (FOC – 2/1/16)


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