There has been a sudden explosion in the indie world as of late. Image owns the charts on trades thanks to The Walking Dead. Dark Horse is waving its flag high with its own brand of digital publishing and giving free books generously in an effort to entice new readers. From Top Cow, we had a brilliant Kickstarter marketing gamble, in which they were able to give away physical copies of the first story arc of Cyber Force for free. The smaller guys are in the ring, and they are swinging hard for that big K.O. through innovation and a genuine interest in their fan base.
None, as of late, seem to be trying as hard as the folks at Valiant when it comes to curve ball approaches to snagging new fans. They have the resurrected gold issue plan, where fans are rewarded for going out and being vocal fans of the company and documenting the actions. They organized a unique variant cover for every fan who pulls their issues monthly. They sucker punched us in the nostalgia with 8-bit covers, and in a unique opening blow, they invented the QR covers as their flagship titles debuted. These covers give us a unique experience in which we can be serenaded by the burly angry voices of some of Valiant’s leading men. All you need is a smart phone.
Now, now we have the 8-bit, QR hybrid cover, and I feel all foaming at the mouth Golem-like crazy over here. The cover presents us with a full 8-bit back story to help the new fans understand the upcoming comic event, Unity. It is a move that plays on video game levels, the current owners well aware that Valiant drew in a large crowd during the 90’s, at the height of the 8-bit game market. And it doubles back, giving new readers a chance to step into a story, and have the plot played out before their eyes in a unique and inviting way.
My only fear is this innovative bit of bait will be cast into the depths, buried beneath the classic “one out of fifty ordered” gimmick, that basically prevents its brilliance from reaching smaller shops and many new prying eyes.
The QR video can be seen below: