Valiant Entertainment is set to debut a new “X-O Manowar” series in March, from the creative team of writer Matt Kindt and artist Tomas Giorello — who will be followed by a different illustrator for each story arc, starting with Doug Braithwaite in “X-O Manowar” #4.
In developing the series, Giorello and Kindt (himself an accomplished illustrator of series such as “Mind MGMT”) produced multiple concept design sketches for the new look of “X-O.” Since the new series is set on a far-flung planet, it provided Kindt and Giorello with the opportunity to tap into new fantasy/sci-fi creative territory — and CBR can share 14 of these sketches, 11 by Giorello and three by Kindt, along with commentary from Kindt on each piece of concept art.
Matt Kindt: “This is X-O Manowar’s final incarnation. The beauty of this new series is that Aric is building to this moment and this design. We strip him down to the basics and then slowly watch him build up to this…nd we make him earn it.”
Kindt: “The elements that always intrigued me most about X-O Manowar was this idea that he was a barbarian wielding the most technologically advanced weapon in human history. That’s the real conflict in the story. Aric’s nature versus everything that the armor represents… and beards are super cool.”
Kindt: “This is Aric when we first see him. He’s given up the armor and is just trying to live a simple life. He’s farming. He’s found a companion to share it with. But he wears the scars of his past. And I think there’s something that gets to the heart of his character that he’d willfully lose his hand (that the armor would fix). He’d rather be without the hand than make peace with the XO armor.”
Kindt: “Tomas and I had a lot of fun world-building. We set the entire series on an alien planet, which gave us a big blank canvas to fill and we’ve really had a great time populating it. We came up with three new races, each with distinctive cultures and backgrounds and looks. Everything has a meaning – the dress and the hair and the tattoos and accouterments are all based on a lot of back story and politics and culture that we baked into the series. The Azure are sort of the working-class tribe of the planet… The success of the planet was built on their backs and now they want to share in the benefits.”
Kindt: “The Burnt are the outsider tribe — war-like and nomadic. They’ve tried to stay out of most of the conflicts, but they’re really good at fighting, so the other tribes are constantly trying forge alliances with them.”
Kindt: “[The Cadmiums] are the ruling class on the planet. They have the most advanced technology and all the wealth… which is going to end up being a problem for them. They’re analogous to the Roman Empire… but they’re going to have a few surprises thrown their way as we get further into the series.”
Kindt: Tomas and I had a lot of fun with the technology and creatures and look of the world. I really wanted to do some high fantasy and science fiction and barbarian-style storytelling – stripping Aric back down to his basics and putting him on this planet just made sense. It gave us a chance to just run wild – creating animal/technology hybrids and building some visuals like we’ve never seen before.
Kindt: Come on. Spiders and tanks! Two scary things put together. Tomas really made all of these designs come together – they seem fantastic and grounded at the same time because of the detail he puts into them. The little ladder rungs on this one are my favorite. He’s really made a world here that feels both fantastic and lived-in all at once. Having that blank canvas to work on has really given us a chance to show some massive all-out-war battle scenes that are unlike anything you’ve seen before – with strange weapons and creatures…some really unexpected and bizarre wars will be taking place.
Valiant Entertainment’s new “X-O Manowar” #1 is scheduled for release on March 22.
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