In an unprecedented partnership, the Vans Warped Tour is teaming up with Valiant Entertainment for this year’s festival.
Valiant’s robust arsenal of comic book superheroes – including Bloodshot, Faith, Ninjak, X-O Manowar, and more – will feature heavily on Warped merchandise and posters as part of this year’s “comic book” theme. Though this is the Warped Tour’s 23rd year, it’s the first time a comic publisher has joined the touring roster like this.
“We’ve never had a comic partner for the artwork before,” Warped founder Kevin Lyman tells EW. “This is definitely the most integrated collaboration of anything we’ve ever done. Them being able to be out on the road with us will allow us to put some cool stuff together. Musicians, especially the ones we work with, seem to have an affinity for video gaming and comic books, so once they start seeing the art I think they’ll get really excited. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of them ask to get a couple guitars laminated with this art.”
To hear Valiant and Warped executives tell it, this partnership was a natural fit. As shown in the initial poster by Valiant artist Kano (above), the tour’s wide range of music is a good match for Valiant’s own diverse array of characters, who range from the nanite-enhanced killing machine Bloodshot to the body-positive telekinetic superhero Faith. Valiant will bring a mobile comic book art installation and appearances by major comics creators to select stops on the tour, but both partners are hard at work figuring out new ways to bring their collaboration to tour stops and help fans participate.
“One of the things Kano told us he was really excited about, was he felt this was a great fit because the Warped Tour is so eclectic in the music they bring to their tour, and Valiant is very eclectic in the kinds of characters we have and the genres we tap into,” Valiant CEO Dinesh Shamdasani says. “We’ve been talking to other artists in our stable and they’re all incredibly excited. Everyone knows the Warped Tour, some of them have been to it, so they’re all vying to come out and do something there. We’ve been talking about how we can build a live element into what we do – potentially create a comic book cover live at the Warped Tour and maybe photograph it there so fans can share the experience in stores.”
Valiant’s appearances on the tour will also benefit the company’s ongoing charitable partnership with the nonprofit Keep a Breast Foundation, dedicated to educating young people around the world about breast health and support. In fact, Valiant is even planning a custom Keep a Breast-focused comic starring Faith, set to launch sometime during the tour.
The Warped Tour has 41 dates this year, set to begin June 16 in Seattle and end Aug. 6 in California. Tickets will go on sale Wednesday, March 22 at 10 a.m. local time, and the full lineup will be released later that day at 6 p.m. EST.