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Yep, that’s right – it may be madness, but here goes a Valiant Comic Book Alphabet of Cool, from Archer & Armstrong to Zephyr, and everything in between!
Archer & Armstrong
Archer and Armstrong was one of the more acclaimed early Valiant series, mostly because of the main creative force behind the early issues, the great Barry Windsor-Smith.
The basic concept of the book is simple to anyone who’s read Chuck Dixon’s Green Arrow – a devoted young martial artist travels the world with a brutish world-weary lout.
In this case, Archer was a young man who was perhaps the world’s greatest martial artist. He had been left for dead by his own parents, who turned out to be majorly evil, so he devoted himself to ridding the world of evil. During his quest to do so, he was suckered into working for a group that was designed to kill off an evil demon, who turned out to be Armstrong.
Armstrong (otherwise known as Aram) was an immortal who had lived since the mid 5400s BC (or around there). He was a lot like Hercules, in that he’s had a ton of battles over the years, but he also enjoys having a good time.
The unlikely pair are really locked together when Armstrong has a bag of magical items stolen from him, as a result of Archer’s ignorant meddlings. To make it up to him (and the world), Archer travels with Armstrong to get all the items back (and, of course, along the way, they become good friends).
The following issue does not come up that often, but back when it came out, you’d be amazed at how acclaimed Archer & Armstrong #8 was – it was a crossover with another Valiant title, Eternal Warrior, which ALSO starred an immortal – the brother of Armstrong. Instead of actually having a crossover, though, in a pretty cute idea, the comic was considered the 8th issue of BOTH comics, as it was a flip book – depending on which cover you had facing up, it was the 8th issue of Eternal Warrior or the 8th issue of Archer & Armstrong. Now, if you wanted to buy two copies, then I’m sure Valiant would be okay with that, too.
In the story, we learn the “true” story of the Three Musketeers, who are, naturally, the Armstrong, his brother the Eternal Warrior, and a third brother (who is introduced in this issue for the first time – this was ALSO cause for hype at the time – a brand new Valiant hero!!), along with D’Artagnan (who looks suspiciously just like Archer), the Musketeers of lore.
The series only lasted about two years. Mike Baron took the writing chores over when Smith left (Mike Vosburg drew it).
Here’s a neat promotional giveaway Valiant did for the book’s release – Armstrong Ale!!!
Good comic (especially when Smith was writing/drawing it).
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