Vault’s New Christopher Yost Comic ‘Unnatural Order’ No. 1 to Be Free for Retailers (Exclusive)

Vault’s New Christopher Yost Comic ‘Unnatural Order’ No. 1 to Be Free for Retailers (Exclusive)

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In a move designed to give a boost to comic book sellers, Missoula, Montana-based Vault is making the first issue of its upcoming comic Unnatural Order free to retailers.

Unnatural Order is a chance for the growing indie publisher to break out of the pack, as the comic is expected to be one of the hot titles this fall, marking the first comics work by writer Christopher Yost in almost 10 years. Yost was a big-name Marvel comics author (he co-created X-23, who appeared in Logan) and Marvel animation scribe before diving into the feature film and TV world, co-writing Thor: Ragnarok and writing on The Mandalorian, among other high-profile projects.

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Vault’s move comes as comic publishers and retailers face some strong headwinds in the marketplace after enjoying a couple of years of strong sales. According to several sources, sales for most comic publishers and retailers had been rising until mid-2022, after which there has been a steady decline. Companies have been struggling to retain their pandemic-fueled surges. Vault is hoping its outside-the-box move can be a shot in the arm even as it raises the company’s own profile.

Val Rodrigues is the artist on Unnatural Order, which is a blend of fantasy, science fiction and high-stakes action. The logline, per Vault, is thus: “In ancient Britain an unstoppable evil known only as the Druid plunges the world into an age of horror, fire, and sacrifice. But there is one man even the Druid fears. A soldier from another time, who alone knows the Druid’s secret: this is not how the world is supposed to be.”

The standard cover of the comic will be offered to retailers in free bundles of 25 copies. The issue will retain its $4.99 suggested retail price, and retailers will be free to sell, discount or freely distribute copies to their customers.

“I’ve loved comics all my life, but I haven’t had a comic in stores in a while,” said Yost in a statement. “I was just psyched to be back. And then the gang at Vault ran an idea by me. ‘What if we gave away the first issue to retailers for free?’ I laughed at the obvious joke, because certainly our ‘Corporate Overlords’ wouldn’t allow that. But this is Vault. They don’t do ‘Corporate Overlords.’ Vault really wants to do something big for the retailers who support all of our work. I don’t pretend to understand the business of it, but they love comics. They love their partners. They want all of us to succeed, to celebrate comics.”

Vault CEO Damian Wassel noted the importance of local comic shops, not only to the comics business but to the broader culture.

“Local comic shops are the reason we still have comics,” Wassel said in a statement. “They’re the reason we have an MCU. It’s not just fans, creators, and publishers who are indebted to comic shops, it’s the whole entertainment industry.”

And he cheekily offered a challenge to retailers: “We know this has been a tougher-than-expected year for retailers. So, we’re making a game-changing move. We’re taking our biggest book of the year and giving it to you for free. Give it away or sell it. It’s up to you. What do we ask in return? Simple. Make this the best-selling comic of 2023. Get every copy you order in the hands of a customer within a week. And then, heck, maybe we’ll keep up this crazy gambit with all our new comics.”

Unnatural Order is due to hit stores October. Check out the first four pages, plus a fifth one after a spoiler-jumping break, below.

Unnatural Order

Courtesy of Vault

Unnatural Order

Courtesy of Vault

Unnatural Order

Courtesy of Vault

Unnatural Order

Courtesy of Vault

Unnatural Order

Courtesy of Vault