Valiant Comics

Published on April 30th, 2012

Twenty years ago, the comics industry was a very different place. The X-Men was Marvel’s biggest gun, and Lobo was one of DC’s most popular books. Image Comics had just begun, publishing their comics through Malibu…and Valiant Comics was gaining some steam.

valiant1Yes, the same Valiant that is gearing up for a big summer relaunch this week.

Considering all the attention they’re getting currently, you’re probably curious as to what they’re all about. That’s where we come in. This is a little crash course on the history of Valiant Comics, and the characters that are part of their stable. It all began with Jim Shooter. After a failed attempt to purchase Marvel Comics in 1988, he, along with a group of investors from Triumph Capital formed Voyager Communications. There, they began publishing licensed comics, with their biggest licenses being Nintendo and the WWE. They eventually switched to their original plan to publish their own superhero comics, under the Valiant Comics imprint.

Shooter then began recruiting some talent. He began with Bob Layton and Barry Windsor-Smith, and the trio became the brain-trust of the Valiant universe. They licensed Magnus, Robot Fighter and Solar, Man of the Atom from Western Publishing, and followed it up with their own original creations, like Harbinger, X-O Manowar, Rai, Shadowman and more, leading to a major crossover event titled UNITY.

The publisher was responsible for several marketing innovations, like the zero issues and the chromium. These initiatives eventually put Valiant on the charts, with numbers rivaling DC Comics. They were named Publisher of the Year in 1993, with issues selling in the six figures. Valiant was riding high during the big comic market boom of the early 90’s.

Jim Shooter eventually left the company and a year later, Triumph Capital exited as well. The market fell apart, and Valiant was struggling. The company was sold to video game publisher Acclaim Entertainment, which kept the Valiant Universe going for a few more years before they eventually revamped the entire VU. Not too long after, they ceased publishing comics to focus on turning these characters into video game properties.

the-valiant-universe

Acclaim shut down its doors in 2004 after filing for chapter 7 bankruptcy. In 2007, group of investors acquired the rights to the entire Valiant library from Acclaim’s estate and formed Valiant Entertainment.

Since its inception, Valiant Entertainment has released new hardcover collections of several classic Valiant titles, such as X-O Manowar and Harbinger. These releases featured new stories penned by Shooter exclusively for these collections. In mid- 2011, Cuneo and Co. invested in Valiant Entertainment. Their principals joined Valiant’s board as chairman and director. Chairman Peter Cuneo is actually a former CEO of Marvel Comics.

Early this year, the Summer of Valiant is announced. Warren Simons (a former Marvel editor) was named executive editor of the company. Simons recruits a very talented roster of creators to put together their new line of monthly comics that will launch this week.

Four titles have been announced:

xo-manowar-valiant-comicsX-O Manowar starts in May. Written by ‘Surrogates’ creator Robert Venditti and illustrated by ‘Conan’ artist Cary Nord. This title is about Visigoth warrior Aric of Dacia, who has been captured by an invading alien force…to escape, he steals the X-O Manowar armor. The ultimate weapon. Harbinger by Eisner nominated ‘Unknown Soldier’ writer Joshua Dysart and illustrated by ‘Daughters of the Dragon’ artist Khari Evans. Launching in June, Harbinger is the story of Peter Stanchek, a teenager on the run from the law after discovering his psionic powers.

Bloodshot launches in July, written by novelist Duane Swierczynski and illustrator Manuel Garcia. This is the story of the ultimate super-soldier, containing all the secrets of his country…who has just been captured.

Archer & Armstrong is the story of a hard drinking immortal teamed with an unwitting assassin on a globe-trotting adventure. This book is written by former ‘Amazing Spider-Man’ writer Fred Van Lente and illustrated by Clayton Henry.

If you’ve been craving for something different to read, you can’t go wrong with these great books and creative teams. Obviously, these four titles are only the beginning. With strong orders on X-O Manowar issue 1 and a great social media presence, Valiant is poised to make a big return. They’ve been winning over their old fans, and are making new ones with their very accessible social media presence.

I’m very much looking forward to these books, and I wish everyone involved a successful launch!

Pat Loika
PatLoika@ComicImpact.com