Let’s Try This Yet Again: Valiant Comics Returns

Got a press release a few days ago about the return of Valiant Comics. Here’s the lead:

Valiant Entertainment, the character-based entertainment company with more than 1,500 characters in its library, announced it will reintroduce the critically acclaimed Valiant Universe in print and digital comics in 2012. Valiant has hired accomplished industry executives and creative talent to expand its management team. The first announcement is that former Marvel CEO and Vice Chairman Peter Cuneo has assumed the role of Chairman of Valiant.

Valiant logo

I bet they wish they’d picked another week to come back, hunh? A return announcement seems even more outdated now that superhero comic fans are looking forward to what’s next from DC.

Frankly, this PR hits all the wrong notes for me. I don’t care about your character inventory — only people looking for funding think that’s important to promote — especially since I’m not sure I can name more than five of them. (And that’s only if you let me count Quantum and Woody.) I want to know about the creators working with you, not the money men looking for “the emergence of a brand”. (To be fair, it’s probably much too premature for those kinds of specifics.) I do wish they’d said more about the “digital comics” part, since that might indicate some forward thinking.

This release makes the major mistake most history-driven projects do: they’re relying so much on what people already know about the brand that they don’t bother doing any introduction for someone who wasn’t reading comics 20 years ago. (Which, given the ages involved, just might be a good percentage of the people reading about you now.) Maybe mention some of the best-known of those Valiant characters? Give a new reader something to remember about your company’s creations?

Their press release continues in extremely boring fashion (although you’ll have to take my word for it, since it’s not even posted at their website, which is nothing more than an attempt to build a mailing list). It drones on about who’s providing “a capital infusion” and which “investment banker” and “management team” are posed to “usher in the new era of Valiant.” I was mildly entertained by the way the marketers summed up the history of the company:

Originally founded in 1989, Valiant Comics quickly became one of the most successful comic book publishers by creating unique and compelling heroes and villains and focusing on storytelling…. After creating some of the most popular comic book characters, Valiant was acquired by video game company Acclaim Entertainment. Acclaim used the characters as the basis for a number of successful video game franchises. Acclaim went out of business in 2005 due to issues unrelated to Valiant, including the loss of key sports video game licenses. This enabled Valiant Entertainment to acquire all the rights to the Valiant Comics library at the end of 2007. Valiant Entertainment began operations in 2008 and has made significant progress in the licensing and development of major motion pictures that will be communicated in the coming months. Valiant now expands into publishing.

That’s kind of a history of the mistakes of the comic industry over the past couple decades. Let’s focus on synergy! No, video games! Oops, the market’s tanking! Sell out! Wait, maybe we can turn some of this stuff into movies! What do you mean, they want to see the comics printed first?

Although director Dinesh Shamdasani is quoted saying, “Cutting-edge characters and stories were the core tenants of the original Valiant and are the core tenants of the new Valiant,” new Chairman Cuneo is pushing the company because “Valiant owns and controls a universe of some of the most recognizable characters in the comic world.” I hope they get that old/new tension worked out before it tanks their eventual launch of the comics.

10 Responses to “Let’s Try This Yet Again: Valiant Comics Returns”

  1. Joshua Says:

    I can’t remember a single Valiant comic, and I know that I read some of them.

  2. Joshua Says:

    And now that I’ve looked them up on Wikipedia, it turns out the three titles I sort of remember were licensed from Random House (Solar, Magnus, and Turok), so probably won’t be part of any new Valiant.

  3. Johanna Says:

    I remember Ninjak, because it was Kurt Busiek writing a young hero. And you’re right, those Random House ones (the Gold Key titles) are currently being published by Dark Horse, so they won’t be included here.

  4. Joshua Says:

    Oh! Yeah, Ninjak was actually pretty fun… I had forgotten about it completely, and the name is so generic I didn’t recognize it. That was with Neil Vokes, too, whose work I’ve always liked. Again consulting Wikipedia, it seems that the Busiek/Vokes run was actually part of the Acclaim reboot, and not part of the original Valiant line.

  5. RichJohnston Says:

    Are the previously cancelled titles from the Dark Horse Gold Key line still coming back as well. Solar, Magnus, Turok?

  6. James Schee Says:

    Uhm Bloodshot since they are using him for their logo I guess. Ninjak, Quautum & Woody…. X-O Manowar… Harbinger? That about taps me out.. they were too far in when I first got online and became aware of their comics.

    Their Wiki page they won’t publish anything until 2012? Kind of bad timing to do this announcement as you say Johanna. I actually thought they wer part of the speculator thing, more than about stories myself. It sure seemed that they, along with Image, were big in Wizard back then.

  7. Jim Perreault Says:

    My favorite was Archer and Armstrong, but only when Barry Windsor Smith was on it. Like Johanna says, its more about the creators than the characters.


  8. kiwijohn Says:

    It might also help their case a little if their CEO was talking about the “tenets” of the company instead of its “tenants” given they’re two quite different things.

    So, I wonder if they’ll start with one really really well-written and illustrated title that gets everyone buzzing and looking for the next big thing from them, and use that goodwill to gradually build up their line slowly with other equally good titles? …nah, probably not.


  9. Thad Says:

    …you know, I REALLY miss Quantum and Woody.

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