Valiant Continues to Move in the Wrong Direction

A month ago, Valiant Comics announced its return.

Valiant logo

At the time, I found their emphasis on executives and brand equity misguided, especially the latter, since I don’t think “Valiant” means nearly as much to comic readers as they think it does. Now there’s a new press release that confirms my concerns.

[Valiant] announced the appointment of franchise producer and transmedia visionary Jeff Gomez as Transmedia Producer & Creative Consultant. Gomez has consulted extensively on such blockbuster properties as Avatar, Transformers, Halo, and Pirates of the Caribbean. The addition of one of transmedia’s originators and leaders confirms Valiant’s commitment to align with itself with quality creative forces in the industry. Gomez’s announcement follows recently announced Valiant Chairman Peter Cuneo, the former Marvel Entertainment CEO and Vice Chairman, Publisher Fred Pierce, the former Wizard Entertainment President, and Vice President – Executive Editor Warren Simons, a former critically acclaimed Marvel Entertainment Editor whose work has been nominated for 21 major industry awards. The appointment of Gomez will also help Valiant to re-introduce one of the world’s most renowned and popular comic book superhero universes across multiple media platforms—films, television, video games and other digital formats— and beyond comics.

They’re trying to buy success by hiring people who used to be at successful companies, but there’s no evidence that they had anything to do with that success. Do you trust someone from Wizard to lead a modern comic company that can face the unique challenges in the industry today?

It’s good to see that Valiant is considering digital before they even launch, but anyone who uses the word “transmedia” is already suspect in my eyes. Plus, this guy “will participate in the innovation and revitalization of the Valiant Universe mythology with the Valiant Entertainment creative team and notable comic book writers and artists.” So they’re going to change their content based on what they think will go viral? His production company is going to be responsible for the Valiant “bible”, determining character continuity across “movie studios, video game and mobile app developers, book publishers, and other licensees”. Dream big, zombie company.

As I said before, comic fans care about characters and creators. It’s probably too early for Valiant to talk about specific books, but those pairings will determine their success. Their PR has switched to listing past favorite characters and the creators who made them good, but that doesn’t mean a whole new executive team will make choices that are in keeping with that history. Also disturbing is this piece of text: “The Valiant Universe will be reintroduced in comic books beginning in 2012, and Valiant will begin announcing developments on its slate of major motion picture projects soon.”

That indicates the comics are not the focus. Honestly, no company today could concentrate just on the print and succeed, but it still annoys me to see them take a clear second place. I can’t imagine what Valiant thinks this kind of buzzword-laden PR is achieving for them.

6 Responses to “Valiant Continues to Move in the Wrong Direction”

  1. Marc-Oliver Frisch Says:

    This is very instructive for burgeoning comics creators. Now they finally know how many executives they’ll have to hire to make absolutely sure that the great comics they will be coming up with soon enough will rock the industry.

  2. Joshua Says:

    Honestly, I don’t think any of this is directed at anybody except potential investors. I don’t envy them trying to persuade anybody it makes any kind of sense to risk their money on a comics company.

  3. Greg Manuel Says:

    “That indicates the comics are not the focus. Honestly, no company today could concentrate just on the print and succeed, but it still annoys me to see them take a clear second place.”

    If you ask me, Marvel & DC are just as guilty of this. They just seem to be better at avoiding that perception.

  4. Johanna Says:

    Oh, no, I agree, and I don’t think they’re avoiding that perception at all any more. They’re just small pieces of big media companies. But to see someone launch a new effort assuming they can play on that same field right away — it’s a bit foolhardy, I feel.

  5. leve Says:

    I agree with your points here. The Marvel guy has me concerned though. He showed some interest in bringing some former “Marvel fan favorite” (not in my neighborhood anyway) talent like artist David Aja along. I don’t like the idea of having ex-Marvel artists from the Quesada regime working on the Valiant properties at all. I know the irony in my statement since Quesada got his start at Valiant, but Marvel was pretty bad the last 10 years and to see this sort of level of work float into Valiant books is quite depressing.

  6. Greg Manuel Says:

    @Johanna: You’re right, they really aren’t hiding it anymore…maybe the more accurate statement would be that just enough fans want their superhero fix no matter what, that it allows Marvel & DC to phone it in w/ regards to the quality of their comic book content, just a little bit more each passing moment.

    And now it would seem Valiant wants to emulate this model right off the bat. Depressing just about covers it, especially considering I’ve wanted to be a part of this industry for 17 years now.




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