Valiant Comics

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This article is about the American comic book publisher. For the Hal Foster comic strip, see Prince Valiant. For the British adventure comic, see Valiant (comics).
Valiant Comics
Valiant logo new.png
Valiant Comics logo. Designed by Rian Hughes.
Parent company Voyager Communications (1989–1994)
Acclaim Entertainment (1994–2004)
Valiant Entertainment (2008-present)
Founded 1989/2005
Founder Jim Shooter (1989)
Bob Layton (1989)
Dinesh Shamdasani (2005)
Jason Kothari (2005)
Country of origin United States
Headquarters location New York City
Key people Peter Cuneo, Chairman
Dinesh Shamdasani, CEO & Chief Creative Officer
Gavin Cuneo, COO & CFO
Russ Brown, President, Consumer Products, Promotions & Ad Sales
Fred Pierce, Publisher
Warren Simons, Editor In Chief
Publication types Comics
Official website www.valiantuniverse.com

Valiant Entertainment, Inc., commonly referred to as Valiant Comics, is an American company that produces comic books and related media based on the Valiant Universe of characters. The company was founded in 1989 by former Marvel Comics Editor-in-Chief Jim Shooter and former Marvel Comics writer/editor Bob Layton among others. In 1994, after a period of tremendous growth, Valiant's venture-capital investor, Triumph, sold the company to video game developer Acclaim Entertainment. Acclaim began adapting the characters into video games and spawned several successful gaming franchises. In 2004, after several major set backs in their core sports gaming division, Acclaim Entertainment shut down and ceased all activities including those involving Valiant.[1][2]

The company was restarted in 2005 as Valiant Entertainment by entrepreneurs Dinesh Shamdasani and Jason Kothari.[2] In 2011, after hiring several executives from Marvel Comics and Wizard Entertainment, former Marvel CEO and Vice Chairman, Peter Cuneo, was brought on board as Valiant's Chairman and an investor in the company.[3] Valiant Entertainment officially launched its publishing division as part of an initiative dubbed the "Summer of Valiant" in 2012[4] to great critical and commercial success,[5] winning Publisher of the Year under 5% Market Share and being nominated for Book of the Year at the Diamond Gem Awards.[6] Valiant has continued to set records[7] and win critical acclaim, including receiving the most nominations for a single title at the 2014 Harvey Awards[8] and being named 'The Best-Reviewed Publisher in American Comic Book Stores' by Bleeding Cool magazine.[9]

In March 2015, after several leaked reports that Valiant had begun developing its characters for film,[10] Valiant announced that they had signed a co-financing deal DMG Entertainment in order to finance feature films based on its comic books.[11] In April, Sony Pictures announced that they had partnered with Valiant to produce five films based on both the Bloodshot and Harbinger comic books. Both Bloodshot and Harbinger will receive two features each before a fifth movie, Harbinger Wars, will bring both properties together, inspired by the Valiant comic book series crossover from 2013. Bloodshot, targeted for a 2017 release, will be directed by the John Wick team of David Leitch and Chad Stahelski. All fove films will be produced by Valiant's Dinesh Shamdasani, along with Original Film's Neal H. Moritz and Toby Jaffe (The Fast and Furious franchise, 21 Jump Street).[12]

Publication history[edit]

Voyager Communications[edit]

In 1988, former editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics Jim Shooter, former manager of the Allman Brothers Band Steven J. Massarsky, and a group of investors attempted to purchase Marvel Entertainment.[citation needed] They submitted the second highest bid, with financier Ronald Perelman submitting the highest bid and acquiring Marvel.[citation needed] Shooter and Massarsky instead formed Voyager Communications in 1989 with significant venture capital financing from Triumph Capital.[citation needed] Valiant recruited numerous writers and artists from Marvel, including Barry Windsor-Smith, creator of Wolverine's "Weapon X" storyline, and Bob Layton, a long-time writer of Iron Man.[citation needed] Valiant launched an interconnected line of superhero comics featuring a mixture of characters licensed from Western Publishing and original creations.[13]

In 1992, Valiant released its first set of original titles, including Harbinger, X-O Manowar, Rai, and Shadowman, followed by a major crossover event called Unity, during which Eternal Warrior and Archer & Armstrong were launched. Harbinger #1 was listed on the top ten list of Wizard Magazine for a then record eight consecutive months and was eventually named "Collectible of the Decade" while Rai #0 appeared on Wizard's top ten list for a new record nine consecutive months.[citation needed] In 1992, Valiant won the Best Publisher under 5% Market Share from comic distributor Diamond. Next year Valiant won Best Publisher over 5% Market Share, becoming the first and only publisher outside of Marvel and DC to do so. Valiant's Editor-In-Chief Jim Shooter was given the Lifetime Achievement Award for co-creating the Valiant Universe in a 1992 ceremony that also honored Stan Lee for co-creating the Marvel Universe.[14] However, Shooter left Valiant by the end of 1992. According to Massarsky, "Jim had a different idea as to the direction of the company, and he was asked to leave."[13]

Valiant also pioneered a number of marketing innovations, such as the issue zero "origin" issues, the gold logo program, coupons redeemable for original comic books, and chromium covers.[15] Following the "Unity" crossover, Valiant released Bloodshot, Ninjak, H.A.R.D. Corps, Second Life of Dr. Mirage, and Timewalker, among other titles.[citation needed]

Acclaim Comics[edit]

In 1994, Voyager Communications was purchased by video game developer and publisher Acclaim Entertainment.[16] Acclaim created a number of successful multi-platform Valiant video games, such as the Shadowman and Turok franchises, Armorines, and Iron Man/X-O Manowar in Heavy Metal, which featured Valiant's X-O Manowar alongside Marvel's Iron Man.[17]

In 2003, Acclaim Entertainment's video game business was taking significant risks, including limited diversification.[citation needed] After losing a major sports video game license, Acclaim became financially insolvent and filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2004.[18]

Valiant Entertainment[edit]

From left to right: Valiant Chief Creative Officer Dinesh Shamdasani, Sales Manager Atom! Freeman, Marketing and Communications Manager Hunter Gorinson and Publisher Fred Pierce at Midtown Comics in Manhattan.

In 2005, a group of entrepreneurs led by Dinesh Shamdasani and Jason Kothari raised financing and acquired the rights to the Valiant Comics library from Acclaim Entertainment's estate, forming Valiant Entertainment (VE).[2] A dispute arose over the rights to several Valiant comic book trademarks as a rival group, Valiant Intellectual Properties LLC (VIP), announced that they had made a number of placeholder filings.[19][20] Valiant Entertainment won and former Valiant Editor-In-Chief Jim Shooter was hired to write new short stories that would accompany hardcover reprints of classic Valiant Universe stories.[21] Two of these collections were named among the "The Ten Best Collected Editions" of their respective years of publications.[22] In August 2011, after hiring several executives from Marvel Comics and Wizard Entertainment, former Marvel Comics CEO and Vice Chairman Peter Cuneo was brought on board as Valiant's Chairman and an investor in Valiant Entertainment, with Gavin Cuneo serving as CFO.[3] Valiant Entertainment began publishing new monthly comic books based on the Valiant Comics universe of characters in May 2012.[23]

The Summer of Valiant 2012[edit]

In an event dubbed The Summer of Valiant 2012, Valiant Entertainment launched four ongoing titles, X-O Manowar, Harbinger, Bloodshot and Archer & Armstrong, one launching each month, beginning in May. X-O Manowar, premiered May 2, 2012 by writer Robert Venditti and artist Cary Nord.[24] Harbinger, launched in June 2012 by writer Joshua Dysart and artist Khari Evans; Bloodshot, launched in July 2012 by writer Duane Swierczynski and artist Manuel Garcia; and Archer & Armstrong, launched in August 2012 by writer Fred Van Lente and artist Clayton Henry.

X-O Manowar #1 received over 42,000 preorders, making it one of the largest new publisher launches in over a decade.[5] Valiant won Publisher of the Year under 5% Market Share, and was nominated for Book of the Year at the Diamond Gem Awards.[6]

To coincide with the launch of publishing, Valiant introduced a number of marketing initiatives. Most prominent of these is the Pullbox Program and the QR Voice Variant or Talking Cover. The Pullbox Program, encourages readers to start a pullbox subscription for the title being launched with their comics store in order to obtain an exclusive alternate cover version of the comic.[25] The QR Voice Variant utilizes a QR code that is printed onto the comic book cover. The reader scans the QR code with their smart phone and places the phone over the mouth of the figure on the cover. The phone then plays a video of the figures mouth giving the impression that the figure has come to life and is talking to the reader. The company also published the entire first issue of X-O Manowar online for free.[26]

Valiant Entertainment extended the The Summer of Valiant 2012 and added a fifth ongoing title with Shadowman in November 2012 by writer Justin Jordan and artist Patrick Zircher.[27] Once again, the comic book debuted as the number 1 non-Marvel and/or DC comic of the month.[28] Again, Valiant also garnered critical acclaim for the title.[29]

At the end of 2012, Valiant won a number of Publisher of the Year awards, most prominently winning Publisher of the Year under 5% Market Share and was nominated for Book of the Year for X-O Manowar #1 at the Diamond Gem Awards.[6]

In January 2013, Valiant announced that Chief Creative Officer and Co-Founder Dinesh Shamdasani had been promoted to CEO & Chief Creative Officer.[30]

The Summer of Valiant 2013[edit]

In May 2013, Valiant CEO and Chief Creative Officer Dinesh Shamdasani announced The Summer of Valiant 2013,[31] during which the company would launch two new ongoing titles, Quantum & Woody and Eternal Warrior; change the story direction of X-O Manowar and Bloodshot; and reveal the origin of Bloodshot in a special zero issue. Quantum & Woody, written by James Asmus and drawn by Tom Fowler, launched in July 2013[32] and would go on to become the most nominated title at 2014 Harvey Awards.[33]

The Summer of Valiant 2014[edit]

Several of Valiant's launch titles reached their planned conclusions, with Harbinger, Bloodshot, and Archer & Armstrong all concluding. Valiant celebrated the milestones by giving each title an oversized anniversary issue 25 and teasing new directions for the characters. Ongoing series such as X-O Manowar, Unity and Rai continued and were coupled with limited series such as Harbinger: Omegas, Eternal Warrior: Days of Steel, The Death-Defying Dr. Mirage, and The Delinquents, as well as events such as Armor Hunters.[citation needed] In 2014 Valiant also formed a partnership with Visionbooks to distribute a form of animated Valiant comic books for digital devices.[34]

Staff[edit]

Editors-in-Chief under the original Valiant Comics, 1989-1994
Editors-in-Chief under Acclaim Comics, 1994-1999
  • Fabian Nicieza (1996–1999)
Editors-in-Chief under the revived Valiant Comics, 2012–present
  • Dinesh Shamdasani - CEO & Chief Creative Officer (2012-current)
  • Warren Simons - Executive Editor & Editor-in-Chief (2012-current)[35]

Awards and recognition[edit]

  • The 1993 Diamond Gem Award for Best Cover was awarded to Joe Quesada for X-O Manowar #0.[36]
  • Archer & Armstrong: First Impressions and Harbinger: The Beginning were both named among The Ten Best Collected Editions of 2008 by Diamond Comics Distributors.[22]
  • Publisher of the Year 2012 by Diamond Comics Distributors in the Diamond GEM Awards.[6]
  • Best Publisher of 2012 by Ain't It Cool News.[37]
  • Best Publisher of 2012 by Comic Impact.[38]
  • Best Publisher of 2012 by Mania.[39]
  • Best Publisher of 2012 by Mind of Scott.[40]
  • Valiant was named The Most Effective Relaunch This Decade by ComicsAlliance in 2012.[41]
  • Comic Book Movie named the Valiant launch one of the Top 15 Comic Book Moments of 2012.[42]
  • Harbinger was named Best Superteam 2012 by Ain't It Cool News.[37]
  • Harbinger was named among the Top 100 Comics of 2012 by Comic Book Resources.[43]
  • Harbinger was named one of the "12 Best of 2012" by A Comic Show.[44]
  • MTV name Harbinger one of "MTV Geek's Best Comic Series Of 2012".[45]
  • X-O Manowar and Harbinger were named among the "Top Twelve Titles of 2012" by Mind of Scott.[40]
  • The A.V. Club named X-O Manowar the Best Revival of 2012.[46]
  • Ain't It Cool News name X-O Manowar Best Ongoing Series.[37]
  • Comic Book Therapy named X-O Manowar one of the 12 Best Comics of 2012.[47]
  • Comic Impact named X-O Manowar Most Improved Book 2012, and series writer Robert Venditti Best New Writer 2012.[38]
  • Truthful Comics named X-O Manowar #7 to their list of the Top 10 Comics of 2012.[48]
  • Aric's battle against members of the Vine Members in X-O Manowar #5 was named among the Best New Comic Book Battles This Year: 2012 by Comic Vine, with an honorable mention given to Bloodshot and Chainsaw's battle.[49]
  • X-O Manowar was named Best Comeback in 2012 by Geekadelphia.[50]
  • X-O Manowar was named Best New Series in 2012 by Why So Blu.[51]
  • Bloodshot and X-O Manowar were named in the Nerdage "Top Ten Comic-Book Series of 2012".[52]
  • Dave Johnson was named Best Cover Artist (Shadowman) in 2013 by Multiversity Comics.[53]
  • Shadowman Volume One: Blood Rites was named Best Graphic Novel in 2013 by The Washington Post.[54]
  • X-O Manowar was named Best Ongoing Series in 2013 by why so blu?.[55]
  • Valiant Entertainment was named Publisher Most Thankful For in 2013 by The Readers of Comic Book Resources.[56]
  • In 2013 Shadowman (#48), Quantum & Woody (#39), and X-O Manowar (#17) were named among the 50 Best Comics of 2013 by What Culture.[57]
  • Archer and Armstrong #15 was named "Best Issue of The Year" in 2013 by Stash My Comics.[58]
  • Shadowman was named "Best Comic (#10)" in 2013 by Buzzfeed.[59]
  • Quantum & Woody was named "Best Revival" in 2013 by Comic Bastards.[60]
  • Archer and Armstrong, Quantum & Woody and X-O Manowar were named among the "Best Comics" of 2013 by Gray Haven Comics.[61]
  • X-O Manowar (#8), Archer & Armstrong (#7), Unity (#4) and Quantum & Woody (3) were named to "Silverwolfs Top 10 Comics of 2013" in 2013 by MoarPowah.[62]
  • Quantum & Woody #1-4 was named "Best Story Arc" in 2013 by Geeked out Nation.[63]
  • Valiant Entertainment was named "Favorite Publisher" in 2013 by Bag and Bored.[64]
  • Valiant 8-Bit Adventure was named "Best Digital First Series" in 2013 by Comixology.[65]
  • Valiant Entertainment was named "Best Publisher" in 2013 by Dave Gillette.[66]
  • Quantum & Woody #49 and Archer and Armstrong #34 were named on the Top 100 Comics in 2013 by Comic Book Resources.[67]
  • Valiant Entertainment was named Publisher to Watch in 2013 by Newsarama.[68]
  • Quantum & Woody was named Best Team-up in 2013 by USA Today.[69]
  • Jordie Bellaire (Quantum & Woody) was named Comics MVP in 2013 by USA Today.[69]
  • Joshua Dysart was named Best Writer in 2013 by Comic Impact.[70]
  • Harbinger was named Best Comic in 2013 by Crave Online.[71]
  • Alejandro Arbona (Quantum & Woody) was named "Best Editor" in 2013 by Multiversity Comics.[72]
  • Valiant Entertainment was named Publisher of the Year by Ain’t It Cool News.[73]
  • Toyo Harada was named Favorite Super Villain by Ain’t It Cool News.[74]
  • Harbinger Wars was named Best Crossover Event by Ain’t It Cool News.[75]
  • Major Charlie Palmer was named Favorite Superhero by Ain’t It Cool News.[75]
  • Quantum was voted Favorite Hero by the Sidekick and Super Hero Awards.[76]
  • Dr. Mirage was voted Favorite Sidekick by the Sidekick and Super Hero Awards.[76]
  • Quantum & Woody won Second Place in the 2014 Excelsior Awards.[77]
  • Jordie Bellaire (Quantum & Woody) won the 2014 Eisner Award for Best Colorist.[78]

Nominations[edit]

  • X-O Manowar was nominated for the 2012 Diamond GEM Award for Best Book of the Year over $3.00.[79]
  • Archer & Armstrong was nominated for the 2012 IGN People's Choice Award for Best New Comic Series.[80]
  • Harbinger: Omega Rising by Joshua Dysart was nominated for the Great Graphic Novels for Teens List from YALSA.[81]
  • 2014 Harvey Award Nominations:[82]
    • Best Writer: James Asmus, Quantum & Woody, Valiant Entertainment
    • Best Letterer: Dave Lanphear, Quantum & Woody, Valiant Entertainment
    • Best Colorist: Brian Reber, Unity, Valiant Entertainment
    • Most Promising New Talent: James Asmus, Quantum & Woody, Valiant Entertainment
    • Most Promising New Talent: Pere Perez, Archer & Armstrong, Harbinger Wars, Valiant Entertainment
    • Best New Series: Quantum & Woody, Valiant Entertainment
    • Best Continuing or Limited Series: Archer & Armstrong, Valiant Entertainment
    • Best Graphic Album - Previously Published: Harbinger Volume 1: Omega Rising, Valiant Entertainment
    • Best Single Issue or Story: Unity #1, Valiant Entertainment
    • Best Domestic Reprint Project: Valiant Masters: Ninjak Volume 1 - Black Water, Valiant Entertainment
    • Best Domestic Reprint Project: Valiant Masters: Shadowman Volume 1 Spirits Within, Valiant Entertainment
    • Special Award for Humor in Comics: James Asmus, Quantum & Woody, Valiant Entertainment
    • Special Award for Humor in Comics: Fred Van Lente, Archer & Armstrong, Valiant Entertainment
    • Special Award for Excellence in Presentation: Harbinger Wars, Josh Johns and Warren Simons, Valiant Entertainment
    • Special Award for Excellence in Presentation: Unity, Alejandro Arbona, Josh Johns, and Warren Simons, Valiant Entertainment

Universes[edit]

The Valiant Universe, drawn by Bernard Chang, inked by Bob Layton, Tom Ryder and various

The Valiant Universe is the fictional shared universe where all comic stories published by Valiant Comics take place.

When Valiant Comics was accquired by Acclaim Entertainment in 1994, all Valiant titles were canceled and Fabian Nicieza, a former editor and writer from Marvel Comics, was hired as senior vice-president and editor-in-chief and given the task of revamping and relaunching the Valiant Comics properties.[citation needed] The new line, known as Acclaim Comics, was launched in 1996 and established a new fictional universe.[citation needed]

In 2000, with Acclaim's Unity 2000 crossover, writer Jim Shooter introduced another alternate universe. According to Jim Shooter,[citation needed] at the end of the crossover, this third universe would have been destroyed and most of its characters killed while the Valiant Comics and Acclaim Comics universes would have merged into a brand new universe.[citation needed]

In 2005, the rights to Valiant/Acclaim's original characters such as Archer and Armstrong, Rai, and Quantum and Woody were auctioned off and bought by Valiant Entertainment[citation needed] while the rights to the three licensed characters (Solar, Magnus and Turok) reverted to Classic Media (then-owner of the Gold Key Comics properties), which was bought out by DreamWorks Animation SKG in July 2012.[83]

Titles[edit]

Valiant Universe[edit]

Acclaim Comics[edit]

  • Bloodshot
  • Doctor Tomorrow
  • Eternal Warriors
  • Killer Instinct
  • Magnus, Robot Fighter
  • Ninjak
  • N.I.O.
  • Quantum and Woody
  • Shadowman
  • Sliders
  • Trinity Angels
  • Troublemakers
  • Turok
  • X-O Manowar

Valiant Entertainment[edit]

∞ Ongoing

Characters[edit]

Trading cards[edit]

During the trading card boom of the early 90s, Valiant Comics, through licenses with the major trading card manufacturers, produced a number of trading card sets and promotional cards to highlight the comics and characters of the Valiant Universe. The major trading card sets include:

Title Year Producer No. of Basic cards No. of Chase cards
Unity card set 1992 Comic Images 90 6
Valiant Era series 1 1993 Upper Deck 120 20
Deathmate 1993 Upper Deck 110 16
Valiant Era series 2 1994 Upper Deck 140 27

In other media[edit]

It was announced in March 2015 that Valiant has signed a deal with DMG Entertainment for an eight-figure partnership in film and TV projects.[84]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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