Friday, June 17, 2016

Valiant Comics


Style Classification: Cohesive Universe

Notable Works: X-O Manowar; Bloodshot; Shadowman; Faith


Jim Shooter tried to purchase Marvel Entertainment in the late 1980s, moving from a management role into an ownership one. It didn't work out, and he was eventually ousted. He left and started his own company, publishing Nintendo Entertainment System licensed properties initially. He and his other investors got a hold of three '60s-era Gold Key properties, Solar, Turok, and Magnus, and started from there to build their own cohesive universe.

By 1991, a stable of dynamic, connected and intertwined characters was existent, and the writing was so good that people began to notice. A psionically gifted tycoon senses the power of a teenager who's just beginning to discover his own powers. The older leader realizes that if this boy fully embraces his powers, innocent people will die. He decides to have this boy killed. Is it in a normal comic trope of calling him in the street as they battle in the skies over a metropolitan area? No; he pays the kid's best friend to shoot him in the head. The murder attempt of Peter Stancheck was unsuccessful, but this is the kid of story Valiant offered.

They also offered the only real independent cohesive universe with intertwining characters outside of DC and Marvel.

The original investors ousted Jim Shooter, then sold the properties to Acclaim, a video game maker looking to take advantage of the comics boom of the early '90s. They got in right as the bubble was bursting, and eventually they shuttered their comics productions, but not before altering some of the titles to be better suited for video game marketing.

In 2012, the resurrection was launched, as new investors bought the rights to the characters and have since been making waves for themselves in a tight market. They have the sci-fi story (X-O Manowar), the action story (Bloodshot), the espionage story (Ninjak), and the horror/magic story (Shadowman). The characters are interesting, novel, and well executed.

Valiant is also getting some attention for the publication of Faith, a comic about a positive super-hero (as opposed to the dark anti-heroes so popular today) who also happens to be a big girl.

(For full disclosure: I am a total Valiant homer.)

It remains the only true cohesive universe to rival those of DC and Marvel.

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