Valiant Comics, a company whose success was one of the most prominent stories in the comic book world back in the 90's, is set for a return.
It was announced that Valiant, and its library of over 1500 characters will relaunch in 2012 and will make a go to once again be a potential powerhouse in the comic book industry. Receiving a life-charging transfusion of capital from a private investment firm, Cuneo & Company, LLC, headed by Gavin Cuneo, the new Valiant will seat as Chairman, former Marvel Entertainment CEO and Vice Chair, Peter Cuneo. (Gavin's brother, whose tenure heading Marvel ended with the company's purchase by Disney in late 2009.)
It's a moment that may come as a pleasant surprise to comic book fans who remember the period in the early 90's when Valiant broke through the mold of an extremely gimmick-laden time in the industry with quality storytelling.
What will this mean for the world of comics?
Coincidentally (or ironically) enough, the appointment of former Marvel honcho, Peter Cuneo, echoes the company's original launch when Marvel's former Editor-In-Chief, Jim Shooter had broken away to begin his own venture into the biz. With relaunches of old Gold Key Comic characters from the 60's like Magnus: Robot Fighter, Solar: Man of the Atom, and future first-person-shooter icon, Turok: Dinosaur Hunter, the addition of Valiant's originally-created titles like Harbinger, X-O Manowar, and Rai began to help shape an entire new comic book universe. The titles quickly caught on with fans in an age when the big two (Marvel and DC) had begun to slip into the business of playing to the vanity of collectors with gimmick covers and tired story-lines.
With the company's popularity on the rise in the 1992-93 era, it continued to expand its titles, while prices for early back issues were selling for astronomical prices. For that brief period, it legitimately appeared that Valiant was angling to be the official "number three" in the comic book biz; a feat not easily accomplished. However, the honeymoon would quickly dissipate, as the company began to churn out more titles at ridiculous rates, losing focus on the quality and depth that it initially brought to the table. (A downslide that started after Shooter's exit from the company.)
The shark had jumped by 1994, and Valiant was purchased by video game company, Acclaim, who had intellectual property aspirations for game franchises. (The most notable of which, was 1996 crossover game, Iron Man and X-O Manowar in Heavy Metal.) However, readership continued to plummet soon enough, and after a failed reboot of the entire storyline canon, the company would be dead in the water. The 2005 bankruptcy of Acclaim would eventually cement that status.
Plans have been in motion for the past few years to resurrect the brand once those rights were set loose. Now, we have finally learned the purpose.
According to director (and original Valiant co-founder), Dinesh Shamdasani:
“Cutting-edge characters and stories were the core tenants of the original Valiant and are the core tenants of the new Valiant.”
As Chairman, Peter Cuneo adds:
“Valiant owns and controls a universe of some of the most recognizable characters in the comic world. To this day, despite interruptions in its history, Valiant has retained an extremely passionate fan base. We are keenly focused on bringing the original Valiant Universe back for these fans as well as introducing these powerful characters and stories to new readers.”
Anyone else out there remember the heyday of Valiant comics? Excited for the relaunch?