Thursday, August 1, 2013

The Undefined Gamer Talks About Valiant Entertainment

I have a lot of old comics.
A lot.

      Now, the bulk of these 90s comics in my collection are from 3
companies: DC, Marvel, and Valiant.
      "Wait... Valiant? Who the hell where they?" Many of you may be thinking.
      Back in the 90s, Valiant was a huge competitor for DC and Marvel.
Headed by ex-Marvelites themselves, Valiant fought for the #3 position
in the comic book world amongst Top Cow, Image, and Dark Horse.
Valiant was doing quite well as a company, though I don't particularly
like many of their comics from that decade. Alas, it was not to last,
for the video game company Acclaim would buy out Valiant, canceling
all of their comics and then rebooting Valiant's franchises so that
they could be better adapted into video games.
      The highlight of Acclaim's rule of the company came in the form of
a game where the Valiant character X-O Manowar teamed up with Iron
Man. Acclaim's rule did not last long, as the company went under in
2004. In 2005, the company was rebooted again by some entrepreneurs.
Once again Valiant could focus on comic books.
      Acclaim did much damage to the company. Valiant went from a major
competitor to being listed as a small press. It might've strangely
worked to Valiant's advantage, though.
      You see, lots of Valiant's comics back in the 90s had good
concepts, though they were poorly executed. I don't mean that they
were drawn poorly, in fact a lot of their comics were drawn better
than Marvel's; it's just the writing sucked. Plot holes galore, lapses
in logic, you name it, Valiant's comics had them.
      Now reading some of Valiant's modern comics, it seems that Valiant
has finally worked out the kinks the 3rd time around. I read six
issues of X-O Manowar (2012) and loved it. Their reboot of their
Ninjak character seems extremely interesting, and I intend to read him
next. Though there are some plotholes, they are harmless enough, and
the art is at Marvel and DC's standards. Not only that, but most of
Valiant's characters are actually likeable. Say what you will, but I
always hated 90s Ninjak. I just thought he was an asshole. 2013 Ninjak
however, is reasonable, reliable, badass, all with a strange sense of
      Valiant seems to be on the right track. They're using Marvel as a
model to break into the movies. This could be a huge deal, as non
Marvel/DC Comic book movies almost never do well. There's a reason why
the only non DC/Marvel comic book movies I can think of are Oblivion
(Image) and Witchblade (Top Cow). Hopefully Valiant can follow
Marvel's success and help pave the way for other companies looking to
break into Hollywood.
      So far, Valiant has sold the rights to their Bloodshot comic to
Sony, and like Marvel when they made Marvel Studios, Valiant has also
set up a company-based studio. Their first production, based off of
their Shadowman comic, is set to be released late 2014.
      One thing that I like about Valiant is that they have no household
names attached to their comics. This forces them to sell books based
off of quality alone. It's no secret that if people see Wonder Woman
on the cover, most times said person would just grab it because it has
a familiar face rather than checking reviews to see its quality
(besides, comics are usually under 10 bucks each, so its not like its
a huge investment, unless you're buying giant graphic novels). This,
in turn, lets DC to print off a million Wonder Woman series, because
they're sure to sell. This same fact is a huge factor when selling
movie rights and convincing investors to back a film. They don't care
if its horrible, they only care if it sells.
      Valiant can't rely on this. In a way, it helps because they can't
just rely on the brand; they have to make a quality product. However,
when convincing big studios to greenlight a project, the lack of big
name brands can be a handicap.
      I wouldn't expect to see the Bloodshot movie come out anytime soon
(though apparently a script is being written); for Valiant to truly
break into Hollywood, the success of their own studio seems to be the
key. Valiant's studio can assure that each project gets greenlighted;
whereas companies like Sony have bigger priorities. If Shadowman is
successful, Valiant will be able to adapt more comics and expand.
Following the Marvel model is a smart move, and it just might work.
      Valiant has tons of potential. We already know that it can compete
with the "Big Two" on the comic book cake; for it has already done so
during the 90s. With revamped books with classic characters, I predict
that Valiant will once again regain all of its glory. If Valiant's
movies are successful, we could potentially see a 3rd player enter
Marvel and DC's stranglehold on the comic book movie genre.
      Plus, hey, Valiant was one of the first companies to allow authors
to sell fanfiction of their comics through Kindle Worlds. That has to
count for something.
      I see great things ahead for Valiant.

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