Everyone knows DC and Marvel, when people say “the big two” there is nothing else to add. The big two have been instrumental in the development of the superhero genre and have written the book on shared universes. I have nothing against the big two, I love certain things about them both, but I feel it’s nice to get away from the DC/Marvel monopoly.
I have found Valiant to be a unique yet similar rival to the big two and I also find it to be very under rated. Valiant is similar in the way that their individual books are tied together in a shared universe but their different in the fact that their heroes and villains are unique and original. Some of their titles include, Archer and Armstrong, Harbinger, XO Manowar, Ninjak, and Bloodshot, just to name a few. There are many other characters in the Valiant lineup but one of the things that makes Valiant’s universe unique is that they don’t follow any of the patterned styles the big two have. No tights, no capes, and no matching uniforms; but that isn’t all. The plots and character development are different and even the characters in a team are individual and unique.
Another part of the Valiant equation is the number of books that they put out compared to the big two. Any given month Marvel could have an untold amount of Deadpool or Spiderman comics with just as many storylines that don’t always mesh with their appearances in other books and crossovers. Sometimes there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Valiant has a steady stream of books that come out monthly and the crossovers and guest spots are easy to track and follow throughout the universe. By staying smaller and consistent it makes for a much easier read, there is no worrying if XO Manowar is part of the Book of Death storyline because all of their universe is and it all ties in together.
With all this being said I feel it’s pretty important to go over what has been instrumental in their success, their history and their staff. Some of what I know is from common knowledge gathered through the years but some of it is from Wiki so feel free to check that out and confirm some of it. I remember being a kid and seeing XO in the comic store so I knew that they have been around since the 90’s but I didn’t know that there was a period when they were dormant and weren’t producing. Walk with me through a little timeline of Valiant and see what steps it takes to resurrect a company.
Valiant was started in 1989 by Jim Shooter and Bob Layton, a couple of Marvel defectors, sound like another well known company? Even though the originators need their credit I don’t think it was until they sold off to now defunct Acclaim Entertainment and went dormant in 2004 that the real adventure began. In 2005 Dinesh Shamdasani and Jason Kothari jumped into the role of executive and began the resurrection process. In 2012 they started to put out the product we know and love today. Since 2012 they have been pumping out amazing comics and racking up awards and award nominations like crazy and I feel that is due to the vision of Shamdasani and his willingness to go out and get passionate creators that fit in the Valiant vision. I have been reading Ninjak and Bloodshot Reborn but after watching these video’s on Variant’s and Comicstorian’s YouTube channel’s I have gained a new respect for not just Shamdasani and his staff but for the people behind the creation. In these video’s we can see some of the creators behind the books and watch as Shamdasani’s passion for Valiant comes to the forefront. These videos are what encouraged my writing of this article and the more I see of Shamdasani and Valiant staff the more I feel that Valiant is writing the book on how to become a successful and top notch company. As I said Shamdasani’s passion is evident but his intimate knowledge of his characters and the inner workings of every book is impressive and watching his excitement is contagious.
There is a ton of stuff on the way for Valiant, all of the same characters we know and love but also characters like Faith that are breaking off and getting their own series, and that is not even counting the new characters and books planned. Valiant comics are always going to be amazing but what I’m so very ready for is their cinematic universe. Bloodshot and Harbinger as a movie? Yes, please! Bloodshot is one of my favorite books, seeing him on the big screen is going to be life changing, and when I see Shamdasani talk about it I get a little giggly and excited right along with him. Valiant, take my money please! Valiant is partnering up with Sony Films which I feel may be good but could also be bad. Sony recently partnered with Marvel to get Spiderman back on track and that is actually somewhat encouraging. Sony will more than likely do one of two things; try to take control and butt heads over creative issues, or partner with Valiant like they have Marvel and knock it out of the park. I’m praying that Sony’s lack of superhero presence gives them incentive to get behind these projects and allow Valiant to shine on the big screen as well as they shine on the pages of the comics.