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AICN COMICS: The Irish Rican pays a visit to Valiant Entertainment Offices ! Plus sneak peeks at HARBINGER #1 & X-O MANOWAR #1!!!

 

THE RESURRECTION OF VALIANT COMICS!

A behind-the-scenes look at the return of Valiant Comics!

By Ryan “Irish Rican” McLelland


In 2003, fresh off a well-received retrospective on the Ultraverse, I decided to next take a look at my favorite comic company Valiant Comics. Titled 'Valiant Days, Valiant Nights - A Look Back At The Rise And Fall of Valiant' (archived here - http://www.valiantfan.com/valiant/valiantdays.asp) I recalled the Valiant legacy from its false start producing Nintendo and WWE comics, the launch of its superhero line which included X-O MANOWAR, HARBINGER, and ETERNAL WARRIOR, the reemergence of Marvel Comics legends Jim Shooter, Bob Layton, and Barry Windsor-Smith, straight through to the final years under the Acclaim Comics banner.

The end of the article postulated about any future for the Valiant Universe as I wondered 'Will..another company buy the rights to the characters and publish new adventures under their banner?'. Nearly nine years after writing those words the day of Valiant's resurrection is finally at hand. It took nearly five years of planning but the announcements were flying quickly as I travelled to Valiant Entertainment's offices in New York City. By the time the smoke cleared Valiant announced the relaunch of four books X-O MANOWAR, HARBINGER, BLOODSHOT, and ARCHER & ARMSTRONG along with the announcement that Sony Pictures (who will be bringing us THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN this summer) has acquired the rights to BLOODSHOT with producer Neal Moritz (Fast and the Furious franchise) attached to produce the film.

For a company that hasn't seen print in over a decade it seems that Valiant has suddenly hit the floor running. While the comic world has changed since Valiant last saw print, the return of a small, cohesive universe with actual consequences that mirror throughout each book will be a huge and refreshing change of pace from those that crank out the crossovers weekly and cancel books to relaunch them for bigger numbers the very next month. Even Valiant itself was once owned by a large video game company that ran both their publishing division and video game division right into bankruptcy. The relaunch under Acclaim Entertainment saw vastly different reworkings of Valiant's favorite characters under such famous writers as Kurt Busiek, Mark Waid, Garth Ennis, and Warren Ellis. The results varied and the comics ultimately died a quick death.

The original incarnation of Valiant Comics came at a time when Todd McFarlane, Jim Lee, Rob Liefeld, Marc Silvestri, and a few others were gaining massive fame with their artwork. Valiant countered the flashy artwork with an incredibly deep interconnected universe with characters that would quickly become beloved in a very short time. Twenty years later we have reached once again circled around to see that, more often then not, comic readers are faced with more flash than substance.

So what's different? How is this relaunch any different then what readers remember from the Acclaim Comics relaunch? For starters the characters were bought out of Acclaim's bankruptcy by two businessmen that doubled as huge Valiant Comic fans. Their planning and attention to detail seemed second to none as they worked over the past few years to reach this point of putting out new books. The characters that fans grew to love in the early Valiant Days like Aric of Dacia AKA X-O Manowar and Pete Stanchek of Harbinger were back but updated for today's times.

Valiant is a small company once again with a tightly knit group of comic professionals yearning to give the Valiant Universe the comeback it truly deserves. I sat down the management team of Valiant Entertainment which included Founder & CEO Jason Kothari, Founder & Chief Creative Officer Dinesh Shamdasani, Fred Pierce (Publisher), Warren Simons (VP, Executive Editor), and Hunter Gorinson (Marketing & Communications Manager). The excitement of the announcements could certainly be felt among these five individuals as if they had found the keys to the candy store and were throwing chocolates onto the street for all to feast upon. I've interviewed hundreds upon hundreds of industry leaders and never felt the glow I had as I started talking to these gentlemen.

Comic readers have already seen the non-successful relaunch of Valiant through Acclaim so immediately starting out one has to think how will Valiant Entertainment successfully relaunch its line. It turns out that the strategy isn't far from what made Valiant Comics successful in the first place with a return to the classic characters that made the books famous.

"We're blessed to have eight or nine characters that really are "A-List" characters," states Warren Simons who will oversee the entire line of books as Executive Editor. "Characters like Bloodshot, X-O Manowar, and Harbinger. We really could continue to go down the list with Archer & Armstrong, Shadowman, Eternal Warrior, and Rai. We have all these great characters but the challenge we have is to make the new books accessible and get them into readers' hands."

Founder Jason Kothari, who along with founder Dinesh Shamdasani not only purchased these characters from bankruptcy but are admittedly two of Valiant's biggest fans, is quick to state, "We realize that we need this to appeal to both Valiant fans and new readers. What we're doing is similar to Marvel's Ultimate line with drawing into the original stories and origins but freshening up the art and makes it relevant to today's reader."

For most editors this task would be daunting but Marvel Comics readers will certainly be familiar with Warren Simons and his abilities. Having worked with Marvel's finest characters from Spider-Man to Daredevil, Simons helped characters like Iron Man and Thor rise back into comic prominence winning one of one of his eleven Eisner awards for Best New Series on Invincible Iron Man. Warren shrugs off the awards when it comes to his new task at hand as he boils down what is most important about the Valiant relaunch.

"Our goal is to make the comics as accessible as possible," says Simons. "That's what I tried to do at Marvel whether it was with Iron Fist, Iron Man, or Daredevil. Whether it was a 40 year old icon or a character that was brand new. With Valiant we have a bunch of amazing characters but we haven't published in a long time. The key concepts that made the characters so great in the first place, those core concepts, is what made them so great back in the nineties."

"Our plan isn't to jump into issue 72 of X-O but to show that the high concept driving X-O Manowar is so impressive that even though we haven't published in a bit we'll tap into those great elements. So the hardcore Valiant fans, when they open a book, it's not going to be a character called X-O Manowar but has nothing to do with the high concept of X-O. I think we'll be able to tap into the best of both worlds. We're going to make a great accessible story that taps into the characters that Valiant fans know and love but we can also give it to someone on the street and they'll be able to read and understand it. It's part of our mission statement to have comics that everyone can read and understand."

Kothari jumps right in to talk about the search process for their executive editor, "Dinesh Shamdasani and I worked through a really exhaustive process to find an editor to oversee this line. As you can imagine it is a very attractive position for a lot of editors, to relaunch an entire universe with such a great history. We went through hundreds of comic books..."

"Thousands," Shamdasani adds.

"...to see which books would we be happy with if the new Valiant content was of similar quality," Kothari continued. "You would be surprised how hard it was to find books that were like 'If the new X-O were like this we would be happy.' One of the only editors out there like that was Warren. Warren relaunched Thor, Iron Man, and Iron Fist really successfully. If you read those books they stand out more than anything in the past few years, at least to me they did."

Shamdasani, who as Chief Creative Officer helps shape the world of Valiant, knows exactly what Simons will be bringing to the table, "Warren is really great at taking characters with so much potential and being able to modernize them, find out what the core attributes of the work are and rebuild it."

Hunter Gorinson, another transplant from Marvel working Valiant's PR campaigns, adds, "Warren was able to make sense of the continuity of Thor who has one of the most convoluted, hardest-to-understand origins in the history of comics. As great of a character as Thor is, as much as we love him, making sense of it is one of Warren's strengths."

Warren sat at the table unfazed about what his fellow co-workers were saying about him, deciding to take the conversation away from himself and back to the characters, "I've been here for less than a year but the vision going forward is to make sure that the new readers first impression of X-O MANOWAR, as much as we love (Joe) Quesada's X-O, isn't an old one. That there is a new striking image like what Cary (Nord) is doing on the book - the awesome, badass cover to X-O #1 that is seared right into your brain. So everywhere you look for the next year will be new, modern takes on X-O and the other Valiant characters."

The original Valiant certainly had covers and innovative ideas that made them different from other companies; ideas that helped drive the small company to become the third largest publisher. Ideas like zero issues, chromium covers, free comic books, and trading cards (that could also be sent in for free comic books) became fashionable because of Valiant and the new staff is well aware of this legacy. Born from such bold ideas is a variant they call the QR cover.

It's a simple idea: you read a QR code with a QR reader on your iPhone. You then place your iPhone down on the designated spot on the cover or poster of X-O MANOWAR #1. Thanks to animation work done by Neal Adams Continuity Studios and voice-acting by Chad Jennings, what the reader sees is that your phone lines up directly with X-O's mouth. The effect is mind-boggling as you look down and it is as if the cover is directly talking to you. For the first time you and your paper comic are truly interacting with one another. Before even relaunching their books Valiant has come up with the newest trendsetting innovation.

"We didn't start thinking about the QR Variant or what it could be until we looked at the book and thought this is something that's really special," says Shamdasani. "We thought 'We have to bang the drum hard so what can we do to do that?'"

Gorinson states, "We wanted to make this a fully new experience that comic fans can get excited about and say, "That is a great idea." You don't often get the chance to do something first in comics these days. Anytime you get that chance it is always something worth doing."

"It's part of Valiant's heritage," Kothari adds. "It's a combination of great storytelling and innovative marketing."

The day I arrived at Valiant was the day they announced the second of four titles coming this summer: HARBINGER #1. The original HARBINGER told the story of Peter Stanchek, a young yet overtly powerful Omega Harbinger at odds with his former mentor Toyo Harada. Harada, who runs the Harbinger Corporation (the 'superheroes' of the universe are known as Harbingers and Harada has also taken the name for this corporate entity) and perhaps the world's most powerful Harbinger, strives to stop Stanchek and his crew of powered teenagers while Stanchek and his friends strike out against the corporation. It was a cat-and-mouse tale taken to the highest degree and the intricate story made Harbinger one of Valiant's most innovative books.

The new Harbinger continues the tradition of anti-establishment with its pitch line alone: The generation that has nothing comes face-to-face with the man who has everything. The world outside also plays heavily into the comic book as much as changed in the twenty years since the original Harbinger book.

"Tapping into what's going on outside our window is really one of the key aspects of what we are trying to do with the line," says Simons. "If you are eighteen and looking out at the environment, the bad economy, countries at war, all these things help shape the psyche of a teenager. We really wanted to play into that sort of aspect of how does that shape someone, how does that shape the book, and how does that shape the story that we want to tell."

Publisher Fred Pierce, who had been with the company since the original publications back in the nineties, states, "The kids today feel disenfranchised. So how does a disenfranchised eighteen year old super hero going to respond to the powers that he has versus the activities of him and his friends."

"It's such an important book for us because of how the world is. To have this character that wants to do the right thing, tries to do the right thing, and with his powers is able to do the right thing but keeps doing it in the wrong way because he's young."

With Harbinger's relaunch, audiences are reintroduced to one of the best villains in comic book history: Toyo Harada. Harada is the Lex Luthor/Doctor Doom of the Valiant Universe - a man who is truly authority personified.

"He's a man born out of tragedy and as a result of that tragedy he tries to control everything," says Simons. "Part of his challenge is how does one person try to control the outcome of the entire human race. How does that weigh on a person? How does that affect the choices that a person has to make? If you have to sacrifice a hundred soldiers to save a thousand people, is it worth it? What are the consequences that you as an individual make and how far are you willing to take it? Is your belief system the correct one? Is it correct from Harada to do this? It's interesting to see what Harada represents, what Pete Stanchek represents, and how its a metaphor for whats going on outside in America."

With four titles coming this summer the question of why it is important that Valiant has returned was posed and the answer was not about going out to sell a million copies of each new book but a return to the days that made Valiant great.

"You can tell comics today are made by big companies," says Kothari "They are marketing-driven, not story-driven. I think there is a demand in the marketplace for something that is fresh, original, and true to great storytelling. We're a small company and the vision here is to do the best possible stories at all cost. We have the chance to create something different and better that will speak to readers today much like the original Valiant did in 1992."

Pierce recollects as he adds, "I was there for the early days of Valiant. I was Vice President of Manufacturing and Operations but we were all involved in everything. It was a big team. We would all sit in a room and we would discuss stories. We would discuss what we were doing. It was a very electric time. You would walk in and feel the energy in the office. Bob (Layton) would be teaching people how to ink and having classes at 10 o'clock at night. People would be coloring until 3 o'clock in the morning just to make sure that the books got out on time because none of the Valiant books ever shipped late."

He continues, "I don't if people remember the early days but Valiant weren't immediately successful. It took awhile. Then it skyrocketed and really just took off. There was a sympathetic cord to what Valiant was doing and we're going to strike that sympathetic cord today. We can see it with the editorial. We can see it with the marketing that Hunter has done. A good thing that we understand that we understood back then was it is not what we think should work but what actually works. What the readers want to see. The one other thing is we really aren't competing against the larger companies."

"We are a small company," says Gorinson. "We're flexible and extremely nimble. We're aiming to do the best comic books possible. We're not taking the Valiant name or reputation lightly."

Kothari adds, "When we put together a creative team we don't want people to treat this like a job. Everyone here treats it like it's a mission. We're doing things in our comic that no other traditional superhero comic or publisher can do."

"And we can take more chances on content just like HARBINGER #1 did twenty years ago," says Simons.

One huge questions resonated in my mind. When Valiant first launched its line twenty years back it did so with relaunching Gold Key characters Magnus Robot Fighter and Doctor Solar, Man of the Atom. Jim Shooter, mastermind of the original Valiant Universe, worked with the new Valiant for some time until jumping ship to Dark Horse comics and relaunches of Magnus, Solar, and Gold Key's Turok. With the cancellation of the Dark Horse line one but has to wonder if those characters would return home to the Valiant fold.

"I think Magnus, Solar, and Turok are great characters and if there was a way to include them, we'd consider it," says Kothari. "But I don't think we need them. We have the entire Valiant Universe. We're creating a new version of the Valiant Universe where we can invent new characters and do a lot of exciting things."

"It's not that Magnus, Solar, and Turok aren't great characters," says Simons. "They are great characters. We've all read comics with them and we all love those comics. That being said the Valiant Universe itself, Bloodshot, X-O, Harbinger, Archer & Armstrong, Eternal Warrior, Rai, we have so many characters right now that it's not like we'd lose anything by not having them included."

With the new books, the new BLOODSHOT movie announcement, and a HARBINGER movie still being talked about headed by RUSH HOUR's Brett Ratner I wondered what the Valiant staff itself was truly excited about.

"Personally I'm most excited about is when we get into the second and third arcs it will be very exciting to build the kind of universe that Valiant had originally," says Shamdasani. "Being interconnected, things had consequences, that kind of storytelling. For me I don't see it as much in comics right now so it's going to be very exciting to see that again. Especially when it's new. Like the first time we'll see X-O go up against Bloodshot, it's going to be a big moment for us. We're going to take that and we're going to give it the support that it needs. We're going to do the best we can with it. Those are the things I'm really most excited for."

"I'm also very excited to see the universe come together and create this new mythology," notes Kothari. "This new Valiant universe. I'm also excited to see what Valiant fans think once they see all the work we've been doing all these years."

Gorinson notes, "Getting Doctor Mirage, The H.A.R.D. Corps, Armorines, and all these characters back into the monthly dialogue of comics in the same venue as Batman, the Avengers, and Captain America is an incredibly exciting prospect that gets me pretty jazzed to get up and go to work in the morning."

"Looking at the first year, although the first arcs of the books may appear to be standalones we're doing that on purpose so we can make them accessible to new readers," says Simons. "By the end of year one you'll be able to look at the first years worth of books and everything will have built to a point purposely. We're very cognizant of building something that plays off of each other."

And in a "What is he talking about?" moment Simons first states that he couldn't mention the first thing he was most excited about, but the second thing he did mention was Barry Windsor-Smith. "I'm a gigantic Barry Windsor-Smith fan and I love ARCHER & ARMSTRONG. We may have something in the pipeline with them."

The drive in the eyes of the Valiant staff coupled with their long term planning signals a true return to Valiant storytelling. Time will tell if this is the most important comic launch in the past ten years but Valiant's return comes at a time where we, the readers of comics, have never needed Valiant more.

The Valiant legacy will begin anew with the launch of X-O MANOWAR #1 on May 2nd and the free Comic Book Day issue landing in comic stores on May 5th.

AND...Two lucky readers can win a X-O MANOWAR QR poster, War is Coming promo poster, and limited X-O numbered print by Esad Ribic courtesy of Valiant Entertainment. Simply email AICNValiant@gmail.com. Two winners will be chosen at random!


Ryan 'Irish Rican' McLelland has worked in movies and comics journalism for the past several years before joining the @$$holes here at AICN. Ryan’s comic work has already graced comic shelves with GRUNTS: WAR STORIES, Arcana’s PHILLY, and THE SENTINELS ANTHOLOGY. He rarely updates his blog but when he does it can be read at www.eyewannabe.com. CLICK HERE to help make ThanksKilling 2 a reality!.

Editing, compiling, imaging, coding, logos & cat-wrangling by Ambush Bug
Proofs, co-edits & common sense provided by Sleazy G

Check out AICN COMICS on Facebook and Comixpedia.org!

 
Readers Talkback
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  • March 19, 2012, 11:01 a.m. CST

    FIRST!

    by Aaron Cale

    And sorry, DC, but for every title Valiant announces I will have to drop one of yours

  • March 19, 2012, 11:07 a.m. CST

    I have about 75% of the original Valiant comics

    by Autodidact

    They were pretty good in their day. But aside from Harbinger and some of the Magnus Robot Fighter stuff, they don't really hold up to a re-read 20 years later. X-O Manowar was never any good, just a really lame and tired Iron Man rip-off.

  • March 19, 2012, 11:07 a.m. CST

    Zero issues, chromium covers and trading cards...

    by 3774

    ...were some of the symbols of everything that was wrong with the Chromium Age of comics. Being proud of that kind of crass marketing leaves me perplexed.

  • I know that was getting my hopes up too high. I have no idea what the Valiant Universe is but hey it's interesting looking

  • March 19, 2012, 11:19 a.m. CST

    The Chromium Age

    by Autodidact

    What a good descriptor for the early days of Image comics (mid-1992 to 1996, when the entire industry lost its mind and started chasing speculator-fanboys instead of readers).

  • March 19, 2012, 11:28 a.m. CST

    It's Iron Man meets Highlander/Vikings for like half an issue

    by Autodidact

    Then the viking who discovered Iron Man armour starts to act, dress, and live just like Tony Stark, and the whole "barbarian with alien technology" angle is just sort of forgotten.

  • March 19, 2012, 11:32 a.m. CST

    Hard to explain how much I loved comics in the Image era

    by Autodidact

    I could see that Image and the speculator-fanboy chasing was really degrading the business and would eventually burn itself out as it did, but it was kinda fun while it lasted. Thinking back though, most of the enjoyable reading in those days was back issues. Back then if a story was put into a trade paperback that's because it was something special worth reading (Daredevil: Born Again, Dark Knight Returns, Swamp Thing, etc). These days absolutely everything goes into TPB, as if single issues are the theatrical release and the TPB is home video.

  • The concept still really appeals to me. I'm so tempted to cut myself off from the world for a month or two and make some comics.

  • March 19, 2012, 11:35 a.m. CST

    Writer/Penciller/Inker

    by Autodidact

    Back in the day to me being a penciller on a major title was just like being the star of a major movie. It still kinda is, although there's really no such thing as a "major title" any more.

  • March 19, 2012, 11:43 a.m. CST

    Here's how Valiant fucked themselves last time....

    by Raptor Jesus

    You get to the end of the comic you just bought and it says 'continued in Blah-Blah issue #7'. They did that ALL THE GODDAMN TIME. These people who saw 'well, I have all the original Valiants', well you DAMN WELL HAD TO in order to read ANY OF THEM. All publishers do this now and then, with Valiant it was FUCKING CONSTANT. So please, new Valiant, do NOT start THAT SHIT UP AGAIN.

  • March 19, 2012, 11:44 a.m. CST

    BTW, this is HUGE NEWS

    by Raptor Jesus

    Short of their 'we cross over ALL OUR STORIES ALL THE DAMN TIME' problem Valiant was FUCKING AWESOME. This is a huge deal and I've already put every Valiant title on my pull list.

  • March 19, 2012, 11:51 a.m. CST

    Chromium covers

    by Evan Meadow

    I still think were the best gimmick to come out of the 90's deluge. I just always thought they looked really cool. As for the Valiant guys constantly saying "We don't need Magnus, Turok, or Solar?" As true as that may be, you're going to do nothing but run across a sea of old school Valiant fans who are going to want to see you hopefully find a way to get the rights on them again from the company now owning the Golden Key characters. After the unfortunate situation with Dark Horse, the only place people will feel they'll be handled properly is through Valiant. And if the launch is very successful, maybe they'll actually get the chance to do that.

  • March 19, 2012, 11:51 a.m. CST

    @autodidact I wasn't around for the comics in the 90s....

    by Greg Nielsen

    but it does sound incredibly fun/funny. Also if you do start writing please write Iron Man Highlander and include BGM to Queen and Iron Maiden songs.

  • March 19, 2012, 11:57 a.m. CST

    So far the previews are well drawn and...

    by Greg Nielsen

    are making all the boring generic house style crap I have to look at 90 percent of the big two seem worse. I mean it's not my favorite but between Cary Nord and George Perez. Khari Evans, who isn't quite doing Carbon Grey work here (but crossing fingers), is also making some great looking stuff. Looks like comics may start sucking up more of my money what with Brian Wood doing Xmen and the ultimate line looking better. Oh and still getting a ton of DC and Image...

  • March 19, 2012, noon CST

    I forgot how much Valiant used to crossover

    by Autodidact

    They really did want you to read EVERY comic they put out every month.. I'm now reminded about how this kind of turned me off back in the day. I like comics to be accessible and more or less stand on their own. Continuity can be fun but it should be emergent, not the point of the whole deal. The first 25 issues of HARBINGER (some of the best comics ever made) were pretty well self-contained, with maybe one crossover from X-O Manowar...

  • March 19, 2012, 12:58 p.m. CST

    BWS... Wow

    by Kevin Bastos

    Amazing news. So much thought going into this launch. I hope that this can emulate the early days of Valiant - Unity, & before. Luck to you, kids. I am on for the ride.

  • March 19, 2012, 1:31 p.m. CST

    Eternal Warrior and Rai!

    by Pelicanx2

    After XO were my two faves back in the day. Can't wait for them to bring these two back. Really wonder if not having Magnus will change what they do with Harbingers or if they will even consider the whole idea of Unity this time around.

  • March 19, 2012, 1:42 p.m. CST

    Anybody remember DEATHMATE the Valiant/Image crossover

    by Autodidact

    In my opinion that was pretty much the end of VALIANT and finally got me to stop buying so many IMAGE comics... I only bought a lot of Image stuff for the first 18 months or so... by mid-1994 I had become very choose and wary of anything from IMAGE. Even if the comic seemed decent it would be liable never to have a second issue.

  • March 19, 2012, 2:19 p.m. CST

    X-O haters

    by Aaron Cale

    Ridiculous. It was worth the price for the Bob Layton or Barry Windsor-Smith art alone. These guys are legends. And if it smacks of Iron Man its because the creators responsible for the most iconic Iron Man runs post-Ditko left Iron Man to do this - so they would not be constrained by Marvel editing decisions. If you liked the best Iron Man material from the 80's then you have no reason to call this an imitation, it's the same creators - Layton and occasionally Michelinie.

  • March 19, 2012, 2:34 p.m. CST

    Maybe I spoke too harshly about XO

    by Autodidact

    I suppose being similar to Iron Man doesn't make it bad. I remember being pretty excited whenever a new XO issue came out back in 1993, and I do remember feeling like the design of the suit and the way it sort of was this morphing golden ooze was really well suited to BWS art style. But I'll stick to my guns and say as soon as BWS left the title it became a generic Iron Man rip-off.

  • March 19, 2012, 2:55 p.m. CST

    autodidact

    by Aaron Cale

    Clearly it owes a huge debt to Iron Man indeed. Though, Ditko (who may not have invented the character but did design the first red/gold suit that we all identify with the character instead of the bulky Kirby look) co-signed X-O when he did the art breakdowns in issue 6... beautiful issue. The cover of the chromium #0 that's catching so much flack, I thought, was a good looking Joe Quesada piece as well

  • Thinking back all the wacky and super-expensive covers were really fun and a fairly distinctive part of the period. What really annoyed me were when the same gimmick got copied and overused, or when comics came bagged. Pre-bagging to me seemed like such an exploit of the collector mentality. Obviously you have to buy two... one to keep sealed, and one to read. I got over this pretty quickly during Death of Superman/Funeral For a Friend when they pre-bagged the issue where Clark Kent and Jonathan Kent spend the whole issue shooting the breeze in heaven.. or something. Covers with such elements were usually well designed and basically worth the price of purchase. Too bad that the comics inside were almost invariably crap.

  • I'd love to see issues 0 through 25 as a single self-contained movie focussed on Sting being recruited then hunted and then finally going after Harada. Three act structure ready to roll and seriously it's okay sometimes to tell a story briskly and wrap it up at the end.

  • March 19, 2012, 4:25 p.m. CST

    X-O Manowar ends with a big twist btw.

    by KilliK

    i hated it.

  • good times.

  • March 19, 2012, 5:11 p.m. CST

    by Crow331

    Wow, if they actually did get BWS back that would be really big news! Hopefully they aren't jumping the gun with this ...

  • March 19, 2012, 5:35 p.m. CST

    crow331

    by Aaron Cale

    I have no idea who Cary Nord is but I have been liking what I have seen of the interiors... and some of the covers that have hit the net look fantastic. My concern is will the stories be up to par

  • March 19, 2012, 5:35 p.m. CST

    autodidact

    by MainMan2001

    You should totally disappear and create comics man. I'd read um. Good for your dreams dude.

  • March 19, 2012, 7:01 p.m. CST

    autodidact

    by Aaron Cale

    You are so right about the bagging scheme. Though, I do still wish I had Superman 75 with the bloody S bag unopened. Apparantly one can be acquired for under $20 however. The white-bagged resurrection issue was indeed a joke. As if bringing him back to life after just 1 year was someone equatable to the milestone of killing him.

  • Very surprising.

  • March 19, 2012, 7:15 p.m. CST

    Chromium covers were never the problem.

    by Jaka

    Neither were alt/variant/incentive covers, which also all became extremely popular during that era. <p> No, the problem was the lack of consistent release schedules and the continuous broken promises that "the next issue would be on time", only to be seen six months later, if at all. That's the main reason only a handful of titles made it past the mid 90s with their fanbases fully intact. <p> Second to that would be the quality of what was behind all those special covers. So much promise went to shit, so fast, so many times, that a lot of buyers just gave up. <p> If all those creator owned books/companies would have released consistently good books on an even half regular basis the comic book world would be vastly different today, because more buyers would have stayed in for the long haul. <p> But that's not what happened. They (the creators/small publishers) took the money and ran. The bubble burst. Add to that the endless circle of unnecessary crossovers and events amongst the "big guys" and it's no wonder so many people gave up on the medium. <p> So here we are. The crash was/is a self-made problem. Because it's been proven a million times over that all you have to do is get a quality book out to the public ON TIME and they WILL keep buying it. <p> Steps off soapbox. Sorry, I'm still bothered by the way a lot of these people did business back then. So I'm not always shiny and happy when they decide to jump on the comeback bandwagon. Even if it's somebody else using names from the past.

  • March 19, 2012, 7:21 p.m. CST

    autodidact - You never had to buy two.

    by Jaka

    Because those comics were never going to be worth what the bubble led you to believe they would be worth. The "money" wanted you to believe that, but it was always a lie. Buy one, open the bag, read it, and slide it back into your own bag and board if was that important to you. <p> Beyond that, comic books are SUPPOSED to be read. That's the joy of the art form. Every "book" has "pictures". You're supposed to pick them up, look at them, turn the pages. It's a tactile experience. The reason why the rarest comic books in really good shape go for so much money is because it's an ANOMALY that they didn't get bent, ripped, scratched or soiled. It's not SUPPOSED to be the norm. <p> Jus' sayin'. <p> Burns soapbox. Apologies.

  • March 19, 2012, 7:36 p.m. CST

    Jaka... I knew that. I figured it out early on

    by Autodidact

    .. I didn't actually buy any Superman 75s. Then I bought a couple of the white-wrapped resurrection issues and felt like a compulsive idiot and a marketing victim. I'm the last guy you need to explain to that comics are for reading. I never bought a comic I didn't intend to read (except for that white-wrapped issue of Adventures of Superman... which technically I did buy to read, hence the two copies).

  • March 19, 2012, 8:37 p.m. CST

    Yeah, I didn't mean it to sound like I was lecturing

    by Jaka

    It's just something I've always felt very passionate about. <p> My comic book roots come from the indie/small press world. My first (non Heavy Metal) comic book experiences, ones which would actually become lifelong passions, were Cerebus and Elfquest (the original magazine size B&W issues). That was the early 80s (82, I believe) and I've seldom ventured too far out of that world (Vertigo & Dark Horse was about it outside of indie/small press stuff) until the last 8-10 years (because now the medium guys are doing a lot of the stuff the small guys used to do). <p> I watched the comic book universe build to incredible peaks and then crash all over itself in one ugly incident after another (some of which is STILL spiraling towards it's eventual bottom, imo). I often think I'm over it, almost twenty years later. But then I start writing about it and realize how much the stupidity of the entire situation will always be a part of who I am. <p> Honestly, I'm sure everyone who has stuck with comic books for any length of time, regardless of when they jumped on board, has something to complain about. A "thing" that bugs them. Mine just happens to be the boom/crash during the 90s.

  • March 19, 2012, 10:31 p.m. CST

    Valiant's offenses were pretty minor

    by Voltan

    They did get caught up in some of the alternate cover/issue madness, but for the most part they delivered issues on time with good stories. X-O was great, especially at the beginning. Most of the other books were at least decent quality or better. One of Valiant's problems was shacking up with image for Death Mate. Image couldn't deliver the books on time and fucked up the whole crossover. As a kid who grew up during the '90's comic bubble, I got screwed over too many times by Marvel, DC, and Image. Valiant didn't bother me too much. There's plenty of interesting stories and analysis of the bubble on the web. It was fun to read and look back on what a shitstorm that became. It just sucks that it screwed kid collecters like me and good shops and companies (like Valiant!) got blown up.

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