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Retailers react to planned Valiant Comics relaunch

by Matthew Price Modified: April 22, 2013 at 2:46 pm •  Published: June 7, 2011

Valiant Entertainment, publishers of characters including “Archer and Armstrong” and “X-O Manowar,” have announced plans to return with print and digital comics in 2012.  Oklahoma comic-book retailers say it could be a tough road ahead for the publisher, which in its previous incarnation sold millions of comic books.

Former Marvel CEO Peter Cuneo has become chairman of Valiant.

Gavin Cuneo, principal of Cuneo & Co., has been appointed to Valiant’s board of directors.

“I am excited to be partnering with Peter and Gavin,” said CEO Jason Kothari in a news release. “Peter’s decade of leadership at Marvel, Gavin’s decade of experience on Wall Street and their highly active roles with Valiant

will be integral to our expansion.”

Valiant Comics were extremely popular in the 1990s, featuring characters including Bloodshot and Shadowman. The “Harbinger” series about superpowered teens became a hot collectible in the early 1990s.

“When they first started, people were gung-ho,” said Bart Bush, manager of Atomik Pop comic book store in Norman. “We were selling amounts that were just unheard of. … At one time, that stuff was very popular.”

What happened

After peaking during the comic book boom of the early 1990s, Valiant was later sold to video game maker Acclaim; the Valiant properties were later auctioned off after that company’s bankruptcy.

Valiant Entertainment has been publishing hardcover collections of the original Valiant properties over the past few years and now is set to return with new comics.

“We have been planning the reintroduction of the Valiant titles for some time, and I’m excited to announce our scheduled launch for 2012,” Director Dinesh Shamdasani said in a news release. “Cutting-edge characters and stories were the core tenants of the original Valiant and are the core tenants of the new Valiant.”

Tough market to crack

Buck Berlin, of New World Comics in Oklahoma City, said the company might have a chance to make an impact again.

“Good for them for trying something that worked out really well way back when,” he said.

Berlin said the comics market is tough to crack but thinks Valiant Comics may be able find a way to stand out — and overcome some fan resistance from the latter days of its previous incarnation.

Bush said it was unfortunate the revamped company wouldn’t retain the rights to some characters it published in the 1990s, including Magnus, Robot Fighter and Turok.

Kothari said in an interview with Comic Book Resources that even without those characters, originally published by Gold Key, Valiant has a wealth of characters available.

“Valiant has a huge library of characters, and we have the Valiant Universe, which is larger than any one character as it plays an invaluable role in supporting and strengthening all the characters within it,” he said. “The Gold Key characters are part of our past, but they are not important to our future. Within the Valiant Universe framework, we are initially focusing on nine or 10 of Valiant’s A-list characters, such as X-O Manowar, Bloodshot and Harbinger, and the interactions between them.”

Peter Cuneo said the Valiant characters still have energized fans despite the characters’ absence from comic shelves for most of the past decade.

“Valiant owns and controls a universe of some of the most recognizable characters in the comic world,” Peter Cuneo said in the release. “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.”

- By Matthew Price
From Monday’s The Oklahoman

by Matthew Price
Features Editor
Features Editor Matthew Price has worked for The Oklahoman since 2000. He’s a University of Oklahoma graduate who has also worked at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and was a Dow Jones Newspaper Fund intern for the Dallas Morning News. He’s...
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