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New Valiant Entertainment plans coherent, interconnected comics universe

by Matthew Price Published: June 17, 2011

In the heady comics boom days of the early 1990s, Valiant Comics were among the hottest properties, with titles including the mysterious Shadowman, the armored barbarian X-O Manowar and the superpowered teens of “Harbinger.”

The new Valiant Entertainment recently announced plans to return to comic book stores in 2012. Warren Simons, former editor of Marvel Comics titles including “Invincible Iron Man” and “Thor,” will bring his skills to the revamped Valiant. Last week, Simons was named executive editor of the company.

In an interview with The Oklahoman, Simons says the company’s focus will be on comic books, though a number of film properties are also in development.

“As a company, we’re about comic books first, and comic book stores are the best way to reach our readership,” Simons said. “Stores and retailers will be our most important fans and advocates. We plan to work with them through traditional channels but also to develop and maintain relationships through new vehicles like social media. There are many different ways we can communicate and stay in touch with our fans and retail partners, and we intend to make use of all of them.”

Simons said he sees a chance for the Valiant characters to make an impact on the modern comic book market.

“These characters still resonate,” Simons said. “Many of the core concepts driving them are brilliant and timeless. And we think there’s tremendous potential to tell incredibly exciting stories with these characters. Valiant has a reputation for breaking molds and avoiding cliches, and we intend to continue pushing Valiant storytelling to the next level.”

And while comic book stores are seen as a focus, Valiant won’t ignore the emerging digital marketplace.

“Because Valiant is relaunching at a time of unprecedented media channels, we have a unique opportunity to produce comics across multiple platforms with forethought and consistency,” Simons said. “We’re excited for the possibilities in the digital space.”

Simons said title announcements weren’t ready yet, but some of the company’s “most beloved characters” will be key to the relaunch.

“There are a number of great characters worthy of the spotlight, including X-O Manowar, Bloodshot, Harbinger, Archer & Armstrong, Eternal Warrior, Rai, Ninjak and Shadowman, to name a few,” he said.

He said the coherent Valiant Universe will be among the selling points for the new line.

“Jim Shooter, Barry Windsor-Smith, Bob Layton and all the talented writers and artists who first introduced the Valiant characters built a three-dimensional universe that readers could dive into headfirst,” he said. “They did this with a set of great ideas that we intend to honor and update. Chief among these is a coherent universe with strong interconnectivity and clear continuity.”

He said the classic Valiant universe will be the “backbone” of new storytelling, but that everything in the line will be re-energized and updated for modern audiences.

“The successes of Valiant’s past will be a guiding force behind our new stories,” he said.

- By Matthew Price
WORD BALLOONS
From Friday’s The Oklahoman

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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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