No doubt about it Marvel is the big cheese when it comes to Superhero movies. DC is a distant second having only been able to bring two of their heroes to the big screen successfully. Another company wants in on the action hero feast and it's not the first time that Valiant got into the pie eating contest. In case you haven't heard of them here's a little history.
Back in 1988 former editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics Jim Shooter, former manager of the Allman Brothers Band Steven J. Massarsky, and a group of investors attempted to purchase Marvel Entertainment. That didn't work out so they got some investors and started their own company Voyager Communications then they recruited a bunch of writers and artists from Marvel, including Barry Windsor-Smith, creator of Wolverine's "Weapon X" , and Bob Layton, a long-time writer of Iron Man. They Licensed a few characters from Western Publishing including Turok and Dr. Solar. Then beggining In 1992, Valiant released its first set of original titles, including Harbinger, X-O Manowar, Rai, and Shadowman, followed by a major crossover event called Unity, during which Eternal Warrior and Archer & Armstrong were launched.
Harbinger #1 was listed on the top ten list of Wizard Magazine for a then record eight consecutive months and was eventually named "Collectible of the Decade". It was Jim Shooter's vision for an ideal comic book universe: character-driven, strong continuity with an emphasis on science fiction, long-reaching consequences and internal consistency. Which led to him getting a lifetime achievement award for co-creating the Valiant Universe at the same ceremony where Stan Lee was honored for co-creating the Marvel Universe.
It's just a shame that by the mid 90's he left the company, they sold out to a video game company and revamped all their characters to fit the games and eventually they went bankrupt in 2004.
The story didn't end there though a couple of young fans and entrepreneurs Dinesh Shamdasani and Jason Kothari raised financing and acquired the rights to the Valiant Comics library from Acclaim Entertainment's estate, forming Valiant Entertainment. A couple of lawsuits and legal battles over characters later and they began publishing four new ongoing titles as part of an initiative dubbed the "Summer of Valiant" in 2012.
Not only was it a commercial success, They received Publisher of the Year. They were also nominated for Book of the Year at the Diamond Gem Awards. Among many other awards and accolades for the relaunch of these characters.
After a kick off like that it would only make sense that they would want to go for the big score in the movie business. Why not? They have some great characters in their universe.
The first project they put in development back in 2012 was Bloodshot produced by Neal H. Moritz for Columbia Pictures. Bloodshot started out in the Valiant universe as mob killer Angelo Mortalli, he becomes part of a secret government experiment to create the ultimate killing machine. His memories are erased and he is injected with microscopic computers called nanites. As he tries to rediscover who he was, he battles both the mob and the police.
Then in October of 2012 it was announced that Shadowman was getting his own movie written by J. Michael Straczynski (Thor, World War Z) he had this to say about it-
"Shadowman is a character who lives in a unique world that mixes the modern world with that which is most ancient within us, The New Orleans vibe and history, and the struggle to find a balance with the personality within him, is a perfect dramatic vehicle..."
Then in February this year they took another step to the table, Elbowing in on Marvel Studios territory. By having the rights to the Harbinger series which had been optioned by Paramount returned to them and according to Variety -Valiant is moving forward on the film without studio involvement.
Apparently, a new screenplay draft about these "Psionic" teenage outcasts had been commissioned by Texas Chainsaw 3D writer Stephen Susco with hopes of keeping director Brett Ratner involved. I don't know how good that is (Ratner directing) but check out the version done by a fan This would make a Great movie.
In all, 5 Valiant properties are in development. They have been doing all kinds of marketing for their company ranging from having Talking comic book covers to actually designing the uniforms for the 2014 Olympic Luge team.
The other properties in development are Ninjak, an elusive spy and master assassin. Ninjak has the playboy and espionage side of James Bond with the over-the-top violence and fighting of '90s comics.
The one I can't wait for is Archer and Armstrong, not just because they're the most unlikely superhero duo in all of comics. Archer, a master martial artist born into a stark religious home schooled cult, and Armstrong is an immortal being with enhanced abilities thanks to his magic satchel that he carries with him. He's also the brother of the Eternal Warrior.
It's because I think I'm perfect for the part! lol
"What, No cosplay for Mr. Gray?"
So if you're going to Durham, NC for the NC Comic con this weekend (I hear they have free giveaways of the premier issue of "Unity") Please ask them when auditions for Armstrong are going to be held and let me know!
So what do you think, are you a fan of The Valiant Universe? Which characters there would you like to see up on the Silver Screen? XO-Manowar? Quantam and Woody and their Goat? I'm no harbinger so let me see what you think