Valiant Entertainment Archives - Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources
Really I toyed with the idea of merely posting: “Christopher J. Priest and M.D. Bright are together again: what more needs to be written?” But the return of these two creators to comics in particular deserves more discussion than just one sentence. This week marked the release of the first installment in the five-issue miniseries, Q2: The Return of Quantum & Woody #1.
The Weather Channel has been widely mocked since deciding in 2012 to name winter storms much in the way the National Hurricane Center names tropical storms, and this year is little different, with sites like Mashable and Philly.com lining up to take their shots. Whether the 2014-15 names are as terrible as Mashable contends is certainly debatable, we will say this: They may be the nerdiest to date.
While the 2012 list included Gandalf, Rocky, Yogi and Orko (the thunder god of Basque mythology, we’re told, not He-Man’s sidekick), this year’s list offers some pretty stiff competition from the likes of Astro, Linus, Quantum and Thor.
Valiant Entertainment and CKRTLAB Toys will launch a new Valiant Urban Vinyl toy line Oct. 9 at New York Comic Con with the introduction of X-O Manowar.
The publisher will have just 150 X-O figures available at its booth (#2028) for $25 each, while supplies last. The series of stylized figures will be released online and in comic stores in 2015.
Creators | Attack on Titan creator Hajime Isayama estimates that the blockbuster manga series will end in three years. “I’d like to end things quickly, with a tight pace of story developments,” he told Japan’s Da Vinci magazine, “and then I always end up feeling like I should qualify that with a ‘but,’ so for now, I can’t say anything more specific.” [RocketNews 24]
Conventions | Nigeria, the largest economy in Africa, has a thriving entertainment industry, and comics are blossoming there as well. At The Beat, Deji Bryce Olukotun interviews Ayodele Elegba, co-founder of this past weekend’s Lagos Comic Con, about the popularity of comics, what makes the Nigerian comics scene different from others, and the ever-present problem of piracy. [The Beat]
Following in the footsteps of the likes of Brian K. Vaughan and Marcos Martin’s Panel Syndicate, Image Comics and, just last month, comiXology, Valiant Entertainment will allow readers to download its comics as DRM-free digital files.
Through a new agreement with DriveThruComics, Valiant’s monthly titles are now available as PDFs on the same day of their print release. The online retailer will soon host the publisher’s entire catalog of single issues and collections.
“Valiant has some of the most exciting and entertaining comics on the market today,” Matt M. McElroy, DriveThruComics’ director of publishing, said in a statement. “Several members of the DriveThruComics crew were already huge fans of the Valiant characters and creators, so we couldn’t be more thrilled to have these books available on our site.”
In celebration of the new partnership, the first issues of Valiant’s ongoing series are available for free download from Drive Thru Comics for the next 30 days. They include:
Beginning Friday, customers at Oren’s 10 Manhattan locations will be able to order the X-O Manowar Green Tea Blast, described as “a deliciously cold combination of frozen matcha green tea and vanilla perfect for the height of summer.” What’s more, anyone who purchases tea or coffee will receive a Valiant-branded drink sleeve that can be redeemed at any of the three Midtown Comics stores for a free Valiant comic (on the flip side, you can also present a Valiant comic at any Oren’s for 10 percent of your next purchase).
The new partnership kicks off Friday at 3 p.m. with an invitation-only X-O Manowar Green Tea Blast Release Party at Oren’s flagship location in Times Square.
Amazon Publishing has expanded its Kindle Worlds platform to include G.I. Joe and Valiant Entertainment’s Quantum and Woody and Eternal Warrior, opening the door for writers to publish stories based on those properties in the next few months.
Other new additions include Warner Bros. television series Veronica Mars and Ravenswood (a spinoff of Pretty Little Liars), Marcus Sakey’s Abnorm Chronicles novels and Theresa Ragan’s Lizzy Gardner Files books.
“Since 1964, G.I. Joe has inspired the imagination of multiple generations by providing a backdrop of excitement and adventure,” Hasbro’s Michael Kelly said in a statement. “Whether exploring the secrets of the mummy’s tomb, or defending freedom from the evil plots of Cobra, G.I. Joe has been there. It is with equal excitement that Hasbro now enters a new segment of the business by embracing the concept of open-source storytelling, and officially unlocking the world of G.I. Joe to our fans through Amazon’s Kindle Worlds.”
Conventions | Registration begins Friday for the Small Press Expo 2014 Exhibitor Table Lottery, a new system designed to both bring the old process into the 21st century and address rapidly increasing demand. Online registration will continue through Feb. 14, with lottery winners announced on Feb. 21. There’s a good deal of information to absorb, but convention organizers have created a lottery FAQ. [SPX]
Publishing | Reports of the demise of Ape Entertainment turns out to have been premature. The company, which had one of the bestselling digital comics a few years ago with Pocket God, has been quiet of late and recently canceled a number of outstanding orders. However, COO Brett Erwin emerged Tuesday to say the publisher is simply going through a period of reorganization after the departure of CEO David Hedgecock, who now works for IDW. Ape will release a new Fruit Ninja comic at the end of the month. [The Beat]
“You have to be scrappy. There’s a tremendous amount of noise. There’s more good comics coming out right now than probably any point in the history of comics. In order to make Valiant stand apart and let everyone know what we’re up to, you have to get a little bit P.T. Barnum from time to time. We have a tremendous amount of fun doing it, but we also want to make sure that anything that we do is in service to the storytelling of the books. That’s something that we take very seriously.”
— Valiant Entertainment’s Hunter Gorinson, discussing cover gimmicks like the 8-bit animated “variant” for Unity #1 in a lengthy group interview with Comic Book Resources that addresses the publisher’s growth, marketing to retailers, development of stories and events, and more. Unity #1 sold a reported 68,500 copies to the direct market.
In May, I wrote about some troubling signs of creator disputes at Valiant Entertainment, which had obtained the properties of the old Valiant free and clear, despite some buy-back clauses that weren’t honored by former owner Acclaim Entertainment. Artist Kevin Maguire spoke out about his concerns over the digital re-release of his Trinity Angels and other Acclaim-era titles like Quantum & Woody by Christopher Priest and M.D. Bright. Later that month, Maguire met with Valiant CEO Dinesh Shamdasani, and while details were slim, he posted on his Facebook page that, after getting his questions answered regarding Trinity Angels, he was “now cool with them.”
Some questions still remained, however. Shamdasani said in interviews he was in talks with Priest and Bright about new work, but the two remained curiously silent, making no public comments about the relaunched Quantum & Woody by James Asmus and Tom Fowler. Had they signed off on it? Were they or any of the Acclaim creators getting anything for the digital re-release of their work?
I’m happy to say that after the news coming out of New York Comic Con about Priest and Bright returning to their version of Quantum & Woody, any lingering concerns seem to have been settled to everyone’s satisfaction. In their relatively short existence, Valiant Entertainment has demonstrated it’s willing to set things right even when it may not have any legal obligation to do so. Comics blogs often call out industry wrongdoings, and rightly so, but you don’t often see a lot praise when it’s done right. In May, I asked for Valiant Entertainment to do right by its creators and the Valiant legacy, and today, I’m thanking the company for doing so.
Just a few months after unleashing a talking goat cover to Quantum and Woody #1, Valiant has revealed another unconventional, QR-activated variant: the “8-Bit Evolution Variant” to November’s Unity #1.
Valiant calls it the “first fully animated 8-bit cover,” although it’s really a two-and-a-half-minute animated short that can be viewed on a mobile device via a code found on the cover — or watched right now. The clip gives background on the book’s main characters — X-O Manowar, Toyo Harada, Eternal Warrior, Ninjak and Livewire — in the distinctly whimsical 8-bit style, which Valiant has used before on a series of covers. The video was produced in partnership with YouTube channel CineFix, as part of its “8-Bit Cinema” series.
Unity #1, written by Matt Kindt and illustrated by Doug Braithwaite, is scheduled for release on Nov. 13.
There were precious few comic-book video games in the late 1990s that were actually, objectively good. (Remember Superman 64? Terrible, just terrible.) However, one decent game that got both console and PC treatment was Shadow Man, based on the Valiant comic of the same name. Released to solid reviews, the game was published by Acclaim, back when the company held the rights to the Valiant characters.
For those wishing to relive the glory days of Shadow Man and late-’90s gaming, digital game distributor gog.com has made Shadow Man available for purchase for a mere $5.99. To sweeten the deal, Valiant Entertainment has partnered with gog.com to give those who purchase by Sept. 24 a free digital copy of Shadowman #1 through comiXology, and a $5.99 discount off an upcoming Shadowman T-shirt design through Cinder Block.
The Shadow Man game centered on literature student-turned-hitman Michael LeRoi, whom players controlled to stop the villainous Legion and “The Five,” five serial killers, from bringing the apocalypse to the living world. The game slightly tied in to the Acclaim Shadowman title of the time by incorporating the Deadside concept created by Garth Ennis. The game did well enough that a sequel was released in 2002: Shadow Man: 2econd Coming.
Amazon Publishing launched its Kindle Worlds store this morning with more than 50 works, including Shadowman: Salvation Sally by Tom King, X-O Manowar: Noughts and Crosses by Stuart Moore, and Harbinger: Slow Burn by Jason Star, all inspired by the Valiant Entertainment properties. In addition, the Self-Service Submission Platform is now open, allowing writers to publish stories based on certain licensed properties and earn royalties in the process.
Billed as the first commercial publishing platform for fan fiction, Kindle Worlds was announced last month as “a place for you to publish fan fiction inspired by popular books, shows, movies, comics, music, and games.”
When Amazon Publishing unveiled Kindle Worlds last month, one of the first questions in comics circles was which publisher would be the first to sign on to the program, which allows fan-fic writers to earn royalties for certain corporate-approved stories. Now we know the answer: Valiant Entertainment.
The recently revived publisher was announced this morning as part of the second wave of licensors, alongside bestselling authors Hugh Howey (Silo Saga), Barry Eisler (John Rain novels), Blake Crouch (Wayward Pines) and Neal Stephenson (Foreworld Saga). Under the agreement, writers will be able to create and sell stories inspired by Bloodshot, X-O Manowar, Archer & Armstrong, Harbinger and Shadowman, with more properties expected to be added later.
In addition, the Kindle Worlds Store will launch later this month with more than 50 commissioned works, including “Valiant-branded” short stories by Jason Starr, Robert Rodi, Stuart Moore and others. The Kindle Worlds self-service submission platform will open at the same time.
Veteran artist Kevin Maguire, who’s been vocal with his concerns about the Valiant Entertainment revival and the treatment of the original creators, reveals his questions were answered over the weekend at Phoenix Comicon.
“… Had a pleasant chat with Valiant CEO Dinesh Shamdasani who gave me all the information I was looking for vis-a-vis Trinity Angels,” he wrote last night on his Facebook page. “I am now cool with them.”
Following the announcement in March that Valiant planned to relaunch Quantum and Woody, the mid-1990s series by Christopher Priest and Mark Bright, Maguire publicly recounted efforts by the two creators to purchase the rights to the property, and his own attempts to reclaim Trinity Angels, following the 2004 closing of Valiant Comics successor Acclaim Entertainment. The rights to the Valiant Comics library were acquired in 2005 by the current owner, Valiant Entertainment, which began relaunching the original titles in 2012.
“I will announce right now that if they have any intentions of re-vamping Trinity Angels without me, I will be 1000% against it,” Maguire wrote in March. “I should have the rights to the material, just as Priest/Bright should have the rights to Quantum and Woody.”
The new Quantum and Woody, by James Asmus, Tom Fowler and Jordie Bellaire, premieres July 10. In a March interview with CBR, Valiant’s Shamdasani said the company has spoken with Priest and Bright “about a bunch of different projects — most recently one that I’m super-excited about.” “We have a couple things up in the air with Chris, and we’re pulling to circle back and solidify them now that we have the new series up and running in a place we’re happy about.”