PUBLISHER PROFILES: Valiant Entertainment
Founded In: 1989 under Valiant Comics.
Originally Founded By: Jim Shooter (former editor-in-chief at Marvel) and Steven Massarsky
Modern Founders: Dinesh Shamdasani and Jason Kothari
Company History: 1989 – 1994: Valiant Comics; 1994 – 2004: Acclaim Entertainment; 2004 – present: Valiant Entertainment
In 2005, a group of entrepreneurs led by Dinesh Shamdasani and Jason Kothari raised financing and acquired the rights to the Valiant Comics library from Acclaim Entertainment’s estate, forming Valiant Entertainment (VEI). But it wasn’t until 2007 that they gained uncontested rights to the full Valiant library. That same year, Valiant hired former Marvel & Valiant Editor-In-Chief, Jim Shooter, to write new short stories that would accompany hardcover reprints of classic Valiant Universe stories. Two of the three collections were named among the “The Ten Best Collected Editions” of their respective years of publications. In August 2011, after hiring several executives from Marvel Comics and Wizard Entertainment, including current Valiant Publisher, Fred Pierce, and current Valiant Editor-in-Chief, Warren Simons, former Marvel Comics CEO and Vice Chairman, Peter Cuneo, was brought on board as Valiant’s Chairman and an investor in Valiant Entertainment, with Gavin Cuneo serving as CFO & COO. Dinesh Shamdasani continued to serve as Chief Creative Officer and Jason Kothari as CEO. In January 2013, Valiant announced that Chief Creative Officer and Co-Founder, Dinesh Shamdasani, had been promoted to CEO & Chief Creative Officer.
In May 2012, Valiant Entertainment began publishing new monthly comic books based on the Valiant Comics universe of characters. In an event dubbed “The Summer of Valiant” in 2012, Valiant Entertainment launched the Valiant Comics universe with four ongoing titles, X-O Manowar, Harbinger, Bloodshot and Archer & Armstrong, one launching each month for four months. X-O Manowar premiered May 2, 2012, with the creative team of writer, Robert Venditti, and artist, Cary Nord. The first issue of X-O Manowar received over 42,000 preorders, making Valiant the largest new publisher launch in over a decade. The first issue of X-O Manowar eventually sold through 4 full-priced printings and 3 additional reduced-priced printings. The release of X-O Manowar was followed by Harbinger, launched in June 2012 by writer Joshua Dysart and artist Khari Evans; Bloodshot, launched in July 2012 by writer Duane Swierczynski and artist Manuel Garcia; and Archer & Armstrong, launched in August 2012 by writer Fred Van Lente and artist Clayton Henry. Valiant Entertainment extended “The Summer of Valiant” 2012 event and added a fifth ongoing title with Shadowman in November 2012 by writer, Justin Jordan, and artist, Patrick Zircher. The comic debuted as the number 1, non-Marvel and/or DC comic of the month.
In May 2013, Shamdasani announced “The Summer of Valiant” 2013, during which the company would launch two new ongoing titles, Quantum & Woody and Eternal Warrior, change the story direction of X-O Manowar and Bloodshot, and reveal the origin of Bloodshot in a special zero issue. Quantum & Woody, written by James Asmus and drawn by Tom Fowler, launched in July 2013. Several of Valiant’s launch titles reached their planned conclusions in 2014, with Harbinger, Bloodshot, and Archer & Armstrong all concluding. Valiant celebrated the milestones by giving each title an oversized anniversary issue 25, and hinting at new directions for the characters. Ongoing series such as X-O Manowar, Unity and Rai continued, and were coupled with limited series such as Harbinger: Omegas, Eternal Warrior: Days of Steel, The Death-Defying Dr. Mirage, and The Delinquents, and the Armor Hunters event story.
Following the conclusion of Armor Hunters, Valiant announced its next initiative – “Valiant Next”. Launching in December 2014 with the mini-series The Valiant, it continued through 2015 with the ongoing titles Ninjak, Imperium, Ivar, Timewalker and Bloodshot Reborn as well as Valiant Entertainment’s first brand new character in the launch of the mini-series, Divinity. For the Summer of 2015, Valiant announced the event mini-series, Book of Death, accompanied by one-shots Book of Death: The Fall of Bloodshot, Book of Death: The Fall of Ninjak, Book of Death: The Fall of Harbinger and Book of Death: The Fall of X-O Manowar and mini-series Book of Death: Legends of the Geomancer. Book of Death was one of the best-reviewed comics of the year and the biggest selling independent crossover event of the decade. Spinning out from Book of Death, the new ongoing series, Wrath of the Eternal Warrior, launched in November 2015.
Valiant’s CEO, Dinesh Shamdasani, announced at Valiant Summit 2016 that having accomplished both a successful launch and having firmly established itself in the industry, Valiant would spend 2016 focusing on expanding its’ universe of characters beyond its core titles. Valiant would launch brand new characters in titles Britannia and Savage, expand Divinity in two sequels — Divinity II and Divinity III: Stalinverse — and elevate supporting characters from the Harbinger title in two new series — Generation Zero and Faith. Faith headlined a titular four issue mini-series which launched in January and garnered significant media interest. The Faith mini-series became one of only a handful of series in the past decade to reach a fifth printing.
To coincide with the launch of publishing in 2012, Valiant introduced a number of marketing initiatives. Most prominent of these is the Pullbox Program and the QR Voice Variant or Talking Cover. The Pullbox Program, encourages readers to start a pullbox subscription for the title being launched with their comics store in order to obtain an exclusive alternate cover version of the comic. The Pullbox Program has become an industry-standard marketing practice used by many publishers. The QR Voice Variant utilizes a QR code that is printed onto the comic book cover. The reader scans the QR code with their smart phone and places the phone over the mouth of the figure on the cover. The phone then plays a video of the figures mouth giving the impression that the figure has come to life and is talking to the reader. In 2014, Valiant announced several new partnerships with digital distributors, including Visionbooks, to distribute a form of animated Valiant comic books for digital devices. In 2015, Valiant announced that they had partnered with Sony Pictures to produce five films based on both the Bloodshot and Harbinger comic books. The films will be produced by Valiant’s Dinesh Shamdasani, along with Original Film’s Neal H. Moritz and Toby Jaffe.
Awards and recognition
- Valiant was named “Comic Book Publisher of the Year – Under 4%” by Diamond Comics Distributors in the Diamond GEM Awards in 2013.
- Valiant was named “Best Publisher” by Ambush Bug, Matt Adler and The Dean of Ain’t It Cool News in Day One of the 9th Annual “AICN Comics @$$IE Awards” in 2013.
- Valiant was named “Best Publisher 2012” by Sheldon Lee of Comic Impact in the “Best of 2012” awards in 2013.
- Valiant was named “Best Publisher” of 2012 by Joel Rickenbach of Mania in the “The Best Books of 2012” article in 2013.
- Valiant was named “Publisher of the Year” of 2012 by The Mind of Scott in 2013.
- Valiant was named “Most Effective Relaunch (This Decade)” by the staff of ComicsAlliance in the “Best Comics of 2012” column in 2013.
- The relaunch of Valiant was listed as number 15 by Superherostuff of Comic Book Movie in the “Top 15 Comic Book Moments of 2012” feature in 2012.
- Valiant was voted number 1 in the “Which Comic Publisher’s Output in 2013 Were You Most Thankful For?” poll on Comic Book Resources in 2014.
- Valiant was named “Favorite Publisher of 2013” by Cory Thrall of Bag and Bored in the “Best of 2013” column in 2013.
- Valiant was named “Best Publisher” by Dave Gillette of Ghost Writings in his “Best in Comics of 2013 – Best Publisher” post in 2013.
- Valiant was named “Item to Watch for 2014” by Rob McMonigal of Newsarama in the “The Best of Best Shots 2013” column in 2013.
- Alejandro Arbona (Quantum & Woody) was named “Best Editor” by Matthew Meylikhov of Multiversity Comics in his “2013 in Review: The Best of the Rest” column in 2014.
- Valiant was named “Best Publisher” by Optimous Douche and Ambush Bug of Ain’t It Cool News in Day One of the 10th Annual “AICN COMICS 10th Annual @$$IE Awards” in 2014.