Valiant Entertainment: State of the Union

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VALIANT ENTERTAINMENT: STATE OF THE UNION

By Ryan “Irish Rican” McLelland

 

When Valiant Comics returned to publishing in 2012 they took the comic book world by storm releasing hit after hit. In the past two years books like X-O Manowar, Bloodshot, Harbinger, Quantum & Woody, and more have been satisfying the cravings of fans who were not only looking for top-notch artwork but relevant storytelling told in a magnificent fashion.  Valiant has proved that not only can a resurrection happen but that this company can be a major force in the world of comics.

 

This summer sees the release of the universe’s crossover Armor Hunters, the release of several new books, and the continued great stories from their stable of titles.  Old classics from the 1990s are seeing print again with the Valiant Masters series.  Movies and toys are on the way.  It’s a great time to be a Valiant fan.

 

When I visited the offices of Valiant Entertainment in New York City the staff at Valiant were more than happy to sit down and talk to me about their entire line and what is upcoming for the company.  For this interview I sat down with Dinesh Shamdasani (CEO and Chief Creative Officer), Fred Pierce (Publisher), Warren Simons (VP Executive Editor), Hunter Gorinson (Director of Marketing, Communications, and Digital Media), and Atom! Freeman (Sales Manager) to talk up all things Valiant.

 

RYAN MCLELLAND: I’m going to start off very broad: In regards to your overall publishing plan how successful has the past two years been for you since your relaunch?

 

FRED PIERCE:  From a publishing plan perspective we have slightly exceeded our expectations.  We were accepted right out of the box into the industry.  They loved us.  A lot of it is due to the excellent work from the editors, writers, and artists.  A little bit has to do with us the business people.  But the industry absorbed us right away.  They looked at what we did and they loved it.  When we wrote up the business plan three years ago we couldn’t have imagined that we would have been as well received – for two reasons.  One was the Valiant fans from the day, who became tremendous ambassadors, who suspected that we wouldn’t live up to the great expectations that they had.  But we did.  Two we had a lot of retailers who got behind us and then there were a lot of retailers  who are of an age that they were fans in the day too and they got behind us.

 

HUNTER GORINSON: I’d say we’ve been wildly successful.  I think when you read reviews online, especially that first wave of books that came out, there were people who were like X-O Manowar, Ninjak, Zephyr – these are some of my favorite characters in comics today and I can’t believe that the year is 2013 and I’m saying that about these books.  We took people by surprise, it was a right hook.  It was a very good time in the industry for us to come back.

 

DINESH SHAMDASANI:  We’re so hard on ourselves.  The thing we always tell ourselves that we are the only ones who don’t think we are successful because we are always trying for that next level.   You just said that Rai #1 is maybe the most beautiful art we’ve ever put out and I think a lot of people will think that.  But we are always trying to do better and better.  We’ve hit every goal that we’ve assigned ourselves and all we do is give ourselves new goals to hit.

 

ATOM! FREEMAN:  I deal with a lot of retailers.  Most of them are shocked that we have done as well as we’ve done.  We have some retailers where we’ve become a big part of their planning and budgeting, and that’s been great.  We had one retailer that opened his doors the same week that X-O Manowar #1 came out and, at his store, we are as strong as any other publisher.  So we have a lot of those great success stories.  But like Dinesh said, if you ask me if we’ve nailed it the answer would be no.  We’re not there yet.

 

DINESH: That’s the store we did that signing at?

 

ATOM!: Yes.

 

DINESH:  We do signings every now and then.  You go to Midtown Comics or any of the big stores in New York and you see Jim Lee or Dan Didio do these massive signings with hundreds of people.  We did a Quantum and Woody signing there and it was that size.  Now this is a small store, it’s not Midtown Comics.  But there was hundreds and hundreds of people waiting in line and it was amazing to see.

 

ATOM!: So today, yes, we’ve exceeded lots of expectations but there’s no one in this room that is content.  If you ask us are we where we want to be the answer is not yet.

 

RYAN: How pumped are you guys for Rai #1?  As I said it is the simply the best looking book you’ve ever produced.  Ever.  

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DINESH: Even after the stuff you’ve seen here can you still say that? (RYAN NOTE: Dinesh showed me a slew of upcoming artwork from Valiant’s upcoming books – the artwork was incredibly sweet)

 

RYAN: I can still say that.  The secret stuff looks amazing but with Rai #1 you hit it right out of the park.  How excited are you to get this into the hands of the fans?

 

 

WARREN SIMONS:  We’re all excited up here.  We think it’s an exceptional #1 book.  The writer Matt Kindt, I hate to throw the word visionary around, but I think he’s put together quite the extraordinary story about Japan in the year 4001.  As you know Clayton (Crain) is an extraordinary artist and he’s doing some beautiful digital painting work.  We couldn’t be happier with how its turned out.

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DINESH: It’s going to be fun.  It’s going to be fun to see the reaction that people have.  At the close of issue one there’s something that I’ve certainly never seen in comics before.  It’s a small thing but, as Warren puts it, an interesting new vision for how to use panel design.  The opening to issue two I think is equally fun.  It’s one of my favorite sequences that we’ve done.  I’m excited for people to come in, jump into the world that Matt Kindt and Clayton Crain are building because its such a fully realized and different world.

 

(RYAN NOTE: Dinesh finishes and leaves the room)

 

ATOM!: It’s such a dense world.  Every page has so many ideas on it.  It’s hard to digest quickly.  We have some that’s called the Plus Edition that we’re doing for Rai #1 and there’s this work that I think he’s (Dinesh) going to go get.  Matt just turned in this map where he visualized what Japan in 4001 looks like.  It’s just incredible.  That’s the kind of density and thought that’s in every page of this book.  There’s so much there.  This is really going to be an incredible project.

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(RYAN NOTE: Dinesh returns with a massive two page, four panel map of Japan 4001.  Japan is once again an enormous single structure, massive in size and scope)

 

WARREN:  I had the chance to talk with Clayton for a bit and we were talking about a couple of panels in the book.  He’s explaining to me the different filters that he’s used to help make the raindrops more realistic and three dimensional.  He has to alter each raindrop individually.  It was pretty impressive to sit down with Clayton and hear him talk about his art process.  What you’re holding in your hands now is a four page wraparound of Matt’s take on Japan in 4001.  He’s had this on his kitchen table for a couple of weeks now, chipping away slowly.  Every time he does a bit more he’s been sending me a photo of it.  It’s really some beautiful stuff.  That will be part of the Pullbox Plus Special which will have sixteen additional pages including another five page story from Matt featuring a character named LuLa Lee who is a cartoon character in Japan in 4001 which is basically used to help pacify the population.  We have a four page cartoon and then we pull back out and we meet a little girl named LuLa Lee whose parents named her after the cartoon.  It’s just a little glimpse into Japan but it tells so much more about the story.  We also introduce a character in the issue named Spylocke and he’s sort of this James Bondesque character.  He’s a fictional character that exists in this world and Rai encounters him.   He doesn’t understand why he encounters him because it’s a fictional character.  It throws Rai through a loop.  But then we discover that this character has existed in Japan for hundreds of years and his movies have been really popular.  We have a two page vignette that’s taken from a Spylocke movie and then we have a review of that Spylocke movie where the critic basically pans it.  So I think we have a lot of fun stuff coming up in the Pullbox Plus Special.

 

DINESH: What’s really a fun opportunity is that this is the first time we are really delving into the year 4001 which is an intrinsic part of the Valiant universe from the world the Jim Shooter, Bob Layton, David Lapham and all those guys created.  We haven’t really tapped that properly so the opportunity is to really flesh out the world looks like there.  So we wanted to experiment with the Plus Edition which further builds out this universe.  So you get the Plus Edition you get the twenty-two page story and you get other vignettes that don’t effect the core narrative, it just gives you a better sense of the world of 4001.

 

RYAN: Why set Rai in the future in the first place?  Why is it important to make it in 4001?  You can obviously have this character in the present Valiant universe.

 

WARREN: We actually did talk about it about possibly bringing Rai into the present day.  It’s one of the initial ideas that we kicked around.  I think one of the great things about the Valiant universe, about the initial incarnation of it that Shooter, Layton, and all these iconic visionaries came up with, is that there is a present, a future, and a past.  And you can see how things happening in the future are having an effect on things happening in the present and in the past in the books.  That’s something that Matt has really tapped into particularly in Rai with the correlation of Rai and Unity.  When we were talking about different ideas and what we were going to do with the character one of the ideas that we came up with was whether or not he’ll be in the future or be in the present.  Matt just came up with this pitch that absolutely and positively knocked our socks off.  He really not only defined what Japan was in the year 4001 but really what the entire Valiant universe could be at this point in time.  We were just so excited by that, it would have been silly of us to not have run with it.

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FRED:  One of the things that I think we do uniquely well is that we have characters who are eternal.  It’s hard to understand an eternal character if you were just looking at him today.  Your seeing these eternal characters from thousands of years ago and now you’re seeing some of our characters two thousand years hence.  I think we do that as well if not better than anybody else who does this.  Now you get a feeling for someone living in the present day who has lived for a long time and how it affects them personally.

 

DINESH: Comic books are a great medium to tell stories that take place so far in the future.  This is literally so far into the future it’s alien to us.  It opens up so many doors when you have a writer like Matt Kindt and an artist like Clayton Crain, you want to give them every opportunity to really paint a big tapestry  and come up with the craziest ideas.  They are taking full advantage of that.

 

RYAN:  How far in advance do you have it mapped out? Rai was teased to the public years ago now and its taken a couple years since you teased the character to the readers to where we are now finally seeing the book.  Is the Rai you teased in year one just a concept or has it been fleshed out and worked on since that time?

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WARREN: Well we have a time machine in the office that we can go back, forwards in.

 

ATOM!: Did you mention that we’ve never missed a ship date on books?  It’s not because we don’t get late but it’s because of the time machine!

 

RYAN: Hey is that true?  That no book has ever shipped late?

 

ATOM!: Not a single issue.

 

WARREN: I believe its one hundred and forty issues that have shipped on time.  And counting.  Which is certainly a testament to everyone’s work.

 

ATOM!: And the time machine.

 

WARREN: We try to get very far ahead of where we are.  We’re a small company, we’re flexible, that allows us to zig and zag.  But we try to plan pretty far ahead.

 

DINESH: I like that answer because it completely dodged your question.

 

RYAN: If it takes two to three months to create the art for one issue of Rai is there a point where it is going to need to go on hiatus or bring in another artist to fill in for an arc?

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DINESH: Clayton’s well ahead in the book.  He’s going to do the entire first arc.  We have some interesting stuff coming up after that.  And you’ll be seeing more of Clayton Crain on Rai.  Definitely.

 

RYAN: Why push Rai #1’s release date up?

 

HUNTER:  Free Comic Book Day.  Each year we’ve had one big release on shelves for Free Comic Book Day.  First year was X-O Manowar #1.  Last year it was Harbinger Wars.  This year it’s Rai. Generally those are big, huge books that we are pushing for our monumental releases that we like to have on shelves for Free Comic Book Day.

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FRED: When you have so many people come into the store – the retailer might not think we are the best book, but we’re one of the great books.   When someone asks ‘What’s a good book to go with?’ . if it’s a Rai #1 you can start off fresh.  We think a lot of them will come off the shelves just because it’s Free Comic Book Day.

 

RYAN: This summer’s huge crossover is Armor Hunters which goes across eighteen issues.  What exactly is the series about and how does it affect the lives in Harbinger, Bloodshot, and X-O Manowar?

 

WARREN: What we’ve seen over the past couple years is that the X-O Manowar has really become the most coveted possession in the Valiant universe.    Everyone’s been trying to get a hold of this thing.  But what we discover with Armor Hunters is that the suit might be a bit of a poisoned chalice.  The armor is much more dangerous and possibly toxic then anyone’s ever thought before.  More powerful which poses a bigger threat to the universe.  What we do is we meet this team of Armor Hunters that are a part of this corps of soldiers who are tasked with hunting down and destroying these X-O armors because they are basically a plague that spreads throughout the universe.  It can basically take out planets.

 

DINESH: Which is so smart of (X-O writer) Rob (Venditti) because he completely flipped it. For twenty five issues everyone is trying to get in the armor and he says ‘Nope.  It’s actually the most dangerous place to be.’

 

WARREN: So now we have this group of soldiers, mercenaries, warriors, and bounty hunters that basically are tasked with bringing down this armor.  That’s basically what the genesis of the story is, that they arrive on Earth and something tips them off to the whereabouts of where the armor is.  X-O Manowar, Aric, is basically working for America now.  So they come and say, “Let me have the armor” and America isn’t exactly keen on that.  That’s basically where Aric’s story begins.  The main story itself takes place in Armor Hunters #1-4 and we are trying to make those books as successful as possible.  If you want the full story, if you buy every issue, it’ll enhance the story and give you a greater understanding of what’s happening.  If you just pick up those four issues you still have a great understanding of what the story is.  The Unity team, the four issue tie-in,  will be dealing with the effects of this force landing on Earth and the repercussions of that.  The X-O Manowar book will deal with who the Armor Hunters are and how they’ve encountered X-O Manowars in the past beyond that X-O Manowar that is Aric of Dacia.

 

RYAN: Does Armor Hunters: Bloodshot signal the end of H.A.R.D. Corps or Bloodshot as a regular series?

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WARREN:  No.  We love H.A.R.D. Corps.  They’ll still be part of our universe.  The book Bloodshot and H.A.R.D. Corps will lead into the Bloodshot: Armor Hunters book.  That’s where we’ll pick up the story of Bloodshot.

 

DINESH:  You’re going to see us play around.  One of the things we are going to do this year is we are going to limit the line to nine titles.  It’s going to make it easier for people to jump in, to buy everything, and be able to see the whole tapestry if they want to.  You’re also going to us play around with the way the books are published this year.  Always necessitated by the stories.  One of the things you are going to see in Bloodshot is him with H.A.R.D. Corps in Bloodshot and H.A.R.D. Corps #22 & 23 and then jump into Armor Hunters.  Post that we have big plans that we were talking about right before you came in.  We could tell you but then we would literally have to kill you.

 

WARREN: It’s a natural evolution of the continuity of the story starting with #22 & 23 and moving into Bloodshot: Armor Hunters #1-3.  We’ll be picking it up and tracing his story through there.

 

DINESH:  Why are we are tripping over our tongues here is because literally what we are doing with Bloodshot may be the biggest and most excited thing we are working on.

 

RYAN: One great throwback you are doing with Armor Hunters is going back to chromium covers.  It’s been about 6,000 years since people have seen these on comic books.  You guys are great at homages to Valiant’s past, is this just another great way to bring back something amazing?  Some people may look at the chromium and say, “Oh it’s just the nineties all over again” and some may get giddy like a schoolgirl.  

 

DINESH: We actually wanted to do chromium on X-O #1 but it took Fred so long to make enough chromium.  It’s so hard to make enough chromium.  He has a big workshop.  It took him so long to get enough chromium…

 

FRED: They’re making fun because I was the one who brought chromium into the industry through the original Valiant.  Basically what we were looking to do is to bring it in at the appropriate moment.  With Armor Hunters chromium made sense because of the armor.  The funny thing is whenever we mention chromium to retailers they always cheer.  They’re always so happy about it.

 

HUNTER: Chromium is one of the top questions we’ve gotten.  People have identified us with a unique breed of comic books.  Valiant books especially used chromium to great effect.  Those are, in my mind, some of my favorite comic covers growing up.

 

DINESH: The real reason we are doing chromium is that we’ve talked about it since day one and we wanted to wait until we had a story that fit.  The reason we’re doing it is we’re always looking for how do we get someone to pick up their first Valiant book.  We’re confident that when they pick up their first Valiant book, they’ll love it.

 

FRED: We’ve found a great United States printer to do it and they’re already printed.  It is ready to go.

 

RYAN:  Harbinger.  Why kill off a Renegade?

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HUNTER: We just introduced this new character in issue 22 named Ryan McLelland.  We kill him.  It’s very sad.

 

RYAN: I knew I shouldn’t have signed away those likeness rights.

 

DINESH:  We can’t say but we can say that it is heartbreaking.  If you’ve read Harbinger you know how good of a writer Josh Dysart is.  Every time I see the character on a cover it breaks my heart because I know he’s gone forever.

 

RYAN: In the original Valiant universe characters died and they were gone forever.  Is that still the case?

 

DINESH: Dead is dead.

 

WARREN: This is the last time you’ll ever see this character.

 

DINESH: Even flashbacks?

 

WARREN: Flashbacks and origin stories you’ll see them. In the proper continuity of the Valiant universe, this is the last time you’ll ever see them.

 

HUNTER: Unless there is cyborg bodies!

 

WARREN: You know I hadn’t thought of that.

 

HUNTER: I’m an idea machine!

 

RYAN: But why kill of a character?  Does it just make it more real?  Exciting?  A great throwback to the original Harbinger where Torque died so early on?  Just a natural progression?

 

WARREN:  It’s something we’ve talked about.  It’s probably something I’ve talked about with Joshua Dysart more than any other story I’ve ever talked about with any other writer.  I think this is a very natural place for this to happen.

 

DINESH:  It’s a consequence.

 

WARREN: When I came here to Valiant and read all the original Harbinger books I loved the fact that Torque died and he died early.  There was a real sense of permanence to everything that came before and after because of that.  I feel like we’ve reached that point in this particular story.  It really is a consequence for a bunch of teenagers who, for the most part, don’t know their ass from their elbows.  This is realistically what would happen.

 

DINESH: Their up against the guy with the most resources…

 

WARREN: For all intents and purposes Harbinger is a military organization.  A civilian military organization.  So I felt is a really natural extension of something we are trying to do in the Valiant universe.

 

HUNTER: Speaking as someone who wasn’t involved in this decision, it makes a tremendous amount of sense.  It’s something that makes Valiant truly special.  You have five teenagers who discover they have superpowers and they’ve decided to put on costumes.  At any other comic publisher there’d be the extremely Silver Age conceit where they’d be like ‘we are going to go out and punch bad guys.  Then we’re going to go back to our lives, go to school, and everything’s going to work out fine.’  In Valiant mythology this is not how these things work.  When you throw on a costume and try to change the world there is severe consequences.  You are going to pay for that.  That’s what Josh and Warren have hit upon with the death of…Ryan McLelland in Harbinger #22.  This mini-event that we are calling Death of a Renegade is three parts.  The actual event itself will span those three issues.  So part one is issue #22, part two #23, part three #24, and then we are going to have some big surprises very soon that will be announced for what we are going to do for Harbinger #25.

 

DINESH:  It almost seems like Harbinger #25 should be a big issue.  It’s like it was planned.

 

HUNTER: Can’t believe you just thought of that!

 

RYAN:  The Delinquents.  It this an ongoing book?

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HUNTER: It’s a mini-series.  The one analogy that we kept using is that it was like Abbott and Costello meet Frankenstein.  Get these two franchises and collide them together.

 

DINESH:  It’s an absolutely ridiculous. To get these characters together (RYAN NOTE: The characters from the series Quantum and Woody and Archer and Armstrong) is bonkers.

 

RYAN: How many issues?

 

WARREN:  Four.

 

RYAN: What’s the storyline about?  What brings these two great franchises together?

 

WARREN:  Hobos.

 

RYAN:  Hobos?

 

HUNTER: That’s actually no lie, it is hobos.

 

WARREN: It is hobos that bring two of the greatest superhero teams in the entire Valiant universe together.

 

DINESH:  The item that brings them together is a map.  The map is to a secret location at Hobo Paradise.  It’s drawn on the ass cheeks of a hobo.  It’s on the King of the Hobos.  There are two parts: left cheek, right cheek.  In the middle, X usually marks the spot and…that’s all we’ll say about that.

 

RYAN: That is gross and awesome.

 

HUNTER: Dinesh isn’t quick enough to make this up on the spot.

 

RYAN: How do Archer and Quantum get along?

 

HUNTER: They are going to have a bad time.  On the other hand, Woody and Armstrong are just going to have a blast.

 

RYAN: There’s a new Doctor Mirage series coming out and there’s a big change now that Dr. Mirage is a female.  Why the gender switch?

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WARREN: I think it was a natural choice for when we were building Shadowman.  We talked about what we wanted to do with the character and it felt natural.  It felt like it fit the story.  We’ve tried to honor what’s come before us and what made these characters great in the first place, but we also deviate and move things around when we need to.

 

RYAN: Does the Valiant universe need one of those hot women type of characters?  DC has their Power Girl and Wonder Woman, Marvel has Psylocke and Emma Frost – their super hot powerful women.  Do you feel you need that sort of draw or is it more about the stories?

 

DINESH:  I think we have a lot of female characters that are strong.  I think the thing that we don’t do is avoid having a character that uses her sexuality as a weapon.  We try to avoid objectifying women like that.  The closest we have is Flamingo but it’s not the one defining element of her.  We have Kris who is a strong character and Faith who has more fans than any other character male or female.  I don’t think our characters are defined by their sexuality.

 

 

RYAN: I love the book Eternal Warrior and think it is absolutely Valiant’s crown jewel.  I can’t say enough great things about this book.  Why the hell is it going on hiatus?  WHY???

 

HUNTER: You are standing up and shouting!  We’re entertainers.  That’s our job.

 

RYAN: To make me be angry?

 

HUNTER: To shout more!  We want more!  That’s our job.

 

RYAN: That’s some bullshit!

 

(A large amount of laughing ensues)

 

DINESH:  You are going to get more Eternal Warrior.  It’s going to be awesome.

 

WARREN: I love the book.  I love what Greg Pak has done with it.  He’s done an amazing job on the first arc.  I told Pak that these are some of the favorite issues I’ve seen since I’ve been here at Valiant.  The second arc naturally leads in to what we are doing with Rai.  But we are very conscious about limiting our title count right now.  We have a very deep bench – we have a lot of characters that we haven’t been able to get to yet.  So we have the title count but we are also setting something up with Eternal Warrior.  I know you have love for the character, I have the same love for the character.  You do have a bunch of extraordinary stories that are in the works.  So just hang on.  Trust me, it’s coming.

 

 

FRED: I want to ask you a question.

 

RYAN:  Shoot.

 

FRED:  Who loves the characters more?  Do the fans love the character more or do the editors love them more?

 

RYAN: I honestly don’t know.

 

FRED:  That’ll answer the question.  Clearly Warren loves Eternal Warrior.  Clearly you love Eternal Warrior.  You both love it from different perspectives.

 

RYAN: I’d say it’s tough because as an editor you are also looking at it from a business perspective.  As a fan you don’t give a shit about that.  If it’s one of your favorite books you want to keep reading no matter what.  Even if you are the very last guy reading that book you still want it to come out regardless of how much it costs to print, who is doing the book, you just want it in your grubby little hands.

 

DINESH: Eternal Warrior is in Unity.  So you can get your Eternal Warrior fix from there.

 

RYAN: But what Greg is doing in that book is so amazing.  This is a man who has accomplished so much in his writing career and I think right now on Eternal Warrior he’s writing the best he has ever written ever.  So it’s hard, at least for me, to see it go on hiatus.

 

WARREN: I’ve had the opportunity to work with Greg on Magneto: Testament at Marvel.  I think the world of him as a writer.  These last three issues in particular, #5, #6, and #7, just feel like comics you read as a kid.  They feel like something out of the eighties.  They move, their quick, their fun, and I feel like he’s doing some wonderful work.  We love Greg, we think the world of him up here, and we are super happy with the book.  We’re confident on where we’re heading overall.

 

RYAN: Is this the business strategy for right now?  If you have a bunch of books that need to come out you put something on hiatus?  You need to plug in Book A so you take out Book B to keep that publishing cap?

 

DINESH: Not at all.  The stories dictate where the books go. So what you are seeing here…it’s difficult to answer all of these questions because to answer these questions really are spoilers.  It’ll all make sense once you see what we are doing.  You’ve seen the front half of 2014 in Valiant First.  We’ll start to reveal a little bit more about the back half soon.  When you see that you’ll understand why certain things happened.

 

RYAN: What is Valiant First?

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HUNTER: Valiant First is an initiative to put out one new major #1 book from Valiant for at least the next six months.  The impetus behind that is not just to get new issues on the stands but it’s the next part of our plan.  The first part was the first year of the company by getting these characters back on the board and establish Valiant as a formidable force in the industry.  Year two was about maintaining that.  Showing slow but steady growth.  One of the most unappreciated facts out there is that in 2013 Valiant doubled its market share.  We went from four books to eight.  That’s virtually unheard of in the comic book industry and we did it to great effect.  Year three is about now that we have that foundation in place with retailers and fans we have new entry points.  We have an established fan base out there but we’re never content with what we have.  We want to slowly grow the company each month in retail stores with new fans.  Each one of these new books is a perfect entry point into what we’ve built.

 

FRED:  You have friends who haven’t yet started reading Valiant.  We want to make it as easy as possible for you to say ‘Here’s something new and fresh.  Pick this up.’

 

RYAN: Not my friends!  They’re addicts!

 

FRED: Well other Valiant fans then, we want them to able to say, ‘Here, pick this up.’

 

RYAN: Something I haven’t heard a lot about in the past few years is (Fast and the Furious producer) Neal Moritz producing the Bloodshot movie.  What is going on with that?

 

DINESH: We are very coy about this sort of thing.  We have a lot going on in that world and when the time is right we’ll announce it.  It will blow people’s minds.  One of the announcements will come this year, probably in the summer.  We really don’t talk about movies or TV industry announcements when we are producing comic every month.  These are the kind of things we’ll talk about when we are closer to fruition.

 

FRED: Having been in the industry a long time that we’re comic book publishers.  We’re proud that we’re comic book publishers.  We don’t need validation that we having something optioned.

 

RYAN:  But it is great though, especially for a fan.  I’m walking here (to the office) and there’s a mail truck passing by with a big advert for Amazing Spider-Man 2 plastered on it.  It’s just an exciting part of being a comic book fan having those big films.

 

FRED: How long do those take?  And how long have we been publishing?  X-O Manowar #24 hasn’t even come out.  The fact that you are putting us in that category is wonderful, but at the end of the day we’re comic book publishers first.

 

DINESH:  People love the characters so much they are demanding movies.  Bloodshot’s going pretty well.  Neal Moritz is working with us every day on the project.  Sony’s incredibly excited.  They are pushing it very, very hard.  (X-Men First Class director) Matthew Vaughn’s involved.  And I think that’s all the information that we’ve made public so that’s all I’ll tell you.

 

WARREN: And Bloodshot will be very center to our universe for some time to come.  I can’t tell you the plans that we have for him.  I can tell you that they are probably as exciting as anything we’ve done up here in the past two years.  We have some extraordinary talent lined up.

 

RYAN: The Goat inaction figure is one that I have at home standing right next to Green Lantern and R2-D2.  Any thoughts on any toys?  Especially Zephyr?

goat1
HUNTER: We have plans to do so much cool merchandise but its about putting stuff on the shelves when its time.  There’s going to be a lot of great products that are going to be hitting shelves in the next few years.  A lot of this stuff has long, long, long lead times.  A lot of this stuff has been in the works already for a long time and you won’t see it for awhile.  So the answer is yes.

 

FRED: We probably have the best licensing person in the industry.  He’s working on all this stuff right now.

RYAN: Troublemakers.  Trinity Angels.  My personal favorite: Psi-Lords.  Any plans to integrate any of these characters into the universe?

 

DINESH:  You know who loves Trinity Angels?  Warren Simons.

 

RYAN: It’s a great book!

 

WARREN: If I see a take on them I like, we’ll see if we get there.  All of those characters have been discussed in some way, shape, or form.

 

DINESH: Slow and steady, Ryan.

 

RYAN: I just love me some Psi-Lords.  Except for the Valiant Vision.

 

FRED: Valiant Vision was wonderful when it was used properly.

 

RYAN: Any favorite characters that you have that aren’t in the books yet that you’d like to see in them in the next couple years?

 

DINESH: We’d love to see Ninjak have his own ongoing series.  We talk about a bunch of them.

 

HUNTER: Previous Shadowmen and Shadowwomen.  There’s a lot of untapped potential there.

 

RYAN: Armorines?

armorines
(Dead silence).

 

DINESH: Silence.  I wonder what that means.

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