Valiant fans woke up on Monday believing they had flashed back to the 1990s. Another large corporation (DMG) has bought out the small comics publisher, citing their intentions to push it into a big movie franchise. Comic fandoms are naturally pessimistic, so at about 9 am almost the entire fandom was engulfed in flames. If this seems like an overreaction, you might not be wrong. But in all fairness, Valiant fans have suffered through this before.
In the ’90s, video game giant Acclaim acquired the entire company intending to produce titles based on the popular comics. The quality of the comics began to drop and then vanished altogether. Representatives from Valiant attempted to calm the backlash. Not all are convinced the new CEO, Dan Mintz, is a good fit for the company. Now that some time has passed and tempers have cooled, let’s take a look at what this could mean for the future.
Future of the Comics
The comics will continue unhindered: The acquisition promises more opportunities to bring Valiant to the screen. The weekly publishing is expected to continue without interference. There is no logical reason to do otherwise. Mintz is not going to force a reboot in the comics, nor will there be rampant retcons across boards. We should not be surprised to see the comics align more closely with the movies and television, but we have already seen that to some extent with the Ninjak vs. the Valiant Universe series. Which brings us to another point: A web series by a cosplay group is great for the fans, but not a great way to gain new readers.
Granted, the CEO is being replaced. Way back in the olden days of 2005, Dinesh Shamdasani and Jason Kothari fought a legal battle against major companies to preserve their favorite childhood heroes. By 2012, The “Summer of Valiant” brought X-O Manowar, Bloodshot, Harbinger, and Archer & Armstrong back to widespread critical love. No other entertainment CEO caters to the fans like Shamdasani. In fact, one of his last tweets showcases my custom Valiant suits. Fortunately, we understand he will stay on as a consultant through this transition, offering some comfort. My feelings are very mixed on this. Having someone who understands the entertainment business will help bring Valiant to the mainstream, but losing the guiding hand of the past six years does not sit well with the faithful readers.
Staff Remains the Same
The majority of the staff will remain. Warren Simons will continue as editor-in-chief, and while certainly there will be more structural changes, the staff we have communicated with seem optimistic about the future. At the time of this writing, no creators have publicly stepped away from the community, but many have expressed their love and appreciation for Shamdasani specifically.
Better Opportunities on Screen
DMG has produced many excellent films including sci-fi favorite Looper. Let’s be honest, Bat in the Sun’s Ninjak vs. is a great idea, but not the high-quality production that will bring in a new generation of fans. Although Bloodshot, Eternal Warrior, and Harbinger are already in the works, more control by the CEO will certainly open new doors necessary for expansion.
It’s an equally exciting and terrifying time to be a Valiant fan. Many opportunities for new media franchises based on our favorite independent comic heroes now exists. Yet there is an eerie sense of déjà vu. If Mintz wants his investment to succeed, he must learn from Acclaim’s mistakes in the ’90s. No one wants Valiant comics to implode on itself again, and it does not have to. If the new executives will support and lean on the writers, artists, editors, and staff that made it so popular in the first place, the fans will continue to follow.