Forget the idea that they are putting forth a “valiant” (pun intended) effort, since their relaunch in 2012, the new era of Valiant has been knocking it out of the park.
I just finished reading Book of Death: The Fall of Ninjak and Ivar, Timewalker issue 8, and realized I have done a great disservice by not covering this publisher previously.
I recently told a podcast host how good the series have been when he had showed interest in one of the series and had to message him to chime in. The truth is that of all the publishers and revivals in recent years none have been as consistently good as Valiant. They also have proved that they can survive in the current market.
Today I recalled a recently attempted revival of the old Atlas/Seaboard comics from a few years back. It came, it releases some issues, and it quietly disappeared. In all honesty, it left me disappointed.
But why did it fail and Valiant managed to thrive? Is it because the Valiant characters were fresher in the mind of the comic buying market? Were the characters inherently better? As a fan, I would say yes but that isn’t why they continue to succeed.
The truth is they attacked the comic market with a genius plan that should seem a simple path to success. This company which is headed up by Dinesh Shamdasani (Valiant Uber Fan if you’ve seen the birthday cake picture), assembled a front office team including people like Fred Pierce and Warren Simons to put together a publishing plan.
It all started with a slow release of 4 main titles from the stable of characters starting with X-O Manowar, then moving from Harbinger to Bloodshot and Archer and Armstrong. Each book came with a top quality artist and writer with the sole purpose of creating good stories to attract readers. This was aided and abetted by a different tone and flavor for each series and even the incentive of variant covers if comic readers added the title to their pullbox.
However, the two most important things they did that should be no-brainers are the aforementioned great stories, and more importantly a consistent release schedule. Nothing kills growth and momentum more than missed deadlines, release dates, and long lags between issues.
Valiant has consistently met the deadlines and kept new issues on the shelves and the Valiant brand out there. Their presence and love of the material at comic conventions shows them retaining the old fanbase while earning new fans with the way they reach out to potential new readers and make their line accessible.
To sum up, if you are an aspiring creator, look toward Valiant to see how it is done. Hit deadlines and tell great stories and you can make it. It will be hard and you still might fail, but your odds are better if you do those two things. Valiant has proved that for 3 years running.
And finally, do yourself a favor and pick a Valiant series to check out. The quality won’t be beat and they will have a genre type you are looking for. Harbinger is a personal favorite of mine and I can’t recommend it more.