This is the edited transcript from The Valiant Era Online's internet chat on Jan 2, 1999. Featured guests were Jim Shooter and Jeff Gomez.

I edited the chat to make it a lot more cohesive, but this is what went down. There were a good dozen guests... I condensed in to generic questions and the appropriate answers.

Jim Shooter and Jeff Gomez are in RED. It is Jim speaking unless I write Jeff.


If Daring became tremendously successful, would you try to go back and finish some of your other works?

There is a chance, if Daring goes well, that I could publish Broadway and Defiant again.

How much work was done for Valiant that never saw the light of day?

A good bit.

Really? How many unpublished books got to the artist tables?

About a half a dozen Defiant, several Broadway.

What is your favorite Valiant character?

My favorite Valiant property would be Harbinger.

Jeff- I always thought that series had great potential, especially in the first several issues.

How do you feel about the current Valiant characters?

I don’t read the recent Valiant books.

In the Dazzler Graphic Novel you wrote, wasn’t there a character named Pete Stanchek?

Probably- I name characters after friends and relatives often.

I gotta admit it was those early ads for Solar that got me hooked.  

We worked hard on those ads. Mostly JJ (Janet Jackson) and myself.

...And anyone who could get Bob Layton and Barry Windsor Smith to work together on a universe- was  someone to watch out for!

Actually, Bob and Barry were friends.

Joe- I assume everyone present has read the Jim Shooter interview?

Jeff- I thought the interview was fascinating and I’m realizing that more of it was what really happened while  I was working there.

Did you read BWS’ Storyteller?


On purpose, you would have if you got copies?

I just never saw Storyteller.

I really liked how you did the flip books and zero issues early on!

Flip books were Jon Hartz’s idea.

What were your plans for the Valiant universe after Rai #0?

To fufill the destiny Lapham and I laid out, but in unexpected ways.

Jeff- Rai #0 was fairly villified by “upper editorial” at Valiant, but I never saw anything about it that  wouldn’t have been fun to play around with.

Whose idea was it to have Shadowman die in 1999?

It was mine. I thought it was dramatic.

Were you working on backstory for that event?


Was any of that backstory published?

I didn’t follow what happened after I left- I’m sure I would have done it differently though. Much of what I did at Valiant was made up on the fly, but I was always weaving...

Was Rai #0 planned as a cornerstone of the Valiant universe, or did it just turn out as such?

Rai #0 was planned as a cornerstone of the Valiant Universe from the start.

What about Doctor Spectre (who went on to become Doctor Mirage). Was it your idea to bring him to the Valiant universe?

No, Spectre was not mine.

Was the whole Harbinger/Magnus connection planned early on?

It was as Magnus developed, I found a way to weave in the rest.

Torkleson’s death in #6- that was beautifully handled.

Thanks- first time in comics a villan’s plan for revenge worked.

You said in the interview you liked Jorge Gonzales’ post Unity work- was there anything else that stood out?

I read very few Valiants after I left. Nothing stood out. But that Jorge is a smart kid.

Jeff- I think Jorge would be very flattered by that comment. He fought hard to maintain his vision of XO, despite pressure to change it.

Jim- Jorge started with me doing an all nighter coloring job on a wrestling book if I remember...

What kind of changes did they want on XO?

Jeff- Bob wanted Jorge to hit the barbarian in a can thing harder... get away from detailed charecterization.

Valiant had a definitive style in terms of art and writing. Is this what you wanted?

Yes... I wanted a clear, realistic approach. I wish we had better art though.

Well, Gonzalo Mayo was a homerun- he pencilled and inked nearly every Valiant ever!

Lapham never liked Mayo’s inks, but he bore with it. Mayo was a good artist and a good guy, but he didn’t match well with Lapham... I had no choice in the matter, we didn’t have the luxory otherwise I would have made changes. And Mayo spoke no English too.

Are you surprised to see such a strong following of YOUR Valiant?

Yes and no. I knew we had something different. I knew it would either be a big success or crash and burn.

What do you think of today’s market? Can it recover?

Yes, with major work. It was about this bad when I took over Marvel in ‘78.

Was Valiant ever big enough to scare “the big two?”

Valiant scared the hell out of the big two. I think we could have been a contenda.

What do you think about Turok #1 with 1.6 million copies?

Turok #1 and other big books were the result of a big speculator market.

Do you blame Valiant for 1.6 million copies, or the speculators?

Not being cynical, it goes well when there is quality and slides when the publishers try to cash in. I believe Marvel/Image started the speculation, while I was at Valiant and we gave away all out special issues...while I was at Valiant, we never made any money off the speculator gimmicks, but we did fuel the fire, sadly.

Before you left, did you have any surprises planned for the books you never put into effect?

Rai #0 was a blueprint for potential surprises.

Jeff- The current state of Acclaim is that Omar and Mike are the only ones left from the New York contingent still involved with comics in Glen Cove. One of the original gentlemen involved with Valiant- Seymore Miles- is now the consulting publisher. NIO is a vague remake of Rai and has been released. But they continue to produce books, comics, toys and games on Turok- not giving any of the comics guys any credit sadly.

Jim- Seymour is a good guy- he may help.

Jeff- I believe Seymour would like to see a relaunch of comics from Acclaim, but I’m not sure how much of a connection it would have with what has gone before.

Better idea- Mr. Shooter and Mr. Petrilak take over Valiant from Acclaim!

Jim- If Seymour called me, I’d listen.

Whose idea was it to create Bloodshot?

Mine... and Don Perlin’s. We called the series ‘Rising Spirit’ originally, but everyone contributed ideas... once Rai was established as a hereditary hero, an origin was demanded. Rising Spirit was the origin. Don was also principally involved with the creation of Rai.

Did you make the Magnus TPBs and Solar #10, 2nd print?

I agreed to it.

Were there any early collectibles out there that Valiant fans don’t know about?

What do you mean, published stuff? How about the Magnus “newspaper” ads? We ran early accounts of the events of early Magnus comics in the CBG and elsewhere. Magnus reads one of them in a panel in issue #1.

Jim Shooter leaves, Jeff Gomez takes the center

Any chance on a Quantum & Woody return?

I understand the negotiations are happening between Acclaim and the creators of Q&A. What exactly is being negotiated is a mystery to me.

What’s up with Sal Velluto?

I’ll be visiting Sal when I go to Utah to screen my film “Red Light August” in Park City.

A film? Sounds cool!

What film?

I wrote and directed a film about a young artist who haunts the New York City techno music scene and is tormented by Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. The painting in the film are by (Valiant colorist) Mark Csaszar. The film is based largely on my life, I got several Valiant people to help me with it.

So when do we get to see it?

I’ll be making the tape available on tape in a couple of months. There will be theatrical screenings in New York, LA and Park City in the next month. The website for info no this is

What’s up with new Bloodshot books?

I wish I knew- when the game went out the window, the future of the book took a tailspin.

...NO Bloodshot game?

I think that Bloodshot just wasn’t living up to everyone’s expectations- not nearly as good as the Shadowman game was turning out to be.

assorted talk about gold issues, premiums etc...

True Story: My wife and I were so broke the week I was hired at Valiant, that I swiped a Bloodshot #1 and sold it for enough grocery money to last a week!

Wow! That was a great story!

I felt so guilty about it- I kept thinking they were gonna find out and fire me!

So how much did you get for it?

I got $45.00 for it that week!

What are you working on now?

I am wrapping up post-production on my film. I’m finishing a video game based on Pensacola: Wings Of Gold, and preparing some presentations for Hollywood, where I’ll be making my rounds in February.

Joe Petrilak's VALIANT Era Online has been archived in the original format (when possible), by VALIANT Revisited (,
with Joe's permission. The purpose is to keep an archive of Joe's VALIANT work available online for many years to come.