VALIANT: 1999 And Beyond
A novel set in the Original VALIANT Universe
LEAVE YOUR FEEDBACK!
The 1999 book arrived safely by mail this very afternoon. I am reading it slowly and carefully. I can only echo Jim Shooter's congratulations to you for a fine "re-weaving" of the Universe. Looking forward to rave reviews from all over.
It's 10pm. My cat is sleeping atop my blue chair and your book is placed on the edge of my bed. I read the book practically non-stop. Put it down for a few minutes to answer a phone call and grab a quick evening snack.
I even missed my chance to go out to my vacant lot and capture another sunset picture. As some may know, I 'collect' sunrise/sunset pictures of New Mexico. Even though the sun was going down and the sky was turning its ever vibrant shades of multi-colors, I was riveted to my chair.
I haven't had this much fun in a long time...
This is why I enjoyed comics so much in the early 90's. The Valiant Universe and its cast of characters which encompassed both my time and my money as I got in on the VU after the speculation market began. I ended up getting every comic of the VU. Not because of speculation of riches, but because of the great stories and the tight continuity of storyline.
And so it continues on in Joe's fine work.
It turns out that many people can be credited for this taught piece of script. But in the end, it was Joe's desire to tie up some loose ends and put to rest a boat-load of what ifs that made this dream a reality.
I smiled often as I read Joe's work. From the forgotten exchange of pantor between Ivar and Armstrong to seeing Anthony's rendition of Shadowman that made reading this a joy.
As Joe has commented, it is much more than a 'comic', it is quite literally a half of a year's work. It's laboring over every jot and tittle of the storyline. In the end for me, it was sheer enjoyment as I relived memories of some forgotten characters. A brief respite to an era in comic history where good art and great stories came together to form the greatest comics I've ever read.
Valiant: 1999 and Beyond will take its rightful place in the annals of Valiant History as a piece of work dedicated to bringing the reader a quality story in a tightly wrapped shell of continuity.
I can only hope for more like this in the next millennium.
Hats off to you! I loved the book, it did answer a lot of questions that had been left dangling after the VU1 titles were
cancelled. I have just one tiny question: what happened to Gilad? Solar sent all of Valiant Heroes off to wherever & whenever they wished. Gilad is the only who wasn't mentioned on those last few pages.
Surely, this was just an oversight.
Thanks for a great read! May the Valiant flame burn forever!
D'oh! I forgot about Gilad! Yes, it was an oversight. My guess as to where Gilad goes to would be probably back to New York City, then to hook up with Dr. Mirage later (I set that foundation in the book), then he gets lost for a while as we know from Unity. THAT is another story to be told (and that always bothered me- where could Gilad go for 2,000 years? Oh well). -Joe
Now that the reviews are rolling in, I feel I can comment on VALIANT: 1999 and Beyond.
As "editor," I got to see several drafts of Joe's Book (it developed proper noun status very early in the project) and it's been fun to watch it grow and evolve. I respect the hell out of him for taking on this project and delight in his writing and ideas. Many late-night phone calls, mid-day emails, and even AOL Instant Messages occurred because of this book, most of which were civil, if not pleasant.
Editors, I now know, have a horrible, thankless job. At least the editors who work with Joe do. Nah--"working" on a book by "Joe Valiant" is easy: he can quote the stuff, Chapter and Verse, so continuity and characterization aren't problems. My duties mostly consisted of pointing out missing periods and the occasional typo.
And while we "debated" ("You ignorant BASTARD," is a direct quote from The Author to Ye Olde Editor) a few facts, I can honestly say that we both developed a better understanding of the VALIANT universe while working on this project.
Writers, I have discovered, are a temperamental lot; after all, no one wants to be told that his or her "baby" is ugly. For the record, I never thought Joe's "baby" was ugly (even though it bore a strong resemblance to him). But no matter how many times I would make a perfectly logical and realistic suggestion, Joe would bitch and sulk for weeks.
This whole project almost derailed when I pointed out to him that Ivar's whereabouts during UNITY had been accounted for, a fact he never addressed in the final version of his tale. "You forget," he wrote me, "whose book this really is." When I explained that I was just trying to make the book as solid as it could be, something I learned about from reading Jim Shooter (the architect of the VALIANT Universe), he replied, "You know--I'll just get a passel of Third World children to edit The Book. They may not understand English, but they'll work for a handful of rice each. Any other 'problems'? Write your own damn book."
Eventually, we were able to put our differences aside (I begged him--literally BEGGED him--for a scene in which Bloodshot kills Geoff, but he remained faithful to RAI #0) and you have read the result. If you enjoyed it half as much as I did, then the rest of your week is going to be downhill from here. For an all-too-brief moment, VALIANT lived again: losing it again and then having to face rush-hour traffic was almost unbearable.
The bad news is that Joe has no plans for a new release in the immediate future; the "good" news is that I will write the "Death of Bloodshot" story in 2028; the Great news is that you can keep re-reading this Tale and enjoying it as much as the rest of your Valiants. My copy proudly resides on my book shelf between THE VALIANT ERA TPB and the QUANTUM & WOODY TPBs.
Joseph, I thank you for this opportunity to work on such a fun and enjoyable project. Let's try to do something before 2028, my friend.
>>>This whole project almost derailed when I pointed out to him that Ivar's whereabouts during UNITY had been accounted for, a fact he never addressed in the final version of his tale. "You forget," he wrote me, "whose book this really is." When I explained that I was just trying to make the book as solid as it could be, something I learned about from reading Jim Shooter (the architect of the VALIANT Universe)...<<<
Well, Ant, if you're going to throw "Jim Shooter" in my face, so can I. Even the might Jim had double and even triple versions of the same characters in the books he wrote yes, they're there... you may have to find copies to read (for your first time, no less) to realize this. YOU IGNORANT BASTARD!
Now that that's out of my system, I would once again stress what I did in my postscript: Anthony Koch took a fanboy's attempt to make something right, and in the process get in way over his head, and make it all work right. This book would probably not be in reader's hands were it not for Ant. So thanks, dude... snf snf- I love you, man.
I just finished your book yesterday afternoon and it was everything and more than I expected -- good Timewalker story, resolution of the Jack Boniface history, great wrap-up of VH-1. And a coherent explanation for the VH-1 and VH-2 universes! Did you have any of Fabian's notes on 1999 or was this completely original? If the latter, congratulations on pulling off what I initially perceived as an impossible task (even if you had some Fabian insight, you still did an admirable job.)
Fan fiction, in my opinion, tends to border on very amateurish attempts at storytelling and I almost always pass on it. You've raised the bar several levels with "The Book" and I want to echo Ant's comment -- my copy is not on the bookshelf, but safely stored with my VALIANT collection so I can read the ending whenever I go back through the comics themselves.
One other point--I will start completely uppercasing VALIANT after reading the Shooter foreword. After reading his comment and looking at the results, it just makes sense. Thanks again for a job very well done.
I recently finished your book, and I must say that it was well deserved of the excitement I had about it that caused me to continually ask you about it and bother you about it (sorry again for bugging you so much). Your story was very engrossing. I had trouble putting the book down once I started reading it. I highly enjoyed the large focus on the Timewalker and his point of view. I found very few problems with your book. I was a little saddened that Rai and Visitor, my two favorite VH-1 characters, weren't in the book (well, technically Stanchek was in there), but that was perfectly understandable since the book was told mostly from Ivar's point of view in much more modern times than the 41st century. I did notice a few minor typographical errors (mostly a few misnumbered pages), but what book doesn't have those? Also, some of the art didn't click for me. However, this was most likely largely due to your aforementioned Shadowman mask problem. With these few minor errors aside, I felt your story was excellent and highly entertaining. Your true talent for writing shines through, and I wish you the best of luck with the screenplay you are working on and hope to someday see your name on the big screen. Now you are not only the man who got me hooked on collecting Valiant/Acclaim original art, you are also the man who provided some closure on the VH-1 universe for me, and for these things, I cannot thank you enough. Shooter should be proud.
The misnumbered page problem was this: I had to copy the art before I could bulk copy the text pages, partially because I didn't want anyone handling the art, mostly because I wanted to pay for good copies of the art (ajustments of light/dark on the spot, good centering etc...). The problem came in when I originally had Dan Moler's wonderful collage at the very end of the book originally. Then, last minute, I changed it to page 6, but the art pages were already printed! D'oh! So I released it as is- the numbering is off, but the pages are all there in order.
Re: Typos. Yes, I noticed a few too- Anthony Koch caught 99.9% of them, I fixed 99.5% of them, so there were a few typos that made it through. But you should see the first draft copy if you wanted to see errors! I started a screenplay for an idea I've had kicking in my head for a while... interesting throries with good science behind it. PErhaps one day it'll be done and error-free (then again, perhaps one day I'll have my site 100% online! Thanks for the thumbs up (or is it thumb up?)