What Happened to VALIANT?

Valiant Comics was started by Voyager Communications, Inc., in 1990. The first books produced under the Valiant logo were for Nintendo and professional wrestling licenses. In 1991, Voyager introduced the Valiant Universe.

The Valiant Universe, later called VH1 (Valiant Heroes 1), was launched with Magnus Robot Fighter #1 in early 1991. Soon after, Valiant began its second series, Solar: Man of the Atom. Both characters were originally seen in Gold Key comics from the 1960s. Later, the Valiant stories created around these characters were ranked as some of the greatest of all time.

Following Magnus and Solar, Valiant released all-original titles such as Harbinger, Rai, X-O Manowar, Shadowman, Archer & Armstrong, Eternal Warrior, Bloodshot, Ninjak, H.A.R.D. Corps, Armorines, Psi-Lords, Second Life of Doctor Mirage, Timewalker and the major crossover event called Unity.

The Unity storyline was very successful in mid-1992, and brought attention to the entire line of Valiant comics. Not surprisingly in late-1992 and 1993, Valiant comics that were pre-Unity (1991 or early-1992) became harder to find, as many new readers came onboard and older ones began searching for the issues they'd missed.

In 1992, Valiant was named New Publisher of the Year. In 1993, their continued success resulted in their being named Publisher of the Year, above even Marvel and DC.

Monthly price guides such as Wizard, Overstreet, and others recorded the Valiant surge, and additional demand drove the prices of the early Valiant comics skyward, with some issues of Pre-Unity comics commanding $100 or more by 1993.

By 1993, retailers began pre-ordering many more copies of each of the Valiant books, to sustain the growing Valiant readership. In other comics, Superman had "died" recently and Image books continued to sell large quantities of books each month, bringing in new collectors and speculators. However, by late-1993, the comic book industry began to see a drop in demand and not all of those extra books sold out completely in comic shops anymore.

Additionally, many buyers bought multiple copies of the hottest new comic books with the hope that they would increase in value. Post-Unity Valiant books were near the top of speculators lists as the entire Valiant line was all the rage and the pre-Unity issues had already established a trend for increasing value due to Valiant’s rapidly growing readership.

In June 1994, Voyager Communications, Inc., was sold to Acclaim Entertainment, Inc. for $65 million. Acclaim planned to further develop the Valiant line with video games and other entertainment media. To date, approximately 10 million video games featuring Valiant characters have been sold, including games for Turok, Shadowman, X-O Manowar, Armorines and a few other characters originally from the Valiant universe.

However, around the same time as Acclaim's purchase of Valiant, the comic book market (as a whole) collapsed due to the increased supply of comic books and the lowering demand from consumers. In many cases, owners of comic books who wished to sell their collections received only a fraction of the perceived market value at the time, or found that no one was willing to buy their books regardless of price guide "values".

By late 1995, pre-orders for comics were reaching their lowest point of the decade and those for Valiant comics were no exception. In late-1996, Acclaim re-launched the Valiant comics’ line as Acclaim Comics Valiant Heroes (also called VH2, Valiant Heroes 2). Though the names of the books were the same, such as X-O Manowar, Bloodshot, or Shadowman, the stories for VH2 were a new universe quite different from the original universe, and one that was more easily adapted to video games.

Although sales on most comic books in general were brisk in 1997, the industry continued to contract and so did orders for the Acclaim books. Acclaim used unpopular video game versions of the characters that were very different from their original versions which were very popular and had a strong fan following. In late-1998, Acclaim suspended its production of comic books and focused on translating the characters into video games.

In 1999, Acclaim started publishing specific titles to promote upcoming video games based on those characters. Among those titles were the continuation of the Quantum & Woody characters from VH2, and a third volume of Shadowman comics that aligned closely with the video games for the character. Turok books were also published from time to time in order to maintain the licenses to produce Turok video games.

Unity 2000, a six-part story to unify the VH1 and VH2 universes, was also started in 1999. The goal of Unity 2000 was to amalgamate the two Valiant universes (VH1 and VH2) and combine the best elements from each universe. However, Acclaim stopped producing the series after only half the books were released due in part to a public payment conflict with the artist and severe losses from recently released sports video games.

In 2003, Acclaim relinquished the rights to characters owned by Western Publishing, namely, Magnus Robot Fighter and Solar: Man of the Atom. Acclaim continued to license Turok for video games. The other Valiant characters were property of Acclaim Entertainment, Inc.

In 2004, Acclaim Entertainment, Inc. was forced to file for chapter 7 bankruptcy after violating its agreements with creditors. As a result all of Acclaim’s assets including the Valiant characters were auctioned off.

After a bidding war that involved numerous parties, Valiant Entertainment Inc. was recognized as the new owners of the Valiant characters and has expressed an interest in bringing the characters back to their popular pre-Acclaim state.

More Information:
Valiant Comics Price Guide
Collecting VALIANT: Frequently Asked Questions
What is Unity?
What is Unity 2000?
A detailed look at the rise and fall of Valiant
Covers from all of these comics are available for viewing
in the Online Cover Library.