Valiant Entertainment has announced a publishing partnership with Alien Books, where Valiant is essentially outsourcing their publishing to the fledgling publisher. According to Popverse, the deal will see Alien Books “take over all publishing of Valiant properties.”
This is not completely unexpected; the surprising part — and good news for fans of the characters — is that Valiant’s comic line isn’t just fading away. For the past couple years Valiant’s output has declined considerably, with the publishing line seemingly on life support as they published somewhere between 0-2 titles per month. The press release said Alien would “expand Valiant’s publishing capabilities,” with clarifications from Popverse and the Beat both saying this is pretty much the end of Valiant publishing their own comics (and graphic novels and the like). The Beat adds that “some remaining Valiant staffers will stay on to work on the transition.”
In what mirrors the demise of the original Valiant, the company has been on a decline since being bought by DMG Entertainment in 2018. The original Valiant, you might remember, debuted in 1989 and found success with licensed properties like Magnus, Robot Fighter and their own creations, like X-O Manowar, Harbinger and Bloodshot. In 1992, Jim Shooter, their editor-in-chief, was forced out as the publisher’s investors sold it to the video game company Acclaim. This led to games featuring Turok and Shadowman, but also a decline in the quality of their comics line, if you ask many of their longtime fans. By the early 2000s, Valiant was pretty much dead … only to be resurrected by Dinesh Shamdasani and other entrepreneurs who were big fans of Valiant’s characters and its comics. They were able to build something new that also stayed loyal to what came before, bringing in talent like Matt Kindt, Jeff Lemire, Jody Houser and more.
Shamdasani and many of his co-workers would leave Valiant after the sale in 2018, and looking back, maybe that was a Bad Idea (ahem). COVID, of course, didn’t help, as the industry and publishers suffered several setbacks, and then of course there was that whole NFT thing. Valiant’s comic output dwindled as they still announced licensing deals for novels, tabletop RPGs, video games and more.
Probably the good news here for Valiant fans is that Alien does seem interesting in publishing comics. They’ve published or will publish comics and graphic novels from Italy, Spain, France, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and more, by creators like Damian Connelly, Rodolfo Santullo, Leandro Fernandez, David Chisa, Jok, Michele Monteleone, Guilio Antonio Gualtieri and Kristian Rossi, among others. This week they launched Sunshine Patriots! by Howard Chaykin, and they have art books coming from Ariel Olivetti and Eduardo Risso. Their comics are distributed through FairSquare Comics.
Alien Books’ Matias Timarchi said about the partnership: “Being able to collaborate on the creation of new stories with Valiant, the third largest connected superhero universe, is truly a dream come true. As a lifelong superhero fan and self-professed geek, the opportunity to work with these incredible characters fills me with boundless enthusiasm. Our goal is to expand the entire Valiant universe by crafting new books that will delight longtime fans while also innovating to engage a new generation of readers interested in webtoons, manga and digital storytelling experiences. We are immensely proud that Valiant has selected us as their new partners for this thrilling venture, and we are excited to embark on a new chapter in Valiant’s illustrious history.”
X-O Manowar Unconquered will continue, according to the press release, and the planned Ninjak Superkillers by Jeff Parker and Mike Norton will come out this fall. I’m sure more news about Alien’s plans for the line is coming soon.