Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Valiant Resurgence

Hey folks-
Back when I was writing freelance for COMICS SCENE, I ended up doing a fair crop of interviews with the folks at Valiant: creators like Janet Jackson (not the singer/dancer/Superbowl misfire), Jorge Gonzalez, Don Perlin, and a few more I'm forgetting, as well as the amiable presence of Jim Shooter.

Why did I write about them so much? Well, it was an assignment, for one thing. But I really liked Valiant, particularly in its pre-Acclaim, Shooterrific heyday. It was a tight-knit world with a few funky fringe elements (Shadowman, anyone?) but a core mythology that was mighty good. It was "superheroics in the real world," before that caught on in other comics, movies and TV.

In some ways, it was Shooter's Marvel era experiment-- the New Universe-- done right.

My favorite book? Probably Harbinger. I liked the "kids on the run" storyline and enjoyed the first 25 issues tremendously. Then... well, you probably know what happened in that 25th issue. Pete Stanchek (aka Sting) faces off with Toyo Harada and pretty much kicks his ass, losing his powers in the process. =sigh= So much for Harbinger.

And so much for H.A.R.D. Corps, too. Without Harada to kick around, the Harbinger Active Resistance Division (the H.A.R.D. part) had less focus. Sure, they had a traitor in their midst and lost some of their comrades, but the book wasn't the same after Harada was out of the equation.

What do these things have in common? If memory serves, Sting's last stand happened around the time Shooter left Valiant. Then books cropped up like Armorines, Second Life of Dr. Mirage, Secret Weapons and so on. They were pretty good titles, but I felt like the Valiant universe was losing cohesion without Shooter.

It didn't take long. Attempts were made to reconfigure the line, with the launch of Quantum & Woody and a rebuilding of Solar, Man of the Atom. (Phil Seleski, yer outta there!) Didn't really work.

Now there's a resurgence building, with the release of a Harbinger TPB and more in the offing. I hope that if the line does get resurrected, they'll do two things:

1. focus on the "good ol' days" when Harbinger kids were running wild and
2. get Jim Shooter to mastermind the relaunch.

You may disagree but to me, the Valiant line succeeded because of Shooter. Bring him back and you might have something.

No comments: