STEPHEN PAKULA: Tell us about Valiant Entertainment. Who are you guys and what are your backgrounds?
CHIP CARTER: Valiant Entertainment, Inc. is a character-based entertainment company that owns and manages some of the most popular comic characters ever created across all media, including feature films, television, video games, new media, publishing, and consumer products. Currently, Valiant Entertainment owns and manages the Valiant and Acclaim Comics libraries of characters across all media.
Since its creation in 1990, Valiant has sold over 80 million comic books, 8 million video games, and became one of the three leading comic character-based companies globally. Valiant characters include X-O Manowar, Bloodshot, Harbinger, Eternal Warrior, Doctor Mirage, Ninjak, Shadowman, Rai, and Quantum & Woody, among many others.
Valiant Entertainment’s key players include former media executives and entrepreneurs with experience at McKinsey & Co., Viacom, Acclaim Entertainment, and Universal Pictures, among others. The key players of Valiant Entertainment are passionate to develop the legacy of the original versions of those beloved and hugely successful Valiant characters in all forms of media.
PAKULA: Of the old Valiant properties, what exactly does VEI own? Do you own all of the old Valiant properties (and does that include the Acclaim VH2 characters)?
CARTER: Valiant Entertainment acquired all the rights to the Valiant and Acclaim Comics libraries of characters from video game publisher and developer Acclaim Entertainment’s (NASDAQ: AKLM) estate.
PAKULA: What is it about Valiant that made you want to buy these properties? Were you fans when Valiant was first published?
CARTER: See information about key players above.
CARTER: The Harbinger: The Beginning hardcover by Valiant Entertainment collects the full Harbinger origin story (Harbinger issues #0-7) for the first time, and includes an all-new “Origin of Harada” story by comics legend Jim Shooter that features the first appearance of a new key Valiant character! Harbinger: The Beginning also includes the original rare “Story of Harada” coupons in full color for the first time.
Harbinger issues #0-7 have been digitally recolored and remastered using state-of-the-art computer techniques, and the all-new “Origin of Harada” story features art by former Valiant creator Bob Hall (Shadowman).
PAKULA: Why are the books being digitally recolored? Can you explain the process?
CARTER: As with many comics from the period when Harbinger was released (1992) and earlier, the original printers’ film is incomplete or unusable and digital files were not created at that time. Therefore, it was necessary to create new digital files by developing a process for scanning the printed page, stripping the old color from the books, reconstructing the inks, and applying digital color. The process is time consuming and expensive, but it results in a very high quality product. We certainly did not want to release this classic and beloved story as anything but a high quality product.
All the digital recoloring was overseen by original Valiant colorists who had an insider’s view on the original intention of Harbinger‘s creative team. The creative choices of the original book have remained intact, while depth, special effects, and corrections have been added using the latest digital techniques. The melding of classic storytelling and modern execution more accurately showcases the intended vision for Harbinger issues #0-7 than ever before, as some of the intended choices did not make it into the original comics in 1992 because of time, resource, and technology constraints but will make it into Harbinger: The Beginning in 2007.
The deluxe hardcover is also digitally remastered in a unique way, as Jim Shooter himself approved continuity corrections in Harbinger issues #0-7 that allows Harbinger: The Beginning to present the origin story more cohesively than it originally appeared in 1992.
PAKULA: Will other former Valiant creators be involved (Bob Layton, Barry Windsor-Smith)?
CARTER: Jim Shooter and Bob Hall, both former Valiant creators, worked on the all-new “Origin of Harada” story that will be included in the upcoming Valiant hardcover book, Harbinger: The Beginning. A number of former key Valiant creators, including those mentioned above, have worked on or are working on Valiant Entertainment projects that will be announced in the near future.
PAKULA: One of the things that I loved about Valiant (and what made it so different from the mainstream Marvel and DC books) was the use of “real time.” All of the early Valiant books had captions with the place, date and time that the story took place, and the passage of time played a big role in the storytelling. If a year passed in the comic, the characters aged a year. Will the new Valiant comics follow those rules? Will they take place in the present or will they continue storylines from the old Valiant books set in the ’90s?
CARTER: Regarding real-time, please see the “Origin of Harada” story in Harbinger: The Beginning!
Valiant Entertainment has some exciting upcoming plans for the Valiant characters that will be detailed at the appropriate time. We recognize the enormous attachment Valiant characters and their stories have held for the loyal fans and have been honored by their constant support. Visit us at ValiantEntertainment.com for the latest updates.