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Shooter’s Valiant

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I don’t know if anyone else feels nostalgic about the early nineties when Jim Shooter was involved with Valiant. My first encounter with Valiant was the first issue of Archer and Armstrong. At the time I had just finished collecting Barry Windsor-Smith’s Weapon X story in Marvel Comics Presents, I think that is the title, and wanted more of this artist. Collecting comics has been a small passion of mine since the local trash man all those years ago rescued a number 1 of Rom the space knight from the trash. Granted the cover was gone but it was the comic which got me hooked. 

Anyways, now I have been looking back at the early Valiant books and find I miss them and wonder where the stories could have really gone if Jim Shooter had stayed at Valiant. I wouldn’t have minded if Warriors Of Plasm was the trade off because I think he would have gotten around to making that series no matter where he went. 

Now I am collecting the books I want even if I am scared to get the books I have slabbed but I love to read them once in a while but I have the early trades I use more frequently. 

I hope there are other collectors who miss the early Valiant are out there. If not then that is cool. 



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I spent a ton of money buying the books to clip the coupons for Unity 0 (I think that was the book), and then had to buy another copy for the collection. I sold those years later for next to nothing...and then Valiant relaunches and the books get hot again. Sigh. My favorites were Eternal Warrior, Bloodshot, and Ninjak.

P.S. I had the pleasure of meeting and chatting with Jim Shooter this year when he signed my DD 141, which he wrote.

Edited by surfer99
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I got to meet Jim Shooter at Heroescon 2017. Was lucky enough to pick up a sealed tin of Warriors of Plasm zero set for 10 bucks at the con to sign the inside certificate. Never realized how tall he is in person. Chatted with him a couple of minutes and gushed like a fan boy. 

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Who are your 5 favorite Valiant characters?

I like them like this.

1. X-O Manowar(The Alpha main hero of the group).

2.Bloodshot (Just visually striking).

3. Archer/Armstrong(These guys crack me up).

4. Eternal Warrior(Reminded me of Highlander).

5. Ninjak(Love ninjas)


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1. Archer and Armstrong

2. Eternal Warrior

3. X-O Manowar

4. Magnus

5. Solar

Psi Lords was a good series, I thought, because of the evolution of the Hard Corps into the future. Archer and Armstrong was an unusual comic to me and that’s what drew me in especially when it was just two guys hanging out with one just being helpful because it was the right thing. And the crossbow Archer carried.

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Wasn't a huge Valiant fan. Enjoyed Eternal Warrior and Archer and Armstrong but never got into the others. I didn't start with them until Unity, and the back issues then were less than two years old and cost move than many SA Marvel runs.

Years later, I obtained an OO collection that included most of the early stuff and liked reading Harbinger. Solar, Magnus and Rai just never made the grade for me. 

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Magnus RF was a favorite SA title for me when I was a kid. Gold Key were hard to find compared to the big two.


I thought the Valiant reboot of Magnus, Solar and Turok was pretty interesting to begin with as well. Caught 'valiant fever' in the Unity period, and thought BWS's take on Solar was epically high concept for the first ten issues. I managed to get pretty much everything bar a few 0 issues and gold foil whatnots.

Archer and Armstrong were pretty terrific for about 10 issues. Eternal Warrior never quite lived up to its promise.

But the sheen fell away quite steeply after Unity. The art and stories proved to be less engaging. I think XO stood up better than most for longer. But it was the armor that intrigues, rather than the man inside.

I never quite got in to Harbinger for some reason, though I collected them as well as all the rest. Might have been different if Smith had drawn the title! I guess the intrigue was to do with the exposition of a new comic universe. London Comic marts for a brief time had feeding frenzies - Rai #5!! Or was it #4? As if they could be genuinely scarce when honestly they werent.


Villains wise, I 'liked' the spider aliens, in a boo hiss sort of way. Spider femme fatale that started out as a runway model and gradually 'spiderfied' over time

I stopped collecting about the time Bloodshot and Ninjak were launched. Still have all the ones I bought. I think one of the last issues I bought was a Harbinger #1, gritting my teeth at the price. No bang for my buck there at all. Dont think I will ever get my money back.


I remember the 'Valiant Verse' spawned other ready made universes one summer - Malibu, Dark Horse. Then it all seemed to fade away, or I stopped paying attention, maybe both...


Quite surprised to see a reboot of the verse minus Solar, Turok and Magnus. The Valiant reboot seems to get uniformly rave reviews as far as I can see. With a bit more delving I find its not even the first reboot, with the Gold Key trio having been relaunched some time back. Were they any good I wonder?



Edited by Flex Mentallo
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Even Shooter's involvement could not save the "Dark Key" line.  The art doomed it, IMHO.  The physical books are nice, though, and they do have a throwback quality to them.  You can pick up full runs every so often for a few dollars a book sometimes.

The GK properties were excluded from the VEI reboot only because VEI could not strike a deal to get the licenses for them.  There was a ton of drama when Shooter left VEI to bootstrap the "Dark Key" books... all part of why VEI could not get them to license the properties.

Anyway, there is no one more nostalgic for the pre-Unity and Unity valiant era than me.  Not only has it been my lifelong collecting focus, it was the crux of my side business while I was pretending to be a comic dealer while attending college.  I believe it was the 1992 or 1993 New York City Javitz convention that I was set up at with almost every book on my display board a pre-unity valiant.  It was quite a time.  

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Those early Valiants were just fantastic. My favorites were X-O, Eternal Warrior, Bloodshot, Rai, Harbinger, Magnus and H.A.R.D. Corps. I liked other titles as well but these were my favorites at least as long as I read them. Lack of time caused me to not read them even though I still bought them. Valiant was better when Shooter was still with the company. I met Shooter and Layton at a sales conference when Shooter was getting Defiant off the ground. It seems to me that it was in St. Louis, I might be wrong on that. I saw Layton about 3/4 years ago at C2E2 in Chicago and would not have recognized him if I hadn't seen his name tag. He had changed a lot over the years. Those early Valiants had some of my favorite stories ever and for a time they were a major player in the industry.

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The story so far...

The time during lock down has given me an opportunity to find some good deals to fill the holes for my Valiant collection. Granted some sellers were pricing there slabs a bit high there were some deals to be made. I have had my sites on a 9.8 Solar #10 first printing, but some were out of my price range. A 9.8 would be a great addition but a 9.2 will do just as well until i find a 9.8. 

The Solar #10 to me is one of the high marks of the Shooter era at Valiant. The storyline of this book came together and set the stage for the Unity event. One extra detail was the conclusion of the origin story as I remember it with the page inserts in the middle of the book which was started in issue #1. To me, it was a different way to tell a origin story without having to interrupt the main story. I liked the small increments which kept me hooked on the character. Plus, it did not hurt to see the big picture, which I did not expect to see once I put all the panels together from the previous issues.

To me that was the genius Jim Shooter put into his work. Add in the embossed all black cover and it became one of those legendary books to me. I do have to wonder if Jim Shooter is a fan of the band, Spinal Tap.


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