It seems like everyone is following in Marvel Studio’s footsteps. Some studios are scrounging for other graphic novels to adapt in hopes of meeting some of Marvel’s success, while others are trying to create their own shared universes to ape the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Credit should go to Valiant Entertainment, because they are following Marvel’s example in a whole new way.
The comic book company is partnering with Bejing-based DMG Entertainment in a nine-figure deal to develop its properties for film and television. The deal is said to be similar to one Marvel struck when it started Marvel Studios.
This isn’t the first geek-friendly venture DMG has been involved in. It co-produced and co-financed Iron Man 3, and is said to have helped Marvel gain a foothold in the Chinese market. The company also had a hand in Looper and Transcendence.
Valiant’s story is quite interesting. The first incarnation of Valiant appeared in the late-1980s and published comics based on licenses such as Nintendo and the WWE. Eventually, the company gained the rights to Gold Key Publishing’s superheroes from the 1960s, such as Turok, Magnus Robot Fighter and Doctor Solar. Valiant used these characters as a core and built around them with original characters such as Shadowman, Ninjak and Bloodshot. Through heavy promotion by Wizard magazine, Valiant became one of the most successful independent comic companies of the 1990s comic book boom.
In 1994, Valiant was bought by video game publisher Acclaim, who wanted the company more for intellectual property to make video games from than anything else. The line of books was cancelled, the company renamed Acclaim, and a the most game-worthy concepts returned to comic book form in the new company. Unfortunately, these new titles arrived just as the comic book boom was turning into a bust. Acclaim itself would file bankruptcy in 2002, the rights to the Gold Key characters would return to their original owners, and the rights to the original Valiant creations would remain in limbo.
Three years later, an investment group would buy the Valiant characters from Acclaim’s estate and form Valiant Entertainment. In 2012, the original Valiant characters returned to comic shops. The company is still going strong today.
The deal with DMG also includes getting the Valiant IP into everything from apparel to live events, online gaming to theme parks. However, there appears to be a focus on creating a shared film universe with an eye on capturing the American and Chinese markets. Whether Valiant character Bloodshot, who has been licensed to Sony as a potential film, will be part of that shared universe, depends on that preexisting contract between Valiant and Sony.