Rumors of layoffs and downsizing at Valiant Comics

Okay, as if Oni Press, Tapas Media and Warner Bros Discovery weren’t enough, Valiant Comics is the latest company said to be downsizing.

The situation is unclear, but would have most employees were laid off and work stopped on most series. Editor Fred Pierce and editor-in-chief Lysa Hawkin changed their social media posts to say they were no longer with the company, but further confirmations were difficult to come by.

However, the Beat has contacted a number of sources, and someone close to the publisher indicated that Pierce is still the publisher and that Valiant continues to publish books, including Bloodshot Unleashed #1 next month.

Valiant’s history is one of the most colorful in comic book publishing – and one of the most telling of how the focus on publishing comic books as cheap intellectual property for movies and movies can backfire.

The company was founded in the early 90s by former Marvel EIC Jim Shooter, initially releasing revamped versions of classic Gold Key characters such as Magnus, Robot Fighter, Turok, and Solar. But Shooter quickly assembled a team of veterans and newcomers ranging from Barry Windsor Smith to Christopher Priest to David Laphamto create characters like Bloodshot, Harbinger, and Quantum and Woody – superheroes who would gain a devoted fanbase and become the most successful superhero universe outside of Marvel and DC in the modern age.

Shooter was eventually kicked out of the company after it was purchased by game publisher Acclaim, and Valiant ceased publishing as part of the comic book publishing implosion of the late ’90s.

In 2012, the company resurfaced, assets acquired by fan and investor Dinesh Shamdasani. Under the editor-in-chief Warren SimonsValiant quickly set about establishing its universe with creators including Matt Kindt, Brian Stelfreeze, Robert Venditti, Cullen Bunn, Jeff Lemire, Lewis Larosa and much more. Even for those who didn’t like superheroes or “precursors”, the comics were always done with care.

Valiant has been through the current ups and downs of the comics industry, but over time more and more potential media deals for the characters have been thrown around. In 2018, 57% of the company was sold to DMG Entertainment, a media company run by Dan Mintz. At that time, Shamdasani left the company, while the publisher Fred Pierce remained to direct publishing operations. Although often referred to as a Chinese company, DMG is owned by Mintz, with the backing of Chinese investors. Media development continued with the announcement of a Bloodshot movie starring Vin Diesel, which is slated for release in March 2020 – literally the day after the Covid pandemic shut down the world.

Since then, Valiant has continued to release albeit at a reduced rate. A reboot of several titles has been announced earlier this year. and Bloodshot raging and XO Manowar Unconquered are slated for release.

The Beat will continue to reach out for information on the situation at Valiant. But in the meantime, Shamdasani couldn’t help but deliver his own little snark on Twitter:

“you want to buy a comic book business at a low price?” asked one Twitter user, with Shamdasani replying “I went there all week.

Pending future developments, it should be noted that no comic book publisher created to be a front for the development of film and television has ever been successful in the long run. Every publisher that tells me “We put comics first” is saying the one thing that works.

OR as someone told me in a DM about it “Make comics for the love of comics, don’t make comics to be a cinematic IP grinder.”

Kimberly B. Nguyen