Question(s) for the VH1/90's crowd.

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Question(s) for the VH1/90's crowd.

Post by TheFerg714 »

I would absolutely love to hear what you guys think of various releases from the original era. During the last 7 years, it's been kind of a big deal when a new series comes out. So what did you guys think of... everything?!? Turok #1, Unity, Psi-Lords, Timewalker, anything. I would love to hear any and all thoughts. Any releases you guys were particularly hyped for? Any disappointments? When did you guys realize things were going downhill? Was there ever a point where you felt like giving up just because the quality dipped?

Thanks in advance.

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Re: Question(s) for the VH1/90's crowd.

Post by valiantdude »

Haha... I dont even know where to begin... I was stoked at first then nervous, because it didn't start right (vei), xo not having orb industries and later getting a country instead was so awful. There were a few big editorial flaws in the very first book they put out.. they kept changing things for the sake of changing them.. making it the opposite of whatever...
Right out of the gate I knew it had a chance but they blew it by doing to many changes.. they were supposed to do an ultimate style version of vh1 , stick to the core concepts dont alter the costumes or characters, but update it and make it better.. they didn't do any of those things..


Edit : I read your question wrong an thought u meant what old schoolers thought of vei... haha... oops

But I remember people tearing up copies of the death mate prologue because everyone had piles of them.. turok #1 was the breaking point 1.4 million copies, valiant lost mega cred after too many printed.. I remember people buying cases like it was stock or something...
Bloodshot #1 was when valiant went mainstream..ummm let's see.. literally by choas effect no one cared anymore.. it was like watching a flower wither and die before your eyes.. needed some shooter juice!!!

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Re: Question(s) for the VH1/90's crowd.

Post by TheFerg714 »

valiantdude wrote: But I remember people tearing up copies of the death mate prologue because everyone had piles of them.. turok #1 was the breaking point 1.4 million copies, valiant lost mega cred after too many printed.. I remember people buying cases like it was stock or something...
Bloodshot #1 was when valiant went mainstream..ummm let's see.. literally by choas effect no one cared anymore.. it was like watching a flower wither and die before your eyes.. needed some shooter juice!!!
What did people think of the quality of Turok #1 and Deathmate prologue (black?)?

Why did Valiant lose so much cred for printing so many books? Was the quality there at all? Or were people just more interested in collecting?

And why do you think interest dropped so harshly between Bloodshot and Chaos Effect? Did anyone give a *SQUEE* about Bloodshot after #1?

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Re: Question(s) for the VH1/90's crowd.

Post by nonplayer »

I am a huge turok fan. I love dell and gold key turok and love dinosaur hunter. The crap dinomite put out initially was trash. Their latest series isnt bad.
I Miss Dinesh running Valiant

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Re: Question(s) for the VH1/90's crowd.

Post by valiantdude »

The quality of turok number one was notable because people were excited that Bart Sears was back doing the art. One of the biggest complaints about valiant at the time, and you have to remember this is in the time of image reshaping the comics industry, Was the lack of flashy 90 style art, having bart Sears on board for turok, was the closest valiant could get to an image style artist . Many people loved the book itself, but it was so over printed, that it was one of the main offenders for the crash of the comic market. Also people loved the quality of the deathmate prolouge, if you look back it has Jim Lee inking Barry Windsor Smith art, and I think it had joe quesada as well? At least on the cover, people loved the quality and the potential, reading the prelude books, and then the prolouge, built up and insane amount of hype, but then the color books did not pay off as well, they were super late, and the rest everyone knows. All you have to do is read the last panel of blood shot number 2, it is the most clearest indicator of how bad valiant went down. It went from watchmen style a plus storytelling, to some really bad writing, and no substance. Go look at that last panel.

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Re: Question(s) for the VH1/90's crowd.

Post by valiantdude »

Also, I should point out that they had fired Bart Sears by turok number 2, because they could not deal with the fact that his art took more time and a lot made their book late. If you look at turok he did number one come out the breakdowns in 2, and by 3 he was gone. Bob layton did not like the fact that he could not stay on a monthly schedule

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Re: Question(s) for the VH1/90's crowd.

Post by TheFerg714 »

valiantdude wrote:Also, I should point out that they had fired Bart Sears by turok number 2, because they could not deal with the fact that his art took more time and a lot made their book late. If you look at turok he did number one come out the breakdowns in 2, and by 3 he was gone. Bob layton did not like the fact that he could not stay on a monthly schedule
This is literally the same thing that happened with Bloodshot Rising Spirit. Learn from history, people!!

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Re: Question(s) for the VH1/90's crowd.

Post by valiantdude »

And then of course you have the insane idea, perhaps cocaine induced? To re design the covers of the books, the graphic layout. Probably some of the worst designed comic covers in history, it killed the visual aesthetic of valiant, and made them seem like some really low grade publisher which they kind of were at that point..94-95

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Re: Question(s) for the VH1/90's crowd.

Post by valiantdude »

1 I have to say looking back, one of the weakest, moves they made, and of course this was post shooter. Was ret conning the VH1 history, to include 3 immortal brothers, instead of the original 2.. .. This happened in eternal Warrior number 8... It was so weak at the time, they had built up this history, saying the immortal brothers were 10000 years old, and that there were 2 of them, the eternal Warrior, and Armstrong. Then out of nowhere, they decide there are now 3 immortal brothers, and one of them is a time traveler, and now they are only 5000 years old, it was very very weak and 1 of the 1st big indicators of a downward trend

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Re: Question(s) for the VH1/90's crowd.

Post by valiantdude »

And you probably don't know about the valiant character, vandal the hunter. This I believe was going to be potentially the eternal Warriors father as a character. They had a trademark for him, and Bob Layton came on this board around 2002 or 3 to talk about vandal. Essentially it was going to be a vehicle for Barry windsor- Smith, a new book and character, but then Barry took off to ultraverse

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Re: Question(s) for the VH1/90's crowd.

Post by valiantdude »

Any other questions?

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Re: Question(s) for the VH1/90's crowd.

Post by kjjohanson »

The downfall wasn't due to the fact that Valiant printed too many of Turok #1. I'm sure they printed based on orders. The problem was that by that time, most sales were to speculators, and the volume meant that there was no one to flip the books to, so speculators bailed, driving the print numbers down. The business people probably didn't realize that, or, more importantly, didn't care. Voyager was making a boatload by selling, and Acclaim was less interested in the comics than they were the IP to build video games from (as the Acclaim line shows)
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Re: Question(s) for the VH1/90's crowd.

Post by valiantdude »

I guess what I meant by that was that is when they got a lot of negative attention in a very concentrated way, was after printing Turok. Also if you remember, if you were there, valiant comics before Jim shooter left were all about super tight continuity really real istic story telling, and very comic craft style comics. They try to be very believable, as soon as he was out of the picture things instantly went away from that mindset, and the quality suffered, and at the end of blood shot number 2 there is a villain type figure flying away shaking his fist saying I'll get you next time bloodshot, I believe it is ax

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Re: Question(s) for the VH1/90's crowd.

Post by IMJ »

Back then Valiant Comics had a sort of halo around them. I got on board probably a week after X-O Manowar #1 was released. I bought it off the racks of this pretty terrible comic book store I used to frequent as a kid. I also recall around that time Advanced Comics had an X-O cover as well, but I lucked into X-O #1 because a buddy let me read his Magnus #1. I wanted to read more Valiant. Early on, Wizard Magazine had sprung up and was pimping Image and Valiant pretty hard. At the time everything felt new and fresh, but in hindsight I'm sure Wizard embraced those two publishers strongly because it was easier than getting Marvel or DC on board for whatever they wanted to do. But it worked either way, and it kicked up a whirlwind about the books.

Articles and interviews with Shooter and other guys from the Valiant crew painted a great picture for the books. They were talking about print runs and the sort of special nature of "gold books" and it was sort of the first time as a reader that you perceived that comic books had some kind of market strategy behind them. In hindsight, it was probably that culture that curated my interest in market analysis of the hobby sometimes more than the content of books themselves.

At the time Harbinger #1, Harbinger #0 and Magnus #12 were iconic books that, for a kid, had this unattainable mystique surrounding them. "I wonder if someday I'll have a Harbinger #1?" was normal conversation for kids who got on board around Unity. Archer & Armstrong came out of nowhere, were thrust into Unity and was one of the best and most unique books on the shelves. Only Valiant Comics could've done that book - it was a straight up "indy publisher's weirdo book", but it nabbed superhero readers like me because of the Universe it was in. Unity was a tremendous deal. To anyone who was not there, the best way I can describe it was that Unity felt like this industry event akin to the first Avengers movie did for moviegoers - this truly universe spanning event that felt like "it's about time" but also had a quality payoff as well. It was exciting when Valiant was so cohesive and you'd find out that a character from some earlier issue had relevance to their overarching story. Everything felt so new - the paper quality, the sort of "indy" art style (at the time), the unfolding of the Universe. But there were a lot of later releases where interest faded.....

Bloodshot #1 was a big deal, and it felt like it belonged with the original guard. By issue 3 or 4 I didn't care. I remember the H.A.R.D. Corps release was a big deal - it had an established first in Harbinger, the Jim Lee cover was cool and you honestly wanted to know more about the team. By issue 3 I didn't care. I enjoyed Dr. Mirage a lot, but I recall for some reason that things were feeling different with that release. Not because of the content of Dr. Mirage, but because by then Valiant was beginning to feel less like this "cult local band" that you found, and more like a mainstream thing with the growth of their line. Rai #9 was a huge deal. I remember the comic shop was packed for it, but once I got home and read it, it just felt like a regular comic book, and one that I wasn't so vested in. It's a great book don't get me wrong, but I think that the content just couldn't live up to the hype that comics of the time were garnering. I didn't hold on to Ninjak for very long because I think at the time it felt like a quality reduction without Quesada's pencils. By the time Chaos Effect came out, I was completely disinterested. Psi-Lords never felt right to me, Secret Weapons never felt right, and interestingly enough I didn't care about Armorines at all.

In hindsight, as a regular reader (this as opposed to a "normie" who might've seen Superman #75 on the news and bought 20 of them) I think what began happening with Valiant (and probably Image as well) was that the thought of a release became more exciting than the release itself. A week with a new Wizard Magazine was more exciting than other weeks. Understanding the market of that era means understanding that Wizard didn't simply have it's finger on the pulse of the 13/14 year old readership - it was the pulse.

In the beginning, excitement from promotion for Valiant Comics matched the excitement generated by the comic content; and things were nicely synced. But as time went on, from my perspective at least, the excitement about an upcoming book was often more exciting than the book itself. But the early months of Valiant through the first post-Unity months were more than comic book reading - it was more like a movement.

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Re: Question(s) for the VH1/90's crowd.

Post by SwiftMann »

By the time I keyed into Valiant in late 1993/early 1994 it was already over. There was still some heat to early Valiant and first appearance issues at conventions, and, yes, they were over producing issues left and right, but no one cared.

I was only in my mid-teens then, so I wasn't terribly tuned in, but I feel like Deathmate really hurt the brand. It carried a LOT of hype and failed to deliver anything worthwhile. Then it was followed up by Voyager bloating the line to 18 titles with sub-par artwork, generic stories, and guest appearances (vs connected universe - see also: VEI).

I've been re-reading all of Valiant. You can check out my thoughts on the first three years here, here, and here. The short of it is while Magnus, Solar, Rai, X-O, and Shadowman were generally great books (and A&A and EW started great), the line became rudderless and bland. There's no real reason for HARD Corps, Armorines, and Secret Weapons to all be published at the same time since they were completely interchangeable stories. Bloodshot, Turok, Ninjak, and Dr. Mirage all meandered with no clear vision or purpose from their very start. Psi-Lords came out the gate a dud with a crap gimmick. Magnus and Rai did a time jump 20 years forward and focused on their petulant kids which no one was asking for.

All the while, Wizard and Hero and Fan were hyping Valiant hard. So, by the time the Wizard Special and Chaos Effect happened there was still a perceived hype around the company, but they hadn't delivered hype-worthy product in a year. And then people read Chaos Effect. And it stunk. And then they did that god-awful linewide cover design valiantdude mentioned. And Geomancer. And The Visitor. And Timewalker.

By this point, I think Valiant knew they had to do something to address the bad art and the bloated line, so... Birthquake. Unfortunately (maybe, I'm just about here in my reading), the entire industry was in post-speculator boom freefall by the time the new direction started in mid-1995, so it didn't stand a chance. Frankly, the fact that VH1 published 160 more issues from Birthquake on is actually pretty impressive considering the wholesale slaughter of comic sales happening at the time.
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Re: Question(s) for the VH1/90's crowd.

Post by Aram »

Chaos Effect. The writing was literally on the wall in every way at that point.
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Re: Question(s) for the VH1/90's crowd.

Post by TheFerg714 »

@valiantdude @IMJ @SwiftMann
This is exactly what I'm looking for, thank you.

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Re: Question(s) for the VH1/90's crowd.

Post by Aram »

TheFerg714 wrote:@valiantdude @IMJ @SwiftMann
This is exactly what I'm looking for, thank you.
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Re: Question(s) for the VH1/90's crowd.

Post by Aram »

I became interested in valiant during unity, but did not read. I became fully interested in comics at Superman 75 for certain..

Things are fuzzy but I know ghost rider 15 (post release), legionaries 1, catwoman 1 (2nd), Batman (497-500?) and especially dr mirage #1 sucked me more into the industry with each release. I was interested before but not enough to spend money. I was into baseball and non sport cards.. wizard was the worst at building my obsession over comics.. thankfully FRED joined wizard after the fact for me so he is completely an innocent in all things ever.. just don’t discuss baseball with him..

But I digress..

By chaos effect I was completely in love with valiant, though my ability to buy comics was extremely low and almost non existent... I preordered all of chaos effect, and dr mirage was my only saver that I bought monthly.

Though I was excited by the idea, chaos effect and time walker nearly killed it for me. It was about 6 months later when I went in for dr mirage 18 only to find out it was cancelled and for some reason they couldn’t find my copy that I left valiant and didn’t look back until 2001, when I took up reliving the past and recollecting.

Is that any better?
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Re: Question(s) for the VH1/90's crowd.

Post by Blood of Heroes »

I'd guess that most people's opinions are shaped by two things: the point at which they started reading Valiant, and how old they were when started.

I can't exactly remember when I started reading but it was some time after Unity but before Chaos effect, and I was 12 or 13 at the time. Bloodshot and HARD Corps were the only two books that I bought monthly because they were the only two books I could afford to buy the back issues of to complete the series going forward. Forget about anything pre Unity, let alone the key issues, I could barely afford to buy Bloodshot 6! I'd start new titles as they came out like Ninjak, Armorines, Timewalker, etc., but they didn't really hold my interest. But my young age combined with the inaccessibility to the pre Unity books meant that I liked most of the post Unity stuff just fine. Chaos Effect was great, or whatever. What did I know? I was just a kid that loved Valiant. And being from San Diego I was able to go to Comic Con every year. Valiant had a huge booth back then and it was always manned by the staff and creators that were welcoming and friendly, even to us stupid kids.

So I stuck it out to the bitter end and bailed on Acclaim. I still enjoyed most of Bloodshot. HARD Corps was...tough to finish. Even I knew it sucked. But what're you going to do? :?

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Re: Question(s) for the VH1/90's crowd.

Post by SwiftMann »

From the Birthquake hyping back matter of May 1995 issues (dated December 22, 1994):
On the fourth anniversary of our birth as Valiant we believe we must shake up the Universe, our company and the comics industry. Let's face it, the comics business has been lethargic for about a year now. We at Valiant put a lot of effort into examining what was wrong with us and with comics in general. We came to the following conclusions:
1) Too many titles confusing both the retailer and the consumer.
2) Too many bad titles without any valid reason to exist other than taking up shelf space.
3) A change in the shelf life of a comic from one month to two weeks.
4) Too many over-hyped titles that don't deliver.
5) The complaints about Valiant were that, although the stories met with approval, they had average art and that there appeared to be a house style of art.
I don't know where they got the idea fans wanted twice monthly comics. That still doesn't seem to be true.

Other than that, it seems Valiant knew its problems. But, obviously, the shift to big name Marvel & DC creators in the middle of the crash was not the right answer.
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Re: Question(s) for the VH1/90's crowd.

Post by Rai-fan »

I was aware of books like Magnus 1 and X-O 1 when released, but I passed on them, as I liked superhero books, not sci-fi.

But then - like most old-school collectors, I jumped on with Unity 0. It's hard to overstate how big Unity was that summer, and what it -- and the constant pimping by Wizard -- did to the Valiant market.

And it was great. There were only 47 pre-Unity books. This was a chance for 90s teens (I turned 15 in '92) to get in on the ground floor of something akin to Marvel in 1964.

8 titles -- it was possible to collect them all, even though they cost more than equivalent Marvel/DC books and, as stated, they all fit in the same, tightly connected universe.

I'm not gonna' lie -- many of us got into Valiant (even with Unity) for investment, too. Whereas *everyone* had bought 5 copies of every Image # 1, the pre-Unity print runs were so small -- and the books (for a time) were difficult to find and seemed worth their $12-$20 valuations.

If Unity 0 drove Valiant into the mainstream, Bloodshot 1 (Nov. 1992) is when it took off big-time. It came out the same day as Superman 75 & instantly skyrocketed from $3.50 (cover) to $8. Like...within 48 hours. The baseball card dealers took notice and from then on the print run on all the books began to rise.

The party largely ended in April 1993 when Turok 1 came out to the tune of 1.7 million copies (literally more than 1 million more than Bloodshot 1). And...fun fact...it was only the # 5 most-ordered book of the month (behind Advs. of Superman 500 & others).

April 1993 alone so over-extended dealers that it led directly to the comics market crash.

I don't blame Shooter's departure for the decline in quality of Valiant books -- from Unity on, the market for Valiant was largely speculator-driven.

But for six-eight months or so the bulk of those speculators were also true fans -- and we were excited to build a full set of this company's books. By the time Harbinger 1 hit $100, people legit thought it was our generation's X-Men 94, and would go to $250-$300 within another year or two.

What made Valiant unsustainable was:

1) the expansion to 18 titles, and
2) the ridiculous print runs -- when the likes of common issues like Harbinger 18-19 sold more than 100k, it was bad.

Deathmate didn't help, but not for a lack of quality. As with Image 0, the series lost all momentum with the delays. By the time Red and Epilogue came out, nobody cared.

Storywise:

- Agree with the previous poster that A&A / Eternal Warrior 8 - with the intro of the third immortal brother -- was an unecessary slap in the face of early fans.

- Ditto that Rai & the Future Force was far less compelling than the earlier adventures of a solo Rai (ironically, the series returned to greatness when they went back to solo Rai stories around # 21 or so).

- Psil-Lords & Timewalker were dumb, and Harbinger should have ended with issue 25.

- I also really liked Ninjak, because he was essentially James Bond. 25 years later, I'm still annoyed that the books cancellation w/ # 26 meant the storyline was left unfinished.

Ultimately, I tried to finish my VH1 set -- all for the 14 year-old in me who was in awe of Unity 0.

I never quite did -- believe I'm now 16 books away - mostly missing expensive gold books (Bloodshot 0 & Platinum, Shadowman 0, the Diamond Unity trades).

I've sublimated by building the world's best set of Silver Age Magnus instead.

But those three longboxes of VH1 books are still under my childhood bed at my parents' house, along with some amazing memories of ages 14-16, when Valiant briefly ruled the comics world.

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Re: Question(s) for the VH1/90's crowd.

Post by valiantdude »

I almost forgot one of the weirdest moves ever. And I believe all of this was motivated by the fact that Bob Layton wanted to get away from anything Jim shooter had done story wise or character wise. I believe it was definitely fueled by ego more than anything else comet though it is noted that Bob Layton was having a drug problem during those years. And he always seemed like a major *SQUEE* in the staff videos. Imagine having what are the biggest books into back market, harbinger number 1, and having all of this momentum for that team and set of characters. And then by issue 26 you completely erase most of that story line and focus on a brand new team, that literally no 1 cared about, and no 1 asked for at all...
Literally one of the stupidest moves ever in the comic book industry was having harbinger take a serious turn after Jim shooter left..
Add on a side note, Death mate red came out about 8 weeks after deathmate epilouge if I remember correctly, maybe it wasn't that long but it definitely came out weeks after the epilog, that's how flat the death mate thing ended up being

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greg
The admin around here must be getting old and soft.
The admin around here must be getting old and soft.
Posts: 22251
Joined: Wed Feb 04, 2004 9:39:27 am
Valiant fan since: Rai #0
Favorite character: Depends on title
Favorite title: Depends on writer
Favorite writer: Depends on artist
Favorite artist: Depends on character
Location: Indoors
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Re: Question(s) for the VH1/90's crowd.

Post by greg »

I've written my experiences elsewhere about 15 years ago...
http://valiantarchive.com/valiant/aboutme.php" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
... but I also want to +1 on Rai-fan's post.

:)

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wrunow
Where are you now?
Where are you now?
Posts: 3654
Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2004 10:10:29 am
Valiant fan since: 1991
Favorite character: They killed her off!
Favorite title: Harbinger
Favorite writer: Dysart
Favorite artist: Nord
Location: York, Maine
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Re: Question(s) for the VH1/90's crowd.

Post by wrunow »

I've also written several times about my original VALIANT collecting.

IMHO VALIANT became the scapegoat for the overprinting everyone was doing. Many don't remember that at that time they had to compete with Marvel putting out there major titles twice a month and clogging up all the shelves in the dealers stores.

Also, the sports card market at the time was much larger than the comic market and as that market became less profitable and more competitive the card dealers started to buy comics on speculation, and they bought a lot of VALIANT in quantity because they were the darling of the market at that time with huge speculative profits showing in the short term.

Based on this movie news I guess I should have unloaded my pre unity stuff during the last year, oh well.
I am selling "nothing" on ebay-yet.


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