Home News Business News Rumored layoffs and downsizing at Valiant Comics

Rumored layoffs and downsizing at Valiant Comics

Rumored layoffs at Valiant and accusations that their NFT offerings were a rugpull

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

The situation isn’t clear, but reportedly most employees have been laid off and work has stopped on most series. Publisher Fred Pierce and senior Editor Lysa Hawkins changed their social media postings to indicate they no longer worked at the company, but other confirmations have been hard to come by.

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

The history of  Valiant is one of the most colorful in comics publishing – and one most indicative of how the emphasis on publishing comics as cheap IP for movies and film can backfire.

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

Shooter was eventually forced out of the company by then partner Steve Massarsky in 1992, who then sold it to game publisher Acclaim, and Valiant ceased publishing as part of the late 90s comics publishing implosion.

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

Valiant pressed on through the current ups and downs of the comics industry, but as time passed, more and more potential media deals for the characters were floated.  In 2018, 57% of the company was sold to DMG Entertainment, a media company led by Dan Mintz. At that point Shamdasani left the company, while publisher Fred Pierce stayed on to run publishing ops. Although often called a Chinese company, DMG is owned by Mintz, but has a more complicated structure, as reported in THR. It began in the 90s as a joint venture between Mintz and several Chinese partners, but split into a Chinese arm, Yinji, which went public in China, and DMG, still owned by Mintz, as China does not allow foreign top executives.  Media development continued with the announcement of a Bloodshot movie starring Vin Diesel, set to be released in March 2020 – literally the day after the Covid pandemic shut down the world.

Since then, Valiant has continued publishing although at a reduced pace. A reboot of several titles was announced earlier this year. and Bloodshot Unleashed and X-O Manowar Unconquered are expected to come out.
But besides these announced plans, Valiant activities seem to have slowed to a crawl. Marketing man Gregg Katzman left for CBR a few months back, and PR from the company slowed – although not entirely.
A recent shift to NFTS led by a Punk Mambo release, seems to have backfired, as social media, and the Valiant NFT discord, are complaining that Valiant has turned into a #rugpull  – a serious kind of NFT fraud where the developer lures in investors and then never delivers promised results.

A sample of Twitter ire:

https://twitter.com/pinkkbuny/status/1553135556665769985

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

“want to buy a comic book company on the cheap?” asked one twitter user, with Shamdasani replying “Been on it all week.”
While we wait for future developments, it’s worth noting that no comics publisher who was set up to be a front for Movie and TV development has ever succeeded long term. Every publisher who tells me “We put comics first,” is saying the only thing that works.
OR as someone told me in a DM about this “Do comics for the love of comics, don’t do comics to be a motion picture intellectual property mill.”
[This article has been edited to clarify the date of Jim Shooters removal from the original Valiant, and the ownership of DMG Entertainment.]

DMG Entertainment is a global media and entertainment company based in Beverly Hills, CA. Founded by Dan Mintz, the company portfolio has grown to include diverse holdings across film, television, comic book publishing, gaming, and location-based entertainment. Operating as both a production and distribution entity, DMG Entertainment is best known for films such as Looper and Iron Man 3 and the #1 box-office release of Bloodshot feature starring Vin Diesel.

About Valiant Entertainment

Valiant Entertainment, a subsidiary of DMG Entertainment, founded by Dan Mintz, is a leading character-based entertainment company that owns and controls the third most extensive library of superheroes behind Marvel and DC. With more than 90 million issues sold and a library of over 2,000 characters, including X-O Manowar, Bloodshot, Harbinger, Shadowman, Archer & Armstrong, and many more, Valiant is one of the most successful publishers in the history of the comic book medium. For more information, visit Valiant on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and ValiantEntertainment.com. For Valiant merchandise and more, visit ValiantStore.com

4 COMMENTS

  1. A few things that seem to be mis-remembered. Shooter left Valiant/Voyager at the end of 1992. If you believe his account, he was forced out by Massarsky when he and the bulk of investors wanted to start shopping Voyager around for acquisition. Acclaim didn’t actually purchase Valiant until 1994. Valiant/Acclaim comics also sputtered out a few books in the early 2000s (mostly tied to the Turok video games).

    And yes, DMG is technically an American company, Dan Mintz started DMG in China and had to leave the corporation when it went it went IPO there, as publicly-traded Chinese companies can’t have foreign owners. DMG has been heavily tied to Yinji Entertainment from China, and this Hollywood Reporter article details all the shell game nonsense back in 2018: https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/business/business-news/dmg-entertainments-chinese-affiliate-crashes-shenzhen-stock-exchange-1135580/

  2. You know if DMG just stuck with the original plan of getting all those movies done with Sony Pictures, they could have been a formidable competitor with the MCU and DC Films – but no, someone had to screw the deal even before the first movie was released and sell Harbinger off to Paramount. So much for a shared universe of related films.

    I thought Vin Diesel’s Bloodshot was off to a good start.

    ~

    Coat

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