While the Valiant Fans panel wasn’t officially organized by the publisher, it still featured writers Tim Seely, Cullen Bunn and Magdalene Visaggio, as well as editorial director Robert Meyers discussing the publisher’s upcoming titles. This included fan favorites like Bloodshot and Doctor Mirage, as well as the new series Roku.
Visaggio, who joked that she’s a “really morbid person” and thinks about death all the time, will be writing a new volume of Doctor Mirage with pencils by Nick Robles and colors by Jordie Bellaire. The writer said she’s been in love with the Doctor concept for a long time and chose this as one of the first things to pitch after being approached by Valiant. A para-psychologist with a connection to ghosts, this new series will see what happens after Shan Fong’s connection to the afterlife, and her husband Hwen, is finally turned off.
“The first two runs revolve so much around her accomplishing something for Hwen, and this is really an opportunity to see what Shan can do on her own,” Visaggio said.
Part of why the writer likes the character so much is that “death isn’t final for her” in the same way that it is for normal people, meaning she never “really [had] to cope with death.” Meyers, who called Visaggio’s pitch “incredible,” said the two of them had a long conversation at New York Comic-Con that really got the ball moving story wise.
While she insists she may not always feel comfortable sending all of her ideas to other publishers, Visaggio said she feels empowered to send all her “stupid ideas” into Meyers.
Seely, who’s taking over the reigns on Bloodshot, joked that his experience writing zombie stories and G.I. Joe books made him a good fit for the property. He’s a fan of the Valiant Universe who has been waiting for the right opportunity to pitch since the reboot in 2012.
Showing off some of Brett Booth’s artwork for the book, Seely talked about the freedom of writing such an indestructible character and insisted people “do not mess with a dude who can jump into a helicopter blade.” When asked why he found the character so compelling, Seely did mention that “he looks cool as shit,” but he also dug into the more relatable techophobic fears the book represents.
Comparing Bloodshot’s overwhelming struggle to use the nanites in his body for good to Seely’s own daily struggle to stay off Twitter, Seely insists the character, who will serve as the basis of the upcoming Vin Diesel movie, is empathetic at his core: “He represents the idea that we’re getting more and more absorbed by our own technology, and we’re sort of disappearing into it to some degree.”
Bunn, who has already penned books like Punk Mambo for Valiant, has a new Roku mini-series coming out. This is the first time the character will have her own book and Bunn is looking forward to establishing her own supporting cast. When asked directly if Ninjak will appear in the title, Bunn said he avoided it because he didn’t want the impact of this being Roku’s first title to be lost. More than anything, he’s excited about what it means for the character to be framed as a protagonist instead of playing “second fiddle” or “an adversary for someone else.”
Aware of the irony that a bald man is writing a character with a killer ‘do, Bunn insists that “very few people understand hair the way I do.”
“I wanted to do a story that was just break-neck […] I don’t want readers to be able to catch their breath,” Bunn said with a smile. “It’s go time.”
Promising that the book features “break-neck” action sequences that don’t provide the reader with much time to “catch their breath,” Bunn still wants to explore what makes the former MI6 agent tick.
“We know she kills people for various reasons and that she’s very good at it, but I wanted to explore, even in the framework of this action packed story, what would make her question that and make her question everything she’s been doing?” he said.
On the surface, the Valiant Universe may seem like any other comic book universe, full of colorful characters vying to protect or destroy the world, but all three writers praised the publisher as a unique place to work. More than the grounded universe or relatively compact history, Visaggio pointed out the freedom to pitch “stupid ideas” without feeling uncomfortable and the creator-driven, rather than editorial-driven, atmosphere.
“I want to work with people who are fun and people who aren’t afraid to send me stupid ideas at any time of day,” Meyers said. “I want creators who are going to be paired with characters who are geared to their passions.”
As for the next potentially stupid pitch coming from Visaggio, the writer did say she loves “galaxy spanning, space adventures,” and since the Valiant Universe hasn’t really explored that realm yet, she could “create all of that.”