A little mystery surfaced during the Valiant panel at C2E2.  A fan talked about his love for the original Valiant’s Solar (an excellent comic, by the by) and wondered if those old Gold Key heroes might be returning to the new Valiant.  Fred Pierce started out with a slightly political answer, that he thought that the original Valiant characters were stronger and he neither wanted nor needed them for the relaunch.  And then Valiant co-founder Dinesh Shamdasani chimed in with a little nugget of his own.

Shamdasani, who went about trying to get his hands on the rights to Valiant because he was a fan of the original run, admitted his favorite title was Magnus, Robot Fighter and said, that while it was true they didn’t need the characters, it really didn’t matter because those characters were coming back and someone else was doing them.

Which brings up the big question of, as they’re wont to say in New Orleans, “Who dat?”

Dark Horse tried the last revival and it didn’t go well.  It also had a particularly bad shipping schedule.  Early days of Image levels of shipping delays.

The players you’d suspect for a licensed book like Magnus or Solar would be (alphabetically) Boom!, Dark Horse, Dynamite and IDW .

Dark Horse just got done with a pretty extensive product list shout out.  They’re doing a lot of superhero stuff all of a sudden, but the only *line* they’re doing is a revival of their 90’s “Comics’ Greatest World”/”Dark Horse Heroes” line.  And you’d think Shamdasani would have called them by name if they weren’t done with them.

Boom! has been active licensing TV and film rights, more than other comic characters, so they seem less likely at first blush.

That leaves us with IDW (who will be relaunching THUNDER Agents soon) and Dynamite.

There’s a lot of noise around Dynamite right now.  Owner Nick Barrucci was making a lot of noise about a huge business announcement to be made at C2E2, but what we got was Dynamite selling some their titles on Dark Horse’s digital platform.  That’s interesting, but not what I’d call huge.  Makes you think there was something else close to being announced.  Barrucci also announced he’d signed Jeff Parker, Steve Niles and Duane Swierczynski, but not what he’d signed them for.  Plus, Dynamite already has a Classic Media (the owner of the Gold Key heroes) property in the Lone Ranger, so they’re no strangers to the owners.  And then you have the odd rumor that Dark Horse and Dynamite are merging (which I doubt) — probably just over-reaction stemming from the digital deal… or are the two publishers cutting a deal around the Gold Key characters?  Does all this add up to the Gold Key heroes coming in as a new line?  Maybe and maybe not.

Meanwhile, IDW has added “Rocky & Bullwinkle” and “Sherman & Mr. Peabody” to their kids line-up.  While on the surface, you’d think that was more Dreamworks related, guess what?  Those are also Classic Media properties.  It’s not remotely like anyone’s going to have an exclusive with the Classic Media characters.  Still, that’s a link to the mothership for Magnus, Dr. Solar and Turok.

Either way, I suspect Shamdasani is very aware whether or not those properties are in play, so the question is who has them right now?


  1. >>Those are also Classic Media properties. It’s not remotely like anyone’s going to have an exclusive with the Classic Media characters. Still, that’s a link to the mothership for Magnus, Dr. Solar and Turok.>>

    I believe, the publishing rights to those characters, partially belong to Random House, just as the Broadway and Defiant characters do.

  2. Random House does ring a bell. Doctor Solar is definitely on the Classic Media website with a Dark Horse mention.

  3. Do the rebooters have anything against THE MIGHTY SAMSON??? Even Gold Key itself neglected this character when crossing over retired heroes in their wonderful OCCULT FILES OF DR. SPEKTOR…& of course, Valiant itself (as far as I recall). It was so nice to see THE OWL in SPEKTOR (& SOLAR) way back when comix were worth the newsprint they were printed upopn. But SAMSON has been gone longer than MIRACLEMAN (a seeming miracle in itself). What gives?

  4. Thanx, Todd. I quit comics 4 yrs. back after 50+ yrs. of being entertained by them. I just wasn’t being entertained anymore; frustrated & disillussioned is more like it. Whenever a series, whether ongoing or finite–old &/or new, would spur my interest, it would get cancelled due to lack of sales (whether the fault lay in distribution or current generational interests) or put in hibernation until the creators got their act together in order to finish it even if that meant years down the pike (Miller & Batman & Lee–oh, my!) or the characters/concepts were in ridiculous legal ensnarlments (yeah, I’m snarling @ YOU, McFarlane). The founding iconic heroes found themselves w/ more identity crises than Sybil & the see-sawing became too frequent & just too much for this antiquating war horse. Chaykin’s conclusion to THE SQUADRON SUPREME was the last comic I purchased. So, no–I was totally unaware of Samson’s return via Dark Horse. I’ll Google it & see if I missed much. I follow the times & trials of comicdom via news items now & from what I’ve seen, I made a sound decision 4 yrs. back. Pass the Kleenex & where do I send the flowers?

  5. I did read the concluding chapters of THE TWELVE (which was another example of my gripes) via synopses & it makes me wonder if there wasn’t editorial dictates involved because it certainly didn’t end on the promise that begat it. Of course, that could be the result of reading a mere synopsis as opposed to the actual animal, but I’ve my doubts.

  6. Things would be a whole lot less annoying if only Dark Horse, Valiant, IDW and Dynamite would all just merge under the Dark Horse label.

  7. I used to check out Magnus the Robot Fighter. I liked the art. It had that super clean line that made it resemble DC comics. Russ Manning was the artist if I remember right. It seems to me that Magnus had white boots on, and Richie Rich used to wear white socks. All part of that squeaky clean thing that was so acceptable then.
    Now, (kidding here) with the ‘Dark, very veryyy darrrk’ trend, white boots are out, and white socks too. Make it dark, angry and twisted. Shaken and stirred.

  8. Until very very very recently, Dynamite had an ad posted at their site looking for an editor for the line, as though their single editor Joe Rybandt was for whatever reasons departing. Dark Horse has one of the best teams of veteran editors in the business right now. I would bet the farm some connection closer than a digital shop is in the works.

  9. Random House and Dreamworks/Classic Media co-own rights to the Golden Books characters. (Yes, that includes Poky Little Puppy!)

    “Random House, a unit of Germany’s Bertelsmann AG and the world’s largest general interest book publisher, said it acquired all the book publishing properties of Golden Books.

    Classic Media, which acquires and manages entertainment properties in a variety of media, bought the assets of Golden Books’ entertainment division, which include the movie, TV and home video libraries, and the production, licensing, and merchandising rights for Golden’s characters.”

    Random House does publish a few comic books, and could publish the heroes themselves.
    Most likely, via DelRey, perhaps as stand-alone graphic novels aimed at the middle school market, with a slight manga style, like the Odd Thomas GNs.

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