The Valiant-Verse and Related Comics

by Blaise Tassone

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A ‘Bloodshot’ movie starring Vin Diesel is definitely on the way in 2020, but the long-anticipated ‘Harbinger’ film by Sony has stalled. Can the old Valiant comics transition into a series of movies or will the attempt to establish a Valiant Cinematic Universe (the VCU) founder? In either case, what does this respite in the smooth unveiling of the VCU mean for your old Valiant comics?

Founded in 1989 by ex-Marvel editor-in-chief Jim Shooter in league with Steven Massarky and others under the banner of Voyager Communications, Valiant was the last great Indie comic company established in the 1980s but it didn’t start releasing titles until the early 1990s.

Like ‘Image’ Comics and ‘Boom! Studios,’ Valiant still offers an alternative to the big two (Marvel and DC). Unlike the above-mentioned independents, from its inception, Valiant was explicit that its comic book titles form the basis for a shared universe. The Valiant-verse, like the sprawling Marvel universe it was developed to resemble, would be kept unified mainly by hard-working editors and creators like Shooter. Again, similar to Marvel and DC, Valiant’s books utilized different genres to tell their stories: from action-adventure to horror and sci-fi. In 1994 Valiant was acquired by Acclaim Entertainment, which led to a relaunch of many of its titles. Finally, 2018 saw Valiant Comics acquired by DMG Entertainment.

Over the years, Valiant’s comic book universe would grow and evolve. Starting with the resuscitation of the old Gold Key title: Magnus Robot Fighter, in 1991, Valiant Comics would eventually launch titles such as: Eternal Warrior, X-O Manowar, Harbinger, Bloodshot, Ninjak, Archer and Armstrong, Shadowman, Quantum & Woody, Unity, Imperium, and Doctor Mirage, among others.

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Harbinger #1 (January 1992) – First appearance of the Renegades; First Peter Stancheck; First appearance of Eggbreakers

The Harbinger comic revolves around a team of young superhero rebels (The Renegades) in the tradition of the X-Men. After a corporation attempts to harness and exploit their powers to nefarious ends, the heroes unite and fight back.

The original project for translating this comic into film had the names of actors Dylan O’Brien and Noah Centineo attached as well as Neal Moritz producing with a script originally penned by Eric Heisserer and later revised by Justin Tipping and Joshua Beirne-Golden. It was originally fast-tracked by Sony but they’ve now abandoned the project and Paramount will be taking over (see here). Although the producers and writers will not change, this is a serious let down for anyone who was hoping the VCU would provide a competitor to Marvel’s dominance at the box-office.

Thus far, the book was seeing a strong and gradual rise in price. How the dropping of the Harbinger project by Sony will affect this trend is hard to say. Most fans will probably be happy to have Paramount release the film, but since Sony is producing the Bloodshot films this leads to a Spider-man like situation for the Valiant film universe. The bad news is that Harbinger isn’t Spider-man. Nowhere near as well-known or beloved by as many people. Will the $875.00 FMV for Harbinger #1 plummet? The last three eBay sales of 9.8 copies listed on GoCollect are marked as having sold for: $899.99 (09/09/2019), $875.00 (09/06/2019) and $875.00 (08/31/2019). However, all three were actually sold for much less (eBay has changed its algorithm and no longer allows third party websites to know how much best offers actually sell for). I’d say there’s been something of a softening of prices for this book from a few months ago. As proof, a qualified 9.8 graded copy sold for a mere $184.00 on Sept. 4. That’s low even for a CGC Green label. Subsequent sales have picked up but we’ll have to wait to see the long term trends and how Paramount develops the property.

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Eternal Warrior #4 (November 1992) – First Bloodshot Cameo

The Vin Diesel ‘Bloodshot’ movie will definitely happen (see here), and so, for the moment, his key books are still a safe bet. Among those should be this issue of Eternal Warrior. This comic features the first cameo appearance of Bloodshot as a mob hit-man imbued with body enhancing technology that turns him into a one-man killing machine. Although the movie will now focus on the later incarnation, these early Valiant books are still the most valuable. That includes Eternal Warrior #4. With a total of 2,027 copies on the CGC census, this has become the Bloodshot book to own. Currently, 9.8 copies have an FMV of $160.00 and the movie is less than a year away. Over the last three months, prices have shown an increase and positive ROI for all grades except 9.6. Sales have been steady, with 24 9.8’s sold over the last three months.

 

 

 

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Rai #0 (November 1992) – First appearance of Bloodshot; First appearance of Rai II; Partial origin

Although Bloodshot also appears in later issues of Eternal Warrior, the real key for the character in terms of appearances is Rai #0 his first full appearance. Strangely, as the release date for the film approaches, prices on this book have been softening. This is most noticeable in 9.8 sales, where returns are down negative -1.7% after 41 sales over the last three months. The last 9.8 sold on eBay for $154.50 on 09/09/2019, an improvement over the $115.00 eBay sale four days earlier on 09/05/2019, but a far cry from the $400.00 high of 03/02/2019 and the regular 200-300 dollar sales of the last half-year. It will be interesting to see what happens when the trailer for the film drops sometime in October.

 

GoCollect is the #1 comic book price guide for tracking sales data of all graded comic books in real-time. Fair market values are now at your fingertips. Check out all the features at www.gocollect.com
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3 comments

Justin D. September 15, 2019 - 5:34 am

As of the time of this article, the 3 most recent eBay sales of ‘Harbinger 1 CGC 9.8’ were from 9/12: $900, $800, and $999.99. So, the announcement of price softening might be a bit premature.

Reply
Blaise Tassone September 15, 2019 - 7:38 am

Justin,
Yes, I actually wrote the article a day or two before it got posted. But I’m still worried that the move of the ‘Harbinger’ film from Sony Studios and therefore a link to the upcoming ‘Bloodshot’ movie (which might be quite good) and into the hands of Paramount may cause a schism in the VCU that will lead to a drop in quality in the subsequent movies.

We’ve all seen what a bad movie can do to the price of a comic.

Reply
Justin D. September 15, 2019 - 10:54 am

I hear you, but keep in mind that this comic was rising in value way before any confirmed movie news. In fact, I’d argue that all of the vague movie rumors did not help Harby 1 as much as they should’ve.

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