Comics / Spotlight

Valiant Entertainment and Dark Horse Comics should Hold a Unity Crossover

By Hervé St-Louis
June 7, 2012 - 12:50

When Jim Shooter and Bob Layton created Valiant Comics in the late 1980s, they bought the licensing fee from the old Dell Comics properties to jump start their comic book imprint Valiant Comics. Solar Man of the Atom was the first to receive a new series. Magnus Robot Fighter had his next. In between, Valiant launched new series with Ray, which existed in the same time period and continuity as Magnus Robot Fighter. Soon Valiant would populate its universe with Harbinger, X-O Manowar, Archer and Armstrong, The Eternal Warrior and would also reboot the old Dell property Turok Son of Stone. To link all of these characters together, Valiant launched the Unity comic book crossover which tied in with early issues of several Valiant comic book series, giving the, zero issues numbers.

Unity was quite popular and featured artwork by Barry Windsor-Smith and writing by Jim Shooter. Frank Miller created a series of black and white covers for every Unity-tie-in book. The mini-series was a huge success and the next year, influenced Image Comics and Dark Horse Comics, to try their own hands at a cohesive comic book universe. As for Marvel and DC Comics, it forced them to introduce many new characters and take chances on existing properties in an effort to freshen up their line, faced with the young upstart in down the street. In terms of execution, Unity was probably the best plotted and integrated comic book crossover event with many tie-ins and special issues available in various places as promotional items.

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, when there were talks of Valiant reorganizing itself and launching new comics again, Shooter was invited to participated in the new Unity 2 event that would bring back the famed comic book universe to life. It didn’t work out and Valiant as a company, purchased by video game studio Acclaim went through various phases of ownership until the current group at Valiant Entertainment won over the rights to the company’s stable of comic book properties.

However, one of the casualties of the travails at Valiant was the licenses for Solar Man of the Atom, Magnus Robot Fighter and Turok Dinosaur Hunter. These had always been Dell Comics licenses and not tied with the rest of the Valiant universe. Turok became one of the most popular video game character of the 2000s with several versions of the game being produced by studios affiliated with Disney to this day.

So when Jim Shooter, now working with Dark Horse Comics obtained the licences for the old Dell Comics characters and started publishing new versions of the comics, something was lacking. Although Shooter continues to be a great writer, it just didn’t feel right to read about these characters. What made them popular in their last incarnation, a cohesive universe was missing. I think eventually Valiant Entertainment’s offering, even if back by strong creators, will have the same feeling. X-O Manowar may be the big shot of the Valiant universe, without the anchor of the venerable threesome, Solar, Magnus and Turok, it feels like much of the street cred of the universe is missing.

That’s why I’d like to see both Dark Horse and Valiant Entertainment team up to create a Unity inter-company crossover where all the characters would meet once more for the benefit of the fans that remembered Valiant as this one cohesive universe. Of course, they don’t have to keep referring to one another and acknowledge each other’s existence after the crossover, but it would be fun to reunite all these characters under one umbrella today.

Last Updated: August 31, 2023 - 08:12

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