- Associated Press - Thursday, June 9, 2011

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Valiant Entertainment said Thursday it hired former Marvel Comics editor Warren Simons as executive editor and Fred Pierce, former president of Wizard Entertainment, as publisher for the relaunch of its comic book line next year.

The company, based in New York, said the two men will help flesh out its management team at Valiant Comics, the imprint founded in 1989 by Jim Shooter that went on to sell 80 million comic books before it was acquired by videogame maker Acclaim.

Valiant’s roster of characters, including Shadowman, Armorines and Ninjak, among others, drew critical and commercial acclaim during their heyday.

Pierce was vice president of operations and manufacturing at Valiant Comics before heading to Wizard, where he helped expand the publisher’s offerings of entertainment magazines, including “Wizard,” “ToyFare” and “Anime Insider.” He also helped the company start its stable of annual pop culture conventions before leaving in 2008 to be publisher of The Ensig Group.

Valiant CEO Jason Kothari called Pierce’s hiring a chance to “rebuild the legacy he helped create.”

Simons spent several years at Marvel, editing key titles, including revivals of Iron Man and the Immortal Iron Fist, as well as Daredevil, Thor and Spider-Man.

He told The Associated Press that Valiant Comics is aiming to tell compelling stories that will draw in new readers and those who read the publisher’s titles in the early 1990s.

“Valiant has a vast universe populated with remarkable characters, and our goal is to create mythologies that resonate with new and older fans alike,” Simons said. “Valiant has one of the most dedicated fan bases I’ve ever seen, and when you throw in some of the extraordinary creators we’ve got, I think we’re going to make some noise.”

Next year’s relaunch of Valiant titles will focus on 10 or so of the company’s characters, Kothari said, including Harbinger, Bloodshot and X-O Manowar.

“While I don’t want to delve into creative teams just yet, I do feel lucky to have had the opportunity to work with so many exceptional creators,” he said. “My goal as an editor has always been to work with the most talented storytellers, whether they are new or veteran creators.

The company also aims to bring its titles to digital platforms, too, Pierce said.

“The industry has changed in some ways, but it’s still the same in one key way _ it’s most importantly about content that speaks to readers,” he said. “We are rebuilding Valiant by prioritizing great content above all, as no matter how technology changes this will always be the key. Digital distribution allows us to reach a wider audience globally than ever before, and the value for high-quality and accessible content has never been greater.”

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Online:

http://www.valiantentertainment.com