- Associated Press - Thursday, June 2, 2011

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Valiant Comics will return to shops in 2012 after the company that owns it and its stable of 1,500 characters said Thursday that it had named a new chairman and expanded its management team.

Valiant Entertainment, based in New York, said that former Marvel chief executive and vice chairman Peter Cuneo was named chairman of the company, which was co-founded by Jason Kothari and Dinesh Shamdasani. It also said that it had received an infusion of capital from Cuneo & Co. LLC, a private investment firm focused on consumer products, media and entertainment. Cuneo is managing principal of the group.

Gavin Cuneo, also of Cuneo & Co., was named to Valiant’s board of directors.

“Peter’s decade of leadership at Marvel, Gavin’s decade of experience on Wall Street and their highly active roles with Valiant will be integral to our expansion,” Kothari said.

Gavin said there is a “great opportunity in today’s comic book industry for the emergence of a brand that combines the power of a strong legacy with a first-class creative and business team.”

Valiant was founded in 1989 by Jim Shooter, a former editor-in-chief at Marvel Comics, and was home to several of the industry’s best-known writers and artists, including Frank Miller, Bryan Hitch, Neal Adams, Barry Windsor Smith, Warren Ellis, Garth Ennish as well as current Marvel chief creative officer Joe Quesada and DC Comics’ co-publisher Jim Lee.

During its heyday, Valiant sold 80 million comics with characters such as Shadowman, Armorines and Ninjak. It was later acquired by videogame maker Acclaim Entertainment, which used the characters for its games before it went out of business in 2005.

Kothari said that, initially, the company will focus on “nine or 10 of Valiant’s most popular characters,” including Harbinger, Bloodshot and X-O Manowar.

“These are the characters that made fans fall in love with Valiant in the first place, so that’s where we’re going to start,” he said. “They will be new and fresh but very familiar.”

“We have been planning the reintroduction of the Valiant titles for some time and I’m excited to announce our scheduled launch for 2012,” said Shamdasani. “Cutting-edge characters and stories were the core tenants of the original Valiant and are the core tenants of the new Valiant.”

Kothari said writers and artists are being lined up for the return, though he would not drop any names.

Valiant’s been fortunate enough to have some of the industry’s top creative talents involved in the genesis of its comics and characters,” he said. “We can’t say just yet who will be involved with which comic, but we think fans will be excited as we announce the people who will be working with us and collaborating on the next chapter in the Valiant story.”

Noting the success of superheroes beyond the printed page _ particularly in theaters _ and the proliferation of different types of media, Valiant characters aren’t likely to stay in comic books, either.

“That’s definitely a goal. Comics come first, but because we’re re-launching classic characters in an era of vast media choices, fans can expect to see the same versions of the Valiant characters they love everywhere _ in comics, games, digital media, and movies,” he said.




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