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Valiant Comic Book Alphabet of Cool – B

Here’s the next feature in my (admittedly, foolhardy) endeavor to give a comic book alphabet of cool of all stuff related to Valiant Comics!


Jack Boniface

I just couldn’t bring myself to choosing Bloodshot. I just did not like Bloodshot all that much. Sorry, Kevin VanHook!!!

Instead, let’s talk about Jack Boniface, who first showed up in X-O Manowar #4, playing the sax in the background of a scene (Valiant was big on this – stressing the coherence of their shared universe) before we learn that he was bitten by some voodoo monster, turning him into…the Shadowman!!

How it worked was that at night, Jack would gain superstrength, but he would also get really aggressive, and feel the need to go out and fight people – he decided to direct that energy towards fighting bad guys. He lived in New Orleans.

This would, of course, cause problems for his daytime life (and occasionally, he would still be Shadowman during the day, but without the powers and the extra aggression, which would be an interesting scenario to find himself in).

He was created by Jim Shooter and David Lapham. Steve Englehart did some work on his first issue and Lapham did most of the writing for the first few issues, until Bob Hall took over the book as writer and artist, and handled the book for the rest of its 44 issue run.

One of the more interesting plots was when Shadowman learned that he was destined to die in 1999 – so this of course affected how he handled himself, knowing that he could not die until then, he tried more risky feats.

Since Jack was a musician, he sometimes encountered other musicians – the most famous example is when Aerosmith guest-starred.

The Shadowman was a title that was passed through generations to different people, and we sometimes saw flashbacks of older Shadowmen. After the series ended, Garth Ennis created a new Shadowman for a second volume of the series.


Hey, if Wildstorm can get a half-dozen runs in the top 100, then Valiant is certainly worth a look.

Shadowman was the only Valiant book I bought as it was released for any period of time.

I love your alphabet of cool, keep ‘em coming please. I second The Mutt. On another note, I wonder what you’ll do for S now that you’ve blown SHADOWMAN. Not SOLAR, that would be to obvious, and your much to creative for that…

Stephane Savoie

April 22, 2008 at 5:12 pm

I thought the Acclaim relaunch by Ennis was quite interesting as well… although it was curious that Delano moved it into a whole different direction when he took over.

Stephane Savoie

April 22, 2008 at 5:13 pm

If we’re doing Valiant, we better be seeing the Malibu Ultraverse comics next!
And then, Comics’ Greatest World, from Dark Horse!

Ok, maybe not.

And Atlas! Ironjaw rules! Or maybe he bites. Ironjaw bites!


April 22, 2008 at 5:55 pm

You forgot to mention Boniface was found dead with his saxaphone inserted into his backside…

Already said it in A entry: The only Valiant book I ever read was Shadowman #0 I found in a quarter bin in a local book store. Hated it.

You could’ve used the Acclaim Bloodshot, as written by Len Kaminski. That was one of the best books to spin out of the Valiant thing, a real hidden gem full of deep psychodrama, fantastic art by Sal Velluto, and sheer poetry in the narration and dialogue written by Le Kaminski.

Shadowman’s groovy though, and in his case I do prefer the original version.

The whole shared universe thing makes me regret that I wasn’t into Valiant at all as a kid. It seems like it’s completely down my alley in a lot of ways.

Shadowman was one of the coolest comic books ever. And I mean it in the sense of the word. It wasn’t the best, and usually was a tease for a better story that never really came (the final fight with Master Darque, the death of Jack Boniface, the truth behind the Shadowman, the secrets of Maxim St. James). But Jack was just cool He was a real person with a real job, and being a Jazz saxophone player in New Orleans just sets the tone for the whole book.

The coolest was the cover shot of Jack Boniface playing sax in a graveyard at night with the moon rising above. In the 90’s, I wanted that airbrushed on the back of my jean jacket!

Anyone play the Shadowman video game? Made the atrocious Turok games feel like Quake on a Cray.

I was very fond of Shadowman, it was one of the few Valiant titles that didn’t go to hell when the chaos of ownership changes started roiling the company, IMHO. I also thought it was some of Bob Hall’s best work, hands down. The book was quite good to start, but Hall really took control and owned the character.

Man, I wonder where all my old Valiants are!

For more information on this and other VALIANT comics, check out the Official VALIANT Universe Wiki at http://www.valiantentertainment.com/wiki/index.php/Main_Page :)

wasn’t there a shadow man tv show as well?

That was Night Man, based on the Malibu comic of the same name created by Englehart .

Yes, Shadowman completely rocked and that # 1 cover you’ve shown is one of the most beautiful covers of the 90’s IMO.

Cool as Valiant’s Shadowman was, and it’s probably the best work ever of Bob Hall, Acclaim’s was even better.

Roquefort Raider

April 30, 2008 at 6:20 am

As many other Valiant titles, Shadowman tried to keep its feet planted in the real world (or as real-looking a world as possible). Sort of Shooter’s New Universe idea, but done right. I still have fond memories of Jack Boniface’s reaction to being stabbed though the heart with a lead pipe : first, it HURTS LIKE HELL! And then, how do you deal with it? How do you convince your prospective girlfriend that’s it’s not a weird gag and that you really need her to pull the damn thing out and call the hospital? Will it prove lethal once morning comes and “Shadowman” becomes plain old Jack? How do you protect your secret identity when you’re sedated?

Much more interesting than the way most “healing factors” are handled nowadays.

“How do you protect your secret identity when you’re sedated? ”

Heh, he didn’t really do that good a job, everyone in the hospital recognized him, lol

Roquefort Raider

April 30, 2008 at 10:33 am

Famous local jazz player and all that…

Bob Hall got better and better on that title. I went from not liking his work to wanting to see more of it.
This is a good one for people to try to track down.

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